Tag Archives: 茶

Shizuoka Hotsprings: Sumatakyo-Part 1

Suikoen Hotel entrance in Sumatakyo

The Missus and I finally found a couple of days off work to go to a favourite destination of ours: Hotsprings.
Shizuoka Prefecture is probably the most famous region in Japan for such a venue.
Hotels, Ryokans (inns) and Minshuku (Pensions) can wildly vary in prices, services and meals served, but my other half is a wizard (sorry, witch!) when it comes to find out the best deal out of the Internet.
She planned the whole trip as my experience has taught me it is better this way in spite of all the grumbling (why do I have to do everything?….).
The following three articles are a journal of the two days spent together (in bliss?) along the railway tracks and mountain lanes in search for simple pleasures!

Kanaya Railway Station, Oi River Railroad (minuscule!)

We left Shizuoka City (Higashi Shizuoka Station) at 09:56 and reached Kanaya Station at 10:34 using the Tokaido Railway Line.

Before buying our tickets, we checked with the small food stand at Kanaya Oi River Railroad Station (next to Kanaya Station) as they always sell good local ekiben/railway line bento!

Large signs across the track made sure you know your destination!

We ignored the SL train as we were planning to board it on our return and instead used the diesel-pulled train. No need to say that all trains along the Oi River Railroad track are crowded with train buffs on week-ends!

That railroad is mainly a single-track line except inside stations (and not all at that!).

My bento box!
I wrote an extensive article at Ekiben/Railway Station Lunch Boxes-Bento 8!

It even contained a postcard!

The food inside!

The bento chosen by the Missus!

The food inside!

Cute SL train-shaped soy sauce container!

Green tea rasks for dessert!

Kawane Green tea to washi it down. Don’t forget that Shizuoka Prefecture produces more than 45% of all green tea in Japan and the area we are going to cross on our way, Kawane, is the major green tea producing area!

Although the train runs along the Oi River between montains, thereis plenty of place for (tea) farming.

Tea fields everywhere!

This is the season and farmers are busy even on Sunday! You will find very few recreation spaces there as farmers are just too tired at the end of the day!

The Oi River has always been a major river in Japan! For once the weather was clement!

Wherever you go in Jpaan, you will discover ball parks where Elementary School kids are eager to show off their new uniforms!

We left Kanaya at 10:49 to reach Senzu Station, the last station for that particular train. Nice natural decoration!

A view of Senzu Station, which stands pretty high in the South Japanese Alps!

We had arrived at Senzu Station 12:04 and still had sometime before taking the bus to Sumatakyo at 13:30. We were getting a bit hungry. Luckily we noticed a gentleman grilling/bbq-ing large yamame!

Yamame (山女 or “Mountain Woman” in Japanese!) is a kind of trout, either called Japanese trout or Seema.

One can either eat wild ones or pond-raised ones. These fat samples are raised in local ponds fed with fresh mountain waters. Griiled with salt/shoyaki/塩焼き, they are succulent. You can eat the skin, too!

Almost “next door” to Senzu Station stands a very interesting museum dedicated to sound in their many form, natural or devised.
The place is called Otogi No Sato/Sound Village.
Check their (Japanese) HOMEPAGE.
I was particularly interested in the “percussion faces”.

Long teeth!

Another one for a music-loving dentist?

Another one for hard hitting!

We finally reached our destination Suikoen Spa Hotel at 14:10.
Now, who is that lady?
Check the Hotel Homepage for more information (Japanese)!

I can assure you they will never lack water to turn that wheel!

Hotel lobby sitting room.

The lobby seen from the inside courtyard.

The same from another angle.

A small but scenic courtyard, indeed, with the nearby wooded mountains.

A small carp pond, naturally!

A traditional irori/囲炉裏 with a real charcoal fire!

As we still had plenty of time until dinner (served at 18:00, a bit early by Western standards!), we took the opportunity to visit the locality!

A traditonal minshuku/民宿 or pension.

Narrow streets with plenty of verdant nature!

Rivers and waterfalls running through the village!

Traditional Houses and shops.
And then it was time for dinner, but that is for Part 2!

