A Culinary Voyage through Japan

Around this time last year, my husband and I left for our long awaited holiday to Japan. If you follow my Instagram account, you may have already seen some of the food we ate on our trip. This post has been long overdue but there were tonnes of pictures to go through and as I try to sort and choose some of the photos, I always get stuck reminiscing about particular details and stories of the time we spent there. We are truly blessed with the beautiful memories we have of our trip to Japan. The past summer has been tough for me seeing the natural disasters that the people of Japan had to go through. It is always sad to see such disasters when they happen, but it touch you deeper when you have visited the country or has some sort of connection with the place.

We spent 3 weeks travelling around the main island of Honshu and had the opportunity to explore various places. Being so enthusiastic about trying different cuisines, we were super excited about the food and managed to try a lot of different dishes. It has been an amazing trip and one of our highlights for 2017, an experience that we will cherish for the years to come.

I am not going to give a full itinerary of the places we visited or what things we did. There are already a number of existing websites and blogposts available all over the internet, for which I am grateful as they are truly helpful and ultimately makes it easier for you while planning your visit to Japan.

We visited the major cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima and spent a couple of days in each city. We also stayed in Yamanouchi, Kanazawa and Takayama and visited smaller places like Nikko, Matsumoto, Nara, Himeji and the island of Miyajima. While visiting smaller cities/towns in the countryside, we booked ryokans (traditional Japanese accommodation), most of them family-run. Therefore, we had a great advantage to savour homemade authentic Japanese food. We were already somewhat familiar with most of the Japanese dishes. However, when you eat the dish at the country of origin it is always different as you can taste the authenticity and culture of the place you are visiting.

It has been a great experience to visit Japan as our first Asian country. It is very different than the life we are used to on our tiny Mediterranean Island or any western country for that matter. The transport system, particularly the Shinkasen (bullet trains), was truly impressive for us, particularly the punctuality, the cleanliness and how people queue on the train station platforms. The hospitality of the people makes you feel welcomed and they would go out of their way to try and help out. This is not to mention the respect they show towards each other and their country. I think there is a lot to learn from Japanese people.

There are a lot of different places on my bucket list but I hope that one day I will have another opportunity to visit Japan again! 🙂

Here are some of the culinary highlights from our Japanese stay 🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵

Tokyo:

A ramen bowl at the popular Ichiran chain
A fluffy egg omelette at Tsukiji market
One of the best ramen bowls we had was at Nagi in the Golden Gai area
Donburi for breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish market
Taiyaki, fish-shaped cake, popular in various places around Japan
Pork katsu from a street vendor
Small pancakes-like filled with anko (sweet red bean paste). These ones in particular are shaped like patron spirits of this neighbourhood in Tokyo

Yamanouchi:

Traditional dinner at the ryokan

Matsumoto:

Miso flavoured ice-cream
Another taiyaki, this one is filled with white bean and Hokkaido pumpkin

Kanazawa:

The seafood market offers a variety of food to eat there and then
The fluffy Japanese cheesecake and Caramel Custard Pudding Cake
A traditional bento box
A traditional bento box

Takayama:

Steamed bun stuffed with Hida beef, very popular in the region
Sake flavoured ice-cream
Hida beef two ways
Gohei mochi (rice cake) and sweet mitarashi dango (rice balls) in Takayama

Kyoto:

Kyoto, the land of matcha… a matcha cake and a latte
Octopus with a quail egg head at Kyoto market

Nara:

The famous mochi at Nara, where people gather in front of the shop to watch the staff making fresh mochi. It was still warm from the pounding!
Senbei, aka rice crackers, freshly made and seasoned with various herbs

Hiroshima & Miyajima:

Grilled fresh oysters and fish cakes, popular street food in Miyajima
Gelato… a treat on a hot day! From left to right: Black sesame, roasted green tea, rice tea and sweet potato
Hokkaido pumpkin were in season and it is commonly used in sweets. This is the famous Miyajima leaf stuffed with pumpkin puree and deep fried 🙂
The classic Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki with a bunch of seafood and green onions on top

Osaka:

A typical breakfast in Osaka
Chunky pieces of sashimi served at a popular bar in Osaka
Chunky pieces of sashimi served at a popular bar in Osaka
Nabe for breakfast at a traditional Japanese diner
Matsusaka beef needs a couple of seconds on a hot grill, cooked in front of you. It literally melts in your mouth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.