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Archive for the ‘Sight-seeing’ Category

I got out to the Seattle Japanese Garden to do some 紅葉狩り (momijigari, maple viewing or “maple hunting”) on October 28. Momiji season is a few weeks earlier in Seattle than in Ishikawa. The garden, which is part of the Washington Park Arboretum, was built in the Japanese style in 1960 by Junji Iida.

Seattle Japanese Garden | The Lobster Dance

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On the second day of our roadtrip, we headed to Notojima, a small island in Nanao Bay, halfway between Anamizu and Nanao, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges. It’s one of my favorite places in Ishikawa: the annual Notojima Te-Matsuri Craft Fair in October is always a treat, and it’s hard not to fall in love with Notojima’s scenic charms.

One of Notojima’s main attractions is the Notojima Aquarium (能登島水族館). Tickets are available at conbini nearby (for a discount) or at the door.

This cloudy day was great for exploring the aquarium.
Notojima Aquarium @ The Lobster Dance

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Oasis 21 Nagoya, Lobster Dance

Oasis 21, Sakae, Nagoya, Feb. 2012

Living in Ishikawa’s constant cloud cover means that traveling to other cities, especially in the winter, is a welcome change of pace just for the sunshine. (more…)

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Hydrangeas, or アジサイ (ajisai), are some of my favorite flowers.

In Japan, they bloom between mid-June and mid-July, which coincides with 梅雨 (tsuyu), the rainy season.

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Wisteria (fuji, 藤)

Over Golden Week, I headed out to Iwakuni in Yamaguchi-ken. Kintaikyô (錦帯橋), the famous bridge, is nice, but the real star of the show was the flowers in and around Kikkô Kouen (吉香公園) .

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The weather on the long weekend that kicked off Golden Week was supposed to be sunny and 27 C in Tonami, Toyama, when I checked on Wednesday. By Friday night, Saturday’s weather was supposed to be sunny and 22 C. Imagine my surprise, then, when I woke up to the sound of rain at 9 am on Saturday.

Undeterred by the weather, my friend and I headed out to Tonami, Toyama for the Tulip Fair.


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I’m actually shocked it took me this long to get to Nijô Castle. When I travel to Kyoto, I’m perpetually hanging out near Sanjô/Kawaramachi/Teramachi, but when my parents came to visit, we had dinner plans in Osaka and no plans for the morning. Normally I take my new-to-Kansai friends to geek out in DenDen Town or enjoy the onsen of Spa World, but my parents, being neither into the anthropology of otaku culture nor “public bathing,” merited going out of my standard destinations. Nijô Castle (Nijôjô) was close to where we were staying in Kyoto, so we decided to head there.

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So much traveling; so many photo blogs! I went to Nagano for the long weekend and got to see Matsumoto Castle (松本城), a.k.a. Crow Castle (烏城). It’s a stunning castle to visit in the winter.

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On my trip to Tokyo in September, I happened to stumble upon a courtyard full of roses and sparkling lights.

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One of my favorite things about traveling to a new region is finding and sampling the local specialties. I went to Nagoya over the three-day weekend (for 敬老の日) and got to try several of the area’s famous foods.

The trailhead of one of the trails up Kinkazan

Katsu refers to tonkatsu, a pork cutlet fried in breadcrumbs. Normal tonkatsu is served with tonkatsu sauce (とんかつソース), a thick brown sauce similar to okonomi sauce(お好みソース); both of which are a bit like barbeque sauce in savory spirit, if not in flavor. Nagoya’s miso katsu (味噌カツ), is, as the name suggests, tonkatsu served with a miso-based sauce. Although tonkatsu is usually too heavy for my palate, the miso sauce was a delicious spin on the dish. Furthermore, the sauce is made from a miso famous in Aichi prefecture, 八丁味噌 (hacchou miso). This is a type of “red miso” (赤味噌), which has a stronger flavor and “dry” taste than “white miso” (白味噌), which is lighter and sweeter.

I’m not sure which restaurant serves the best miso katsu in Nagoya, but the miso katsu I was served at the restaurant at the summit of Kinkazan (金華山, or “Mt. Kinka”), next to Gifu Castle in Gifu City, was delicious. The set came with a small bowl of rice and a small cabbage “salad” for 1050 yen.

The view from near the summit of Kinkazan

The hike up to the summit is really lovely, and the Gifu Castle Museum had lots of interesting weapons and armor from  Oda Nobunaga and his family’s control of the area in the mid-16th century. We took an easy route up and headed down another fairly easy route—about 1 hour each way. Squirrel Village was entertaining, but you’re basically paying 200 yen to wear a leather glove and feed 1-2 squirrels, so it’s not a must-see place. At the base of Kinkazan is Gifu Park (岐阜公園), Great Buddha of Gifu (岐阜の大仏) (worth seeing), and several museums.

Restaurant Information

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