Also known as The Day I Ate Sperm.
Writing about our Feb'16 Japan travels (not bad, it's only 6 months late!) because we are headed back to the land of the rising sun next month and I wanna clear the travelogue before I end up having THREE set of Japan pictures (yes... still not done with the Sep 2015 series lol.)
So anyway, I have been getting quite a few messages on IG and emails re my Feb itinerary so I thought it would be best if I just blog it! My travel plan was actually Toyko - Kanazawa - Shirakawa-go - Gero - Nagoya in this order. Amongst the list, I like Nagoya best for the city vibes and Kanazawa for the food. And of course, Shirakawa-go for the crazy once-a-year lightup (though I heard it is also insanely gorgeous in Spring! When the flowers are in full bloom...)
Also... a year back, I would think that Kanazawa / Shirakawa-go aren't such popular tourist destinations (Fun fact! Kanazawa is an ancient samurai town and one of the country’s best places to learn about samurai history!) but these days, based on my social media observation lol, I am seeing a lot more travels to this part of Japan and soooooo, I strongly recommend you cover here quick before the hoards of tourists arrive by the busloads. In fact, the Chinese tourists were already at Shirakawa-go when I was there :sob:
Ok, so back to my travel story.
We left Tokyo on a shinkansen - it's about 2.5 hours from Tokyo - and I really, really, really recommend you get the JR Pass as long as you plan to take two shinkansen rides. We usually get the 7-day pass and activate it on the day we leave Tokyo for a 10-day trip (when we're in Tokyo, we usually just Uber or use the normal Suica/ Pasmo cards).
Hello Kitty merchandise!
Keep a lookout to the right side of the train and you should be able to see Mt Fuji 40-45 minutes into your journey.
We set off from Tokyo at around 12noon I think and by the time we reached our hotel in Kanazawa and settled down, it was time for dinner!
Also cause it was winter and the sun sets really early so we had nothing much to do since we are all about chasing daylight (for the pictures lol).
We went to a random seafood izakaya near our hotel and omg it was so good. So good that I'm now hunting it down on Google Maps so I can tell you guys the details.
Ok... I just googled the hell outta this place and here's the place:
魚がし酒場 魚せん 金沢駅西店
1 Chome-3-25 Hirooka
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0031, Japan
Tel: +81 76-262-1000
They have live seafood and all and I recommend you go for the grilled camembert cheese. It simply melts into your mouth.
We went back there for two meals which says a lot because we only have 3 nights in Kanazawa, which means 6 meals and effectively 30% of our stomach space was used for the same meal :scream:
The next morning...
We got up early (or at least, we tried to) to head to the Ohmi-cho market.
To be honest, while there were some 200 stalls and lots of fresh seafood, I didn't enjoy it as much as Osaka's Kuromon Ichiba Market (omg that FRESH uni I had!) or Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. Maybe it's the lack of variety / layout of the place or maybe cause I went on a bad day cause it was raining so much... I don't know.
But in any case, we managed to have some pretty good kaisendon!
Kanazawa is the gold leaf central of Japan (it is Japan's main gold producer, producing 99% of the country's domestic golden leaves) so everything in this town is trademarked with gold.
Even though we tried to wake up early, by the time we got to the いきいき亭近江町店 restaurant the hubs had originally wanted to eat at, the queue was way too long and we ended up settling for somewhere else.
You'll realise that there are MANY shops specialising in these rice bowls topped with seafood in the market and tbh, I will think that they are all competitively-priced and the fish should all be fresh considering that Kanazawa is near the sea.
It's also here that we tried shirako, or fish sperm. Or rather, Zach insisted on trying it and I (very reluctantly, I must add) took a bite.
It didn't have much of a taste.. I think most of the flavouring comes from the shoyu we "seasoned" it with. Texture wise, it's soft, creamy and almost buttery? Think of it as a cross between philadelphia cream cheese and foie gras.
I didn't like it very much. But hey, at least I'm a swallower, not a spitter LOL.
More gold leaf ice cream.
Gold has no taste by the way, it just becomes shiny waste. Like erm, quite literally.
Then we made our way to the Kanazawa Castle!
Seeing double... lol.
Earrings from myglows.com
And yes, because erm, we were at the castle, I should show you pictures of the castle.
So here's Nui at the castle cause by this time, it was raining too heavily and the boy and I decided to run away for ice cream.
This was matcha + sakura (which tasted like a mix between azuki and coconut) and was way, way, way better than the overhyped gold leaf cousin.
Ended our day spotting some kimono-clad ladies near the old latticed teahouses and preserved geisha houses at the Higashi Chaya area!