Category Archives: Tourism

Shizuoka Ekiben/Railway Station Bento: Suruga Komachi

On my way to Fujinomiya City yesterday, I took the opportunity to buy an “Ekiben/駅弁 or roughly translated a “Railway Station Bento” as I had little time to eat properly at home or at a restaurant!

Shizuoka Prefecture is a gold mine when it comes to Ekiben due to the larger than usual number of stations (I mean railway, not underground/subway as in Tokyo!). They are worth discovering as they are using mostly local ingredients.
The bentos available at Shizuoka Station are mainly prepared by Tokaiken Co.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture!
This ekiben is brand new as it was first put on sale yesterday, April 1st!
It is called “Suruga Komachi/駿河小町”. Suruga is thename of the vast bay off Shizuoka City.
It is limited to only 20 a day!

Contents, limit date, price and so on are always clearly indicated!

As you lift the lid you find that the food inside is protected with an extra piece of hard translucent paper!

Now, what did it contain?

From top. left to right
Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette, sauteed salmon, a slice of yuzu/lime, kuro hanpen/dark sardine paste/isobe age/kind of tenpura, boiled shrimp, egg plant, pickled lotus root and wasabina ohitashi/pickled wasabina.

From bottom up:
Burdock root/gobo, Boiled string bean, boiled carrot, boiled taro/sato imo, flower-shaped tofu, tofu cake and boiled kabocha.

Plain boiled rice with umeboshi furikake.

And a small sachet of Shizuoka salt and wasabi powder for extra seasoning!

Will see you again on my next trip!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Hatada Garden Leaf Ginger at Mando!

Mr. Takeshi Hirai/平井武, Manager of Mando Restaurant

There are many Shizuoka products worthwhile introducing not only to the general public but also to restaurants who work hard promoting food originating from our Prefecture.
One such place is Mando in Shizuoka City!

Mando, Neo-Japanesque Bar, is the third restaurant of the BECK Co., Ltd with Cafe & Bar Cherry Beans and World Beer Restaurant GROW STOCK.
Mando is particularly interesting to me as they serve food in tapas style and are always looking for new products.
After having interviewed Toshikatsu Hatada/畑田敏克 at Hatada Garden/畑田農園 in Kuno/久能 in Shizuoka City, I called Mr. Hirai to tell him I was bringing fresh leaf ginger and I wished him to create some dishes with it. He genially agreed and I was no my way to his restaurant!

Mr. Hirai usually does not work inside the kitchen, although he is a fully-qualified chef, but he wouldn’t let anyone taking care of a product he knew, but not that of a producer he was aware of.

He marinated some of the fresh leaf ginger into hot amazu/sweet vinegar for later use, although it could be eaten right away as a snack with a drink, which I did. beautiful combination, like eating a dessert on a stick!

The Japanese love their leaf ginger fresh as they are with some miso paste. Mr. Hirai served some to me with white sweet miso. They didn’t last long! They go well with any drink!

He then came up with sawara/鰆/Spanish Mackerel (it the season in Shizuoka right now), fried with Japanese sake and a little yuzu koshio/柚子胡椒/lime pepper paste and served with a stick of leaf ginger marinated in amazu. Perfect marriage for a great fish!

Leaf Ginger Pork Belly Roll Fritters!

The last dish was a delicacy that Japanese and expats alike would kill for!
Using thin slices of Shizuoka-bred pork belly, he wrapped them around leaf ginger before dipping them in batter. The whole were deep-fried and served with a beautiful salt and pepper mixture.

For a different view!

Decidedly, my work for Agrigraph is becoming sheer fun!

Mando, Neo Japanesque Bar
420-0031, Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Gofuku Cho, 2-4-6, Mori Blg, 1F
Tel/Fax: 054-221-5103
Business hours: 17:00~26:00
Parties possible on 2F
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

Ramen Restaurant: Tsubame in Shimada City

Service:  Busy but friendly and smiling
Equipment & facilities: Very clean overall, excellent washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: superb and generous ramen, gyoza

For all the ramen shops literally brandishing their flags and noren/shop entrance curtains, if not assailing visitors with all kinds of garish photos of their menu placarded outside, some places are so concealed that you wouldn’t find them without an insider’s information!

The full car parking lot is not much of an indication either as the only signs you will see belong to other shops!

Early queues fast forming might be the cue then…
I was lucky that my good friend Aki Suzuki from Yasaitei was on hand, what is with being in an city i still have to learn about…

The entrance is small and does not give much indication as to what is waiting for you inside…

Finally a noren with “Tsubame” written on it hung over an inside door tells you are in the right place! “Tsubame” as the motif suggests means “swallow”! It could become a good joke in English, though!

