When it comes to be a relaxing over-night-trip from Tokyo, Izu peninsula is one of the most famous destinations for many people. Hotels have fine hot springs, fresh sea cuisines including Tuna from the ocean nearby, and many many more is available. One sunny day, I caught the train to get there :)
A couple of train rides later, I finally arrived at the destination. From my point of view as a person living in urban Tokyo, it was like, "Wow". A tiny station without anyone, thus no one checks my ticket. What should I do? Do I just pass the gate through, leaving the ticket on the desk without any staff? Well, I did it anyway, went out of the station.
The hotel was initially for people staying with their dogs, and that explained why most of them walked corridors and pool sides with their dogs. I wonder why I came this place alone, haha. (Well, that's the story I sometimes do.)
Reading old books, taking photos in front of a mirro...These are things I always do whenever I go outside XD
Okay, let's have a Japanese style "Kaiseki (会席料理)" course. Starting from a small dish and assorted raw fish, they serve a variety of meals one by one, with different way of cooking and plates. I love this kind of gorgeous cuisines :)
I decided to take a short walk after the dinner, and it was then that I found the Milky Way lying across the sky with a whole bunch of stars. Astonishing, indeed. Izu peninsula is just 140km away from Tokyo, and yet I could actually see it in my eyes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first: I didn't even know it was possible to see the Milky Way in Japan...
The next day, I visited some museums, and spend a late morning at a dog cafe.
(Again, my dog wasn't there, haha)
Having a casual lunch of noodle, I headed back to my home in Tokyo.
Perhaps the peninsula of Izu isn't so attractive than other places like Nikko or Hakone, famous day-trip destinations from Tokyo. But I'd like to emphasize that it might be a nice place to stay, especially when you're so busy that you want to go somewhere without doing anything in particular. I'm sure I'll be back soon :)
There are some eel food lover in Japan. They love it, and many of them have their own favorite eel restaurants. Although the only time I have it is once a year or two, I always enjoy having passionate conversation about it. One day, I decided to go eat an eel food :)
We call the dish "Hitsumabushi" (ひつまぶし), and initially it's a Nagoya style food. Born and raised in Nagoya, I'm quite familiar with this eel dish, which is dipped sweet sauce after grilled, then put it on rice. (Note: people in Nagoya truly love sweet, rather strong taste like miso foods)
Although the price of eels are higher year by year due to decrease of the amount they capture, but it's still affordable.
(It cost $26 in my case, for the record.)
Together with sliced green onion, seaweeds and a typical Japanese soup dashi, I really enjoyed having a late afternoon lunch with my friend :D
Visiting Toyama prefecture, the northern region in Japan, is one of the most exciting and delicious experiences of the summer for me. In the mid August of 2016, my family and I hit the road by car, heading to the destination :)
Immediately after arriving, someone invited us to the gorgeous dinner. Selected by local fish and cuisines, it was indeed an amazingly wonderful evening for us. I have to admit that I'm a person who initially don't like having homemade meals cooked by somebody else beside myself, and I was thinking maybe I'd go to a sushi restaurant after a short greeting to them. (I know how awful of my behaviour) But, once I found a table filled with a bunch of colorful, well-balanced of fish and vegetables, and moreover, the beautiful decoration, I made my mind to sit and eat with them.
Since there was an hour or two before sleeping, I went to the Toyama Station to figure out what has changed after launching the bullet train between Kanazawa and Tokyo, that through Toyama as well. The modern, stylish station building replaced the old one, but I still sensed the old things remained here and there, and their combination, old and new, is what I'm really fond of :)
The next morning....
The next morning....
Let's start with a bright day at a Starbucks where is once selected "The world's most beautiful Starbucks". Located by a sophisticated canal park, it's a must-visit cafe whenever coming to Toyama :)
Not only newly cafes and buildings, but also traditional restaurants and sights are fun to go. Dropping by a casual, small, family-run sweet stall is a good way to take some rest in the hot afternoon. The above photo is a Japanese rice-based sweet mochi, which is covered by chopped salty seaweeds. "Salty seaweed and sweet mochi?!" You may be surprised. Well... I think so, too. And that's exactly why I chose to eat it. The taste? Don't ask! XD
Like anytime I visit Toyama, I couldn't go everywhere I wished to visit this time as well. Although I come to Toyama sometimes, the chance to make a trip is getting lesser and lesser. However, I'll drive to the place sooner rather than later, hopefully within this year :)
Located in a suburb of Tokyo, Mt. Takao is the most famous destination for a-half-day-hike in Tokyo. Personally, I like climbing up on this 599 metres mountain because of its casual and convenient access from cities like Shinjuku and Tokyo Station. Getting on the train Chuo-line, and all you have to do it just sitting until it brings to the nearest station Takao.
In one afternoon of August 2016, I visited there. So... why don't we take a look at photos of scenery? :)
The clock just hit 13 o'clock when I arrived at the station. Indeed, it was a hot summer weather, and I got off the train, I felt as if I walked into a jungle-type-climate. High temperature with extremely humidity, it was truly a summer day of Japan.
The panel in front of the station shows seven trails leading on the top. Either way, it takes several hours to get through to the top. Trail one is the most popular one, which is 3.8km length, mostly paved, hence it's not that hard for first-timer. As a second-timer, I decided Inariyama Trail, with 3.1km, which many people say the hardest trail. Is that true? Well. let's find out :)
Well well well...It was actually tough XD. I found how hard walking on a unpaved trail!
This was the final steps toward the top of the mountain....And...
Here we are :)
Fortunately, not so many people gathered at that time, and I unpacked my lunch box, bought a glass of beer for $8. I have to admit that I'm not a person drinking alcohol so publicly. But the flux of accomplishment in my mind drove me to a kiosk nearby, haha. There were many foods available on the top of the mountain: from icy cold cucumber, sweet rice cake and stuff. It cost higher than the average price in cities, but that's the way it is on mountains :)
Well, it's time to go back :D This time I took Trail one.
It looks things are much more exotic on Trail one, attracted me so much. Well, I believe I'll be back to Mount Takao in Autumn as well :)