Japan’s weird food: Ryokan meals, Kaiseki

Last winter I went with Scott and my parents to a Ryokan in Kurokawa, Kagoshima. Kurokawa is a tourist town for mostly Japanese tourists, and is full of onsen, hot spring baths. It is very traditional and is every bit as picturesque as you would imagine a small town in the mountains of Japan would look like. Our ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel, had several onsen on it’s property, including one next to a waterfall and one in a cave.
At ryokan, they bring your meal to you in your room, and it’s at least 17 courses of traditional Japanese food. First came sashimi and some traditional appetizers.  Basashi, two hot pots, a grilled fish and some oden followed.
A chestnut, some ginger, shrimp, snail, red bean and a plum.

The food was absolutely amazing and so beautifully presented.

Sashimi, tempura, grilled fish, and a hot pot of beef and vegetables with cheese.

Of all the places we visited in Japan, Kurokawa in the winter is number one on my list of places to revisit. It was absolutely magical.

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Live Volcano!

View of Sakurajima, a volcano that explodes over 700 times a year, from the Kagoshima aquarium.

Japan is an interesting place for a geography nerd!

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Yakushima

We had a long weekend here this week, Monday being the official start of spring! To celebrate the season and the day off work, we headed to Yakushima, an island off the south coast of Kyushu known for it’s natural beauty. As we have been distracted the last few weeks, I did relatively little research before arriving, and Yakushima took my breath away.

 

The entire island is mountains and forests, with just one small road running around the perimeter. Monkeys and Deer can be found sitting on the side of the road, mangrove forests surround the road, and there are hundreds of waterfalls. It was absolutely gorgeous.

We lucked out and got a car rental tip from someone at our hostel in Kagoshima and scored a car for two days for about $100. The people in Japan are so incredibly nice and trusting. Insurance was included and they didn’t take any credit card information. That afternoon we drove around the island, making stops to see the Pillow shaped lava fields,

wade in a mangrove forest river

see an epic waterfall

hang out with the monkeys

and enjoy Kagoshima BBQ!

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