3d day in Japan we managed to have our first traditional Japanese breakfast. It was quite interesting but nothing what you expect to have in your regular breakfast. A lot of strange things like boiled pork, boiled chicken, miso soup, this thing called Konnyaku which is really weird and taste of nothing but looks like an eye ball. Ah and not to forget Natto….that’s something else… I really wanted to try it for a while since I’ve googled the weirdest foods to try in Japan. It tasted of slimey chickpea that’s been soaked in a lot I mean ALOT of strong cheese. I couldn’t manage more than two mouthfuls. I promised to myself never to have it again.
After breakfast we went to wander about. What I like about Tokyo that it’s not too touristy (not where we went anyway) and nobody seemed to notice you. No matter what you wear or look like nobody will look at you weirdly.
In the evening we visited samurai museum a lot of interesting facts and even got try some helmets and masks on.
On the way back we popped in into the cat cafe! That was interesting experience. For those who know me, know that I love animals, so for me to see and pet around 20 cats in less then an hour is happiness in the jar!
Next day was my husbands birthday so his treat was to go to one of the best Ryokans in Japan- Takaragawa Onsen in Minakami. It takes just over an hour to get from Tokyo by bullet train. So many people asked me what was it like to go on the bullet train. To tell you the truth nothing special, felt like s normal English train. Yes may be it is the fastest train but you dont really notice how fast you going unless you have a speedometer to hand. The bad part – there aren’t many places to put your luggage! You end up sharing your space with your suitcase, so not too comfortable depending on your travel time.
Now about the experience in Takaragawa Onsen, that’s something you will never forget! It’s a must visit, I would come here again and again.
The moment we came out of the train station it started to snow! It set the mood straight away, everything felt magical about the whole place. As soon as you walk inside the building you have to take your shoes off and wear a pair of slippers in which you walk around the building, when you go out to the onsen there is another pair of slippers for outside, also there is a pair for you to wear inside the toilet.
We chose Japanese style room, which meant everything was very traditional, the cushions for the floor, instead of the bed you get a futon. When you arrive to the room the bed isn’t there and while you gone for your dinner somebody comes in and makes the bed for you. It was quite comfortable despite having to sleep on the floor and very warm, I loved the duvet.
Ah almost forgot as you enter you get to pick kimono and the sachet. You wear for the whole time you there. Loved it! At the end you can purchase a kimono from the shop, new or second hand.
The onsen itself was magical-we managed to go three times. This ryokan has 3 onsens, 2 shared and 1 for females only. Women can wear a special dress men go naked, but get given a tiny towel for their private parts. The water is boiling hot so when you finished and you walk out into the cold it feels incredible. You feel really refreshed after the whole experience.
Dinner was superb, we were looked after this old lady who didn’t know a word in English and spoke to us in Japanese all evening. We didn’t understand a word she was saying. There were loads of strange foods on our plates on one of them there was a dandelion. So I asked her is this for eating? She nodded, I asked her two more times she said Hai-meaning yes. I took the dandelion and brought closer to mouth and showed it her if it’s OK to eat she nodded again, at this point I put in my mouth it tasted disgusting, she then went to my husband and pulled dandelion apart and sprinkled it inside soy sauce. So I don’t know if she was testing me or just played an evil joke on European guest. Pfft after this incident if there was anything I didn’t like the taste of I was just passing it to Leon (my husband), he managed to eat the whole meal including some of my food.
For next day’s breakfasts we picked Japanese style instead of European as wanted the whole experience to be as a authentic as possible, ok I wish I picked European one, I’m glad I tried the Japanese one but next time I will stick with what I know. I just can’t have soup, rice and strange pickle things for breakfast. I did try Natto again even though I said I would never have it again, it didn’t taste as bad as the first time, may be this one was a better quality but I decided it’s definitely not for me.
It was time to say goodbye to this wonderful place I wish we could stay here for longer but it was time to move on with the next part of the journey……..Kyoto 3 hours away on a Shinkansen.