Japan 15.- KOBE

U can not miss Kobe. Its in every single travel guide book. I mean u can potencially miss it – unless if u are massive fan of eating beef. Kobe is world famous of ‘the best quality beef’ they produce. To be fair Kobe is much more than just ‘a piece of meat’. I did not know that and also my Lonely Planet was not too detailed about this city.

Its HUGE. OMG very big and very industrial. Located on the cost so a massive harbour lies down on the side – pretty amazing to be fair. I dont have the real view of a tourist again – as we took a trip there with Kiyoe’s Parents and the kids by car so i dont know many useful information unfortunately. But the journey takes around one hour from Osaka (maybe less with train as we did have traffic on the roads) and also covered with the JR pass so free of charge.

Our first stop was in a sake factory – Kobe is also superfamous of its sake industry in Nada district so if u are not keen on meat (like me) still give a go for the sake. The region has unique rice quality and suitable water and weather conditions. Lots of Breweries to see – we visited the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery and Museum. Well – it was a kindof boring museum but if u are interested in making sake (get more knowledge of ‘koji’) or just in sake general – good place to visit once. Most of the Breweries are free to enter – this one had also sake tasting and english informations.

After the ‘breakfast sake shots’ (i was the only one who was drinking!!! crazy) we headed to the local market – then the famous China Town – Nankinmachi. Its a very popular shopping and dining district – looks freakin autenthic with food stands all around selling steamed buns and peking ducks. We did have lunch here – not on the street though but in a very posh classic kobe beef restaurant. It was hidden in a corner (Kiyoe’s father is working in Kobe mostly so he knows about places) with not many guests – assuming because of the prices. Was terrifying. The menu was pretty straight forward – we could choose a selection of different cuts for our set menu – all the table had to have the same cut. The prices were ridiculous (just as the steak food samples on the table lol). Again – the Parents of Kiyoe were just so lovely that they insisted to treat me with this lunch so i didnt needed to make any sort of decicion about the food we ate and worried about the price. I mean i was there so i did wanted to try ‘the best beef in my life’ – all my journey is about once in a lifetime experience. So being a sh*tty vegetarian i did wanted to have the best cut and prepaired the most respectful japanese way as possible. And this experience (sitting in this weird looking room dealing with our awkward overpushing waiter with Kiyoe’s amazing family) worth every single penny.

The lunch was beautiful. The beef was perfectly cooked, seasoned lovely – happy Kat.

After the meal we ve been walking around a bit in the very posh town center between huge skyscrapers – before we decided to go down to the beach. The Meriken Park is situated in the waterfront with the Maritime Museum and the Red Kobe Port Tower – symbol of the city. Also there is a small memorial park for the victims of the earthquake 1995. This place was far the most turistic in all Kobe. We went up the famous Red Tower – the cafe in the middle is rotating – by sitting in one place slowly u can have a 360degrees view from all around the city. Cool but scary. And definitely the best view to town and see.

We were pretty much done for that day (mostly because i had only one – repeat: ONE single coffee in the morning) so got back to Osaka. It was so lovely to meet Kiyoe’s Parents – i imagine them when she was a little girl still at school and they were waiting my letters every time and read together (i was sharing everything with my parents). Also got some very pretty sake cups as a ‘welcome and leaving’ gift in the same time. It was pretty emotional. Arigatou Gozaimasu again for this warm welcome.

Dinnertime finally. The menu was ‘Shabu Shabu’ – a classic japanese hotpot dish. A bit like Korean BBQ Pot – well easy to make and also – just like takoyaki was – great fun to do it together. Basically everyone is cooking – boiling – its own dinner in a ‘hot pot’ of boiling water. U get all your ingredients done – whatever u feel like, we had thinly sliced meat (well good pork was i remember), cabbage, leeks, daikon, carrots, mushrooms and tofu… The veg needed longer time so we jumped them in first – after the tofu to warm up – and latest was to dip the very thin meat. Kiyoe was skimming the ‘soup’ continuously while dipping the meat. The ‘garnish’ was simple – two different type of sauces – one sesame-like (tahini style) and one soy-citrus sauce. So when your veg/meat/tofu is ready u just dip in any of the sauces and destroy in your mouth. It was nice and light dinner after that heavy day. Was interesting (for me) that somehow i expected to have the liquid as ‘soup’ – cooking all the flavours inside after all – but no. We didnt touch the soup-part.

JAPAN 16. – GOODBYE OSAKA

My last day in Osaka with my new family. Im very sad because im leaving but aslo very happy cause im flying to Okinawa. But lets just finish my last day in Osaka. We didnt do much i think – it was quite exhausting week for all of us. And i was just sooooooooo greatful for all the love and support and guide and help i ve received from these people.

We had a great last night – went out for dinner to a Belt Sushi Restaurant!!! Its something everybody have to try. Its sushi – restaurant but not superexpensive. Actually can be supercheap if u take your food from the belt line – but we did ordered our food to make sure its fresh and not dancing around in the belt for hours and hours. In a case of a cucumber maki its ok – but not raw fish. So its like sushi franchise in Japan and very popular. Very very popular – we had a table reservation! and still had to wait like 15 minutes. Place was superbusy.

So people are sitting in boxes and there is a belt with sushi plates rotating around passing next to every single table. So if u like any – u just pick up from the belt and eat. There is also another belt next to the main one – your personal belt so when u order food from the menu its coming from this belt straight from the kitchen. It takes a bit of time of course but we were not in a hurry and its safer to choose from the menu in case of raw stuff. We tried sooooo many things OMG and all RAW! I had baby squid, baby prawns (like turtle food), seaurchin, some special seasonal fish like yellowtail, tuna, crab, scallops, prawns, and oh yes! They made me try fugu also. LOL and im still alive! FUGU actually a very tasty and expensive fish.

Loved it. Thank u. Be back.

Open up your mouth…!

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