And a big picture right inside confirms it!

A busy place right from the opening at 6:30 a.m.!

You can either sut at a counter or at a table, although you might not be able to choose if the place is too busy!

Plenty of gentle staff to look after you! Tough work to look after hungry customers from 06:30 to 15:00! Yes, it is not open in the veenings, and that is rare indeed!

A simple but clean place. I did not notice anybody smoking…
The food is served not in cheap plastic bowls, but in real clay bowls!

If you are lucky, you can sit in your own cozy corner! And a lot of customers think so, too!

When you read the menu bear in mind they serve only the red-circled items between 6:30 and 9:00 a.m.! The simple reason is that they are just too busy then!

There is a lot to choose from, including original gyooza, and it certainly deserves a few more visits.
Aki chose a typical ramen dish: “Tsubame Kossari Soba/燕こっさりそば”. It certainly looked delicious. Note that she ordered “Oomori/大盛”, meaning “large size”!

As for me, I asked for “Tsubame Wafuu Tsukemen/燕和風付け麺”, meaning Japanese-style ramen with soup dip.

The ramen (large serving) with their char siu (large serving again!) to be dipped into hot soup before eating.

The hot soup! Very tasty!
I rarely go out to eat ramen, but this definitely a place to go (and again!)

Tsubame/麺屋燕
Shimada Shi, Osakaya Machi, 8770/島田市御坂屋町8770
Tel.: 0547-34-2223
Business hours: AM 6:30~ PM 3:00 (or earlier if stock soup is exhausted)
Closed on Tuesdays and third Wednesday

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

Shizuoka Agricultural Products: Japan Bazaar Supermarket in Shimada City

Aki Suzuki/鈴木朋 doing her Sunday shopping at Japan Bazaar!

Contrary to other Prefectures, Shizuoka Prefecture does not so much grow in large mass-producing farms but more in a myriad of highly specialized agricultural ventures.
Which means a lot of cooperation needed for marketing.
The good side of it all is that buyers can visit the supermarkets selling the products of so many small farmers in one single place for the pleasure and convenience of all, especially restaurateurs.

Such a place (there are many others of course!) is “Japan Bazaar” in Shimada City!
My good friend, Ms. Aki Suzuki, Chef at my favorite vegetables restaurant Yasaitei, regularly (that is, on Sundays) drives all the way from Shizuoka City to buy her ingredients there. A must destination for her when you realize they retail the products of more than 260 local farmers!

They even sell wooden fence poles and shiitake wood logs!

It is actually located in the middle of a very scenic spot in Shimada City next to immense tea fields and not far from the Oi River.
Now, let me show what they were selling on a Sunday at around lunch time (yesterday):

Flowers in pots.

Cut flowers for ikebana/flower arrangements.

Flowers is actually a major business in our Prefecture and all year round at that!

Leeks!

These little seeds on the left are actually gardenia/kuchinashi/梔子 seeds, mainly used as natural colorant!

Broccoli!

Winter/Spring onions, tender and juicy!

Shiitake mushrooms.

Daikon. I just couldn’t help taking a pic of that strange one!

These are daikon, too!

Great traceability!

Mini tomatoes.

Great eggs from Kikugawa City. Aki would come for them only!

Organic eggs from the same producer!

Shizuoka is strawberry country!

Potatoes.

Amanatsu/甘夏 oranges.

Pampeyu! The largest citrus in the world?

Suruga Elegant oranges.

Kintsuba/sword guard cakes.

Home-made bentos!

More of them!

Shizuoka Prefecture is growing more and more of its own rice!

Great traceability again!

Rice powder/Komeko/米粉, great for wheat allergics!

Home-made soap (not for eating!).

Home-made jams!

Tokoroten/Agar agar jelly and konnyaku jelly!

Shimada beef and pork!

Aki’s basket!

Traceability again: the hens that lay the eggs on sale!

Sake made with sake rice (gohyakumangoku) grown in Shimada City and brewed by Oomuraya Brewery (next article!)

(Farmers Market) Japan Bazaar
427-0111 Shizuoka ken, Shimada Shi, Sakamoto, 4245-3
Tel.: 0547-5505
Fax: 0547-38-5507
Business hours: 09:00~17:30
50-car park
Closed on New Year only

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

Atami, The Hot Spring City of Yore 3

Atami resort harbor/marina.

Strolling in Atami City, that is in the downtown area by the sea can be interesting indeed if you know where to look!

Don’t look up but down for directions!

Difficult to get lost!

There 7 hot springs (including the one in fornt of the JR station), but I couldn’t find them all…

3rd one. Don’t put your hand inside!

