Posted by: Anna | November 10, 2011

Simply a Great Day in Japan

Sometimes a day is just great, full of little surprises and serendipitous twists. Yesterday was one of those days.

We started out with the Japanese breakfast. Full of strange and interesting items, it was an experience all unto itself. Everything was good except the beans in a cup, which have the consistency of spider eggs...

Our first stop was Matsumoto Castle, one of the best preserved samurai castles in Japan. After walking through, (during which time we looked out a window and an entire Japanese tour group started waving enthusiastically at us for about five minutes), we were invited to take a photo with this "samurai". Why? He's just there to take a photo with you, because it's fun. Also note, it's a gorgeous day, weather-wise.

After wandering down the “frog street”, a small shopping street with bright green frogs on the streetlights and frog-themed merchandise in all the shops, we wandered into a sweet shop, hoping it was a cafe. It wasn’t, but instead, the owner showed us through his very old home filled with Japanese antiques, explaining in broken English what each item was. At the end, he showed us his guest book full of photos of (all Japanese) people in his garden. He asked if he could take our picture, and he also printed one out for us. His wife was wrapping sweets in pretty paper, but neither asked us to buy anything or even acknowledged it was a shop at all. An odd but pleasant experience, capped off with much bowing and thanking on both sides.

We finally did find a cafe, where I had a red bean bun and Tommy had a — chocolate cake! We played cards for an hour or so and just appreciated being in Japan.

Next, we rode our (free) bikes to the train station to hop on a train to Hotaka, which happened to be leaving in five minutes. Hotaka is home to a huge wasabi farm. This was our first glimpse of the wasabi farm when we arrived.I had no idea wasabi was grown in wet gravel, which is hand-raked.

 

We both joined the long line for wasabi ice cream. Mmmm...good.

 

Walking back to the train station, we strolled by this beautiful scene.

After the train, we rode our bikes back to the ryokan. For dinner, we ate some delicious ramen (better, so much better than what we think of as ramen). After dinner, we went down for our private bath. The ryokan doesn’t have showers in the rooms; instead, men’s and women’s communal showers / bathing tub (one per sex) are available and shared by all guests. We signed up for a private bathing time, which meant we had our own showers and sit in the big, hot tub. Very relaxing at the end of a sightseeing day.

We finished our evening sipping tea in our tradtional Japanese room, lounging in our robes. Great day!

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Responses

  1. Tommy looks like Hef

  2. I love perfect days…they only happen every once in a while; good that you could appreciate the gift of that blessing. The breakfast looks so wonderful! XOXOX, Kita

  3. I want a Japanese breakfast and to walk down that street.


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