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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, Ideal Party

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Ekiben/Railway Station Lunch Boxes-Bento 8

Just came back for a tw0-day, one-night trip to Sumatakyo Hotsprings at the foot of the Southern Alps in Northern Shizuoka Prefecture.
We took our last train from Kanaya Oi River Railway Station (private railway) and bought our ekiben (railway Station Lunch boxes) there before boarding the diesel train (we took the steam locomotive on the way back).
A series of three articles are coming soon to describe that trip in detail!

The bento I chose was called “Oikawa Furusuato Bento/Oi River Hometown Bento” and was commemorating the C11 SL.
It included Sato Imo/taro on a stick with sweet miso sauce, Tamahoyaki, Takenoko/bamboo shoot, Fried and sweetened Sakura ebi/Cherry shrimps, Gobo/Burdock root, Chicken Karaage/Deep-fried Chicken, yama imo/yam seasoned with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums and amazu/sweet rice vinegar, Yamame trout (Japanese trout) and two nigiri wrapped in seaweed.

The Yamame trout had been simmered for a long time in soy sauce, mirin and sugar. The whole was edible, head, tail and bones included!

The bento included a complimentary postcard of the SL locomotive and chopsticks in original paper wrapping.

Even the soy sauce was included inside an SL-shaped tube!

The Missus chose the “Shimada Hatsu Shizuoka Aji Monogatari Bento/Shimada Start Shizuoka Taste Story Bento”. It is the second time she had it but the contents were slightly different from last year. Th saber-dancing samurai is a figure of a very famous matsuri/festivaltaking place every 3 years in Shimada City where Kanaya is located!

It contained a Sakura ebi nigiri, Unagi Nori Maki/Ell sushi roll, Wasabituke/wasabi plants pickled in sake white lees in its little container, Tea tempura, Menchi Katsu/Minced pork croquettes, Kuro Hanpen/Sardine paste, Take no ko and sato imo (nimono/stewed, kamaboko/fish paste “flower”, lychee and mikan!

And we had cold tea from Kawane (the region covering the area between Kanay and the Southern Japanese Alps, one of the best tea areas inJapan!) to wash it down!

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, Ideal Party

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Tea Time! Green Tea Season Has Started in Shizuoka!

Shizuoka Prefecture produces 50% of all tea in Japan and 70% of the total national production is also traded in our Prefecture!

As I was going to take my train to University at Shizuoka JR Station, a major and very busy station in Japan, I noticed the Shizuoka Green Tea stand in the middle of the station.

Notwithstanding the beautiful young ladies serving the tea for free (quite difficult to time the photo, I can assure you!) I was attracted as I appreciate the beverage a lot. The tea was Motoyama, oneof the major shizuoka varieties grown in Shizuoka City (which spreads up to the Southern Alps!).

A great treat before boarding a crowded train!

I wished they could do that for sake, but obviously the police would more than frown upon it!

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, Bento Boutique, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento. Island Vittles, Skewer It!

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Vegan Tea Buckwheat Noodles: “Tya-soba”

cha-soba1.jpg

Shizuoka Prefecture is celebrated for its green tea all the World.
I had the pleasure to taste something of value for many recently.
Vegeterians (and vegans!), rejoice! A company called Ikejima Foods in Hamakita Ku, Hamamatsu City has come up with Tea Buckwheat Noodles/Tya-soba!.
Tea comes from the Kawane area which produces some of the best tea in the Prefecture.
The noodles contain no preservatives and neither the noodles, nor the tsuyu/soup contains any animal extracts whatsoever (no milk or egg products).
One pack contains enough for 4 small or 2 medium portions.

cha-soba2.jpg

As for cooking, here are simple instructions:
Cold Noodles style:
Dilute tsuyu/soup in 100 ml of clean water.
In one big pan heat 2 litres of water. Bring to boiling point. Drop in noodles. Lower fire to samll. Stir with long chopsticks. The noodles are ready when they readily come to the surface. Wash them rapidly under running cold water inside a “zaru”/small basket or inside a bowl full of cold water until noodles are cool enough. Drain water and place on a flat dish over a bamboo net if possible. Eat noodles by dipping them in tsuyu/soup to which you can add freshly cut raw leeks and wasabi (or any spices you fancy!)

