You may have noticed that pretty much every post we have written about Hong Kong to date has mentioned food. This was not an accident. We visited Hong Kong with the goal of eating as much as humanly possible, and although other elements of the city charmed us, the food definitely did not disappoint and remained a major highlight of our time there.
If there is one thing you need to know about Osaka (other than the fact that it has an awesome aquarium), it is that it has a reputation for being something of a food town. Unlike nearby Kyoto, Osaka is made up of hoi polloi: people who work hard for their money and then want to enjoy the fruits of their labor. So dedicated are Osakans to living the good life, there is actually a Japanese term to describe their wanton acts of gluttony: kuidaore, which means to ruin oneself through extravagence with food. When Tony & I heard about this, we knew that Osaka would be our kind of town!
By the time Tony & I reached Kyoto, we had hit our stride when it came to dining out in Japan. Gone were the meltdowns and apprehension about our lack of Japanese producing an insurmountable barrier for us when it came time to meeting our hunger. It may have taken us half our time in Japan to get it right, but after some trial and error, we did get to a point where we were exceedingly comfortable with dining out and our time in Kyoto surely benefited from that.
It’s funny the things we see on travel blogs that capture our imagination and make us want to visit a place. When our friend L’Ell lived in Japan, she kept a fantastic blog that detailed her many adventures in “the land of the rising fun” (as we referred to it). She saw and did so many incredible things, but one completely random thing stuck in my mind as the thing that I *had* to do when we made it to Japan. That thing was nagashi somen.
One of the things Tony and I did in preparation for our RTW trip was to sign up for CouchSurfing. At the time, we didn’t know if we would actually ever use the service as we tend to like to do our own thing and weren’t sure how we felt about sleeping on a stranger’s couch, but we decided it wouldn’t hurt to set up a profile “just in case”.
According to our original itinerary, the day following our perfect Obon experience in Matsushima had been set aside to visit Yamadera. But when faced with the prospect of having to actually climb up 1000 steps to visit the mountain temple there, we realized that not only were we absolutely EXHAUSTED, but the reality of having a private room was just way too decadent for us to pass it up. At $105/night, this was one of our most expensive lodging options and we figured we might as well get our money’s worth.
Because we knew we wanted to experience Shibuya at night, we decided to also grab dinner in the area. According to our guide books, the area is teeming with department stores and restaurants, so we figured that finding somewhere that was relatively accessible to eat wouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
If our first meal in Tokyo did not make this clear, Japan is a nation of adventurous eaters. While many of the meals that are prepared at restaurants are done so with obvious care and artistic flare, proving the old addage true that we eat first with our eyes, this is not always the case. […]
After a much needed nap, Tony & I forced ourselves out of bed in search of a 100 Yen shop and some dinner. We were still feeling pretty groggy (I may have resorted to slapping my own face once or twice in an attempt to wake myself up) as we stumbled from the hostel, but […]
Jet lag is a cruel mistress, so even though Tony & I had been awake for something verging on 28 hours by the time we had checked into our hostel and settled into our bed, we only managed to get approximately 3.5 hours of sleep before we found ourselves wide awake. Although we were certain […]