4th one. The temperature was alright!

The 5th one. A little beauty!
I couldn’t find the last two. Pity, when you realize they have been used for hundreds of years!

The other major Atami attraction is the Baien Koen/梅園公園/plum tree Park!
It was created more than 120 years ago and subsequently doanted to the city!
let’ have a stroll!

I forgot to chck how many kinds. I can assure you you need a few visits to exhaust theme all!

Now, this is Japan!

Take your time and enjoy the sights!

Flower trees everywhere. You should come on bright sunny day!

A man-made waterfall! Great in summer!

A view from “inside” the waterfall!

Plum tree blooms…

Interesting tree…

Beautiful color!

Can you see the daffodils?
Spring is near and we shall to think and come back again in the summer!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

Atami, The Hot Spring City of Yore 2

Botarga/Mullet Roe/Karasumi/カラスミ!

The shopping streets in Atami City are quite old-fashioned. You almost seem to slipped back 30 years when you stroll along them browsing old-fashioned shops of every kind.

Once out of Atami JR station you will find two parallel streets going down sharply on the right. There you will find the epitome of land and sea products of the region.
Will you follow me?

Atami is located at the northern tip of Izu Peninsula, which means an access to an incredible number of fish. Can you believe that Shizuoka produces 50% of all dried and semi-dried fish in Japan?
And of a great quality!

These dried fish are shirasu/白子/sardine whiting. Rare of that size (and not cheap!)!

The himono/干物/dried fish on the left are not cheap either: globefish/fugu/河豚!

One Japanese confectionery typical of Atami is Onsen Manju!

Onsen manju/温泉万寿/means hot spring steamed sweetmeat cake. Many shops are competing with each other!

A great array of fresh fish paste cakes you eat either as they are, or as oden! Very tasty!

A giant Japanese brochette! The sugn says to be carful and not to push the dispaly with your hands (appe\arently some did with a disastrous result!)!

One great thing about Japan is that most (Japanese-style) restaurants display their cuisine as plastic models in their shop windows! At least you have a good idea of what is available!

More seafood left out to dry to become tasty himono! Traceabilty garanteed!

More, including rare tuna himono (bottom right)!

Now, the beautiful kinmedai/金目鯛 (Top righ) is expensive (but not by Tokyo standrds!)!

Izu Peninsula and Atami City are also famous for all kinds of citruses!

Golden oranges/貴金柑 (front) are beautiful and expensive!
They tend to come up with a new variety every year in that region!

Now, if you want to eat sushi, you will know that the seafood is fresh!

Although this is a sushi chain of the cheaper kind, they have the merit to explain clearly the varieties and the prices (very reasonable!)!

Now, what are these?

Karasumi/カラスミ/Botarga, or mullet roe! You can find anything more traceable. This is a truly expensive gastronomic marvel, even in Shizuoka!

A last long look at the shops and then we’ll go to another toursit attraction!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

Atami, The Hot Spring City from Yore 1

Atami must be the most famous hot springs city in Shizuoka Prefecture and in Japan! And one of the oldest to boot.
It has always been a favorite destination for Tokyoites in particular.
Shizuoka people do visit the city but in amrkedly smaller numbers.
The main reason for this state of affairs is that Atami is at the eastern extremity of the Prefecture.

The welcoming hot spring just outside the JR Railway Station.

The City counts 7 different hot springs more or less connected to Mount Fuji.
be careful not to touch the water! It is truluyscalding hot!

But you can take a foot bath at areasonable temperature.
Bear in mind that at 16:00 the bath will be emptied!

If you don’t believe, take a plunge! You won’t come back alive! It does look hellish, after all!

The city is celebrated for its plum tree flowers especially in February (and March if you are lucky!)!

One main attraction is the MOA Museum. You had better take a day bus ticket to keep expenses low as the city is half along the coast, half perched on top of steep cliffs. Walking is just a bit too tough. Buis is best!

One can enjoy great vistas from the MOA Museum and other sites atop the nearby mountains!

The park around the Museum is worth a leisurely walk in all seasons!

There are some great photos to be taken outside!
Unfortunately the inside is almost completely prohibited to cameras!

Inside the museum lobby.

Do have a look at the vistas from inside!

One of the rare sights allowed to photographers!

A grand view of the Atami Harbor! The locals call it the Japanese Napoli! LOL

The actual entry of the Museum!

They also have plenty of plum trees in their own park stretching over the mountain slopes.

Difficult to right focus!

It is a vast park that provides qith plenty of physical exercise!

What did I tell you?

Next we shall visit the local markets!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi