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15 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Great stuff, as (almost*) ever.


I'm wondering. You showed one English language menu. Is it common or not for places to have English menus? It's been 25 years since I was in Japan and there were none then, that I remember.


*You know what I am referring to! One lapse in judgement I can take! 😁 😁

I think a lot of places had English menus, I didn’t always photograph them. Perhaps in our 14 days  x 2 or 3 meals a day we were without an English menu maybe 7 or 8 times. Kinda made it more fun.

Sorry again for the 🌽.

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In Takayama we enjoyed a traditional kasakei meal served in our room. 



There’s so much going on here, I can’t begin to explain. First the charming lady sets out the pieces.



No English to explain, but we figure it out






All exquisite little bites.

Then the elderly owner of the guest house gives us a box of biscuits (German, but hey)



And we retire to a warm onsen, bliss.



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38 minutes ago, liuzhou said:






WOW is right!


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Did you do sake tasting at different breweries?

I had a nice time in pretty Takayama. Did you visit the village in Shirarawa-go? Takayama is all about Hida beef and sake. Would go back for both.


There are any sake tasting rooms if you want to test your liver's limit. I had barely scratched the surface in 3 days.



At one of the most popular beef restaurants in town. There's always a queue there so prepare to wait.



Almost 50 euros for the above plate.



Rural Japan



Buckwheat rows in the foreground. Most people grow fruits, vegs, even rice around their houses. Very typical in rural Japan.



Kaiseki meals served at traditional inns are incredible and so beautifully presented. One of the highlights of eating in Japan. Mine came with a menu of courses served in this particular order. The food just kept coming and coming. 


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Posted (edited)

@BonVivant yes we did sake tasting in two places. Didn’t get to Shirikawa-go, my motto is always save something for next time :) We did try the hida beef too, (even though I try not to eat animals these days which was difficult in Japan).

Lovely photos.



Edited by sartoric (log)
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Breakfast at our Ryokan onsen was almost as special as dinner.



There’s a flame under this beef.



Onwards through beautifully coloured countryside to Kyoto.



And these little treats, an egg batter filled with shrimp and fried in kinda mini muffin pans. Served with soup and Mitsuba.



A modern day isakaya, four tables with room for say 24 at a pinch. Note the coat hangers for your jacket.



Happy owner who made us very welcome 



Some gratuitous supermarket shots, round the corner and open 24 hours.




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Posted (edited)


On a day trip to Nara we were accompanied by swarms of school kids who were incredibly orderly. The weather was perfect, the sightseeing impressive, the food delicious and the deer friendly. 





You could have coffee with an owl (or a pussy cat). 

We didn’t do it, seems exploitative, but I did ask for a photo for my owl crazy niece.




Lunch at a busy restaurant. The crab cake here was superb. Grilled king mushrooms, chicken teriyaki, a bowl of soup and a small plate of dressed vegetables each.




Manhole covers are often works of art.






Edited by sartoric Fix photos (log)
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A bit late, but thank you so much for this! I'll probably never make it to Japan, but reading your descriptions and seeing your photos are a good substitute for now!

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But wait, there’s more ! 

We spent 5 nights in Kyoto, a charming city which is definitely on the return list. 

This local isakaya specialises in okonomiyaki, or Japanese pizza as the owner laughingly referred to it. I want one of these giant grills !




We we had a little chicken to start...



Then the okonomiyaki itself, topped with dancing shaved bonito.



The outside of isakaya were easy to spot with the red lanterns signalling “open”. That didn’t always mean we’d get a seat.



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The market in Kyoto was larger and even more crowded than Kanazawa, with many more foreign tourists ignoring the “Do not eat and walk”. You are supposed to eat whatever you bought, at the stall you bought it from, even if that means standing in a tight space. We returned to this market more than once. 

Tasty things on sticks





Pickled everything (taken before I noticed the no photos sign, apologised profusely, accepted gracefully).




There are hundreds of restaurants within the market precinct.

We chose this one, udon noodles with tempura prawns for me



Chicken with noodles and leeks for him



On a subsequent visit fried bean curd 



Someone got to try a fresh sea urchin, $20 well spent, you can taste the ozone.



Matcha ice cream, love this.


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Literally 20 meters around the corner from our hotel was a bar called Bond. I kid you not.

It’s a standing bar, no seats, just small tables to lean against with very fresh and tasty snacks. It became our regular, being such a handy spot to stop for a cleansing ale after a long day touring around. We got stuck here a few times.

Shared sashimi platter



Tempura whitebait and cant remember vegetable.



Tempura prawn, squid and pickled ginger



In my best Scottish brogue....Bond, bar Bond.




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