Hot noodles style:
Dilute tsuyu/soup into 230 ml of hot water.
Cook noodles as for cold style. Drain and drop into bowl full of tsuyu/soup. Add vegetables, freshly cut raw leeks and spices to taste.

“Meicha Soba”
Ikejima Foods
Hamamatsu City, Hamakita Ku, Terajima, 2351
Tel.: 053-587-1025

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Bread + Butter
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Tokyo Terrace
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Chrys Niles
Comestilblog
Greedy Girl
Bouchon For 2

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Tea as Food!

fugetsuro-2.jpg

(from top middle, clockwise: Salted Cuttle fish marinated in tea leaves and rice yeast, conger eel pike and urchin in green tea jellied fish broth, tea leaves walnut tofu curd, tuna simmered in green tea with tea leaves dumpling cake, matsutake mushroom cooked in tea leaves)

Tea is mainly known as a drink all over the World in spite of puddings and a limited variety of desserts made with red or green tea.
Shizuoka Prefecture where more than 50% of all green tea in Japan has witnessed some gastronomic research by local chefs of all leanings and events have regularly been organised to share the information and skills.

Fugetsuro is one of the restaurants in Shizuka holding such welcome events:

fugetsuro-1.jpg

Above is a view of a dinner Mr. Hitoshi Yamada, Master Chef at Fugetsuro was asked to design for some 120 guests with the overriding concept that tea must be included in all dishes.

Including the first dish described above, the menu ran as follows (I let you judge!)
fugetsuro-3.jpg

Raw fish assortment: Tuna, seabream, sole, seasoned with fresh tea, edible flowers, salt and soy sauce.

fugetsuro-4.jpg

Surugani: tea sob/buckwheat noodles, seabream cooked in whole rice, “kouyou” carrot, tea leaves.

fugetsuro-5.jpg

Oven-baked black pork seasoned with tea, five color vegetables, tea sauce.

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Tofu bean curd and whole rice Pouch, deep-fried tea leaves. Seasoned with
“macha” tea salt.

fugetsuro-7.jpg

Autumn salmon marinate in seaweed and tea, yuuba/bean curd sheet. Seasoned with golden vinegar.

fugetsuro-8.gif

Tea rice, salmon roe, soup.

fugetsuro-9.jpg

Persimmon, grape, “macha” tea Bavarois, green tea cube jelly.

Fugetsurou
420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koya Machi, 11-1
Tel.: 054-2526500
Fax: 054-2528411
Homepage (Japanese)

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Bread + Butter
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Frank Fariello
Mangantayon
Hapabento
Elinluv Tidbit Corner
Think Twice
Oyster Culture
Tokyo Terrace
Maison de Christina
Chrys Niles
Comestilblog
Greedy Girl
Bouchon For 2

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

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Japanese Vegan Treat: Cha Soba/Tea Soba

cha-soba1.jpg

Shizuoka Prefecture is celebrated for its green tea all the World.
It grows no less than 50% of the national crop.
Vegetarians (and vegans!), rejoice!
A company called Ikejima Foods in Hamakita Ku, Hamamatsu City has come up with Tea Buckwheat Noodles/Cha-soba! (or Tya Soba)!
Tea comes from the Kawane area which produces some of the best tea in the Prefecture.
The noodles contain no preservatives, and neither the noodles, nor the tsuyu/soup contains any animal extracts whatsoever (no milk or egg products).
One pack contains enough for 4 small or 2 medium portions.

cha-soba2.jpg

As for cooking, here are simple instructions:
Cold Noodles style:
Dilute tsuyu/soup in 100 ml of clean water.
In one big pan heat 2 litres of water. Bring to boiling point. Drop in noodles. Lower fire to small. Stir with long chopsticks. The noodles are ready when they readily come to the surface. Wash them rapidly under running cold water inside a “zaru”/small basket or inside a bowl full of cold water until noodles are cool enough. Drain water and place on a flat dish over a bamboo net if possible. Eat noodles by dipping them in tsuyu/soup to which you can add freshly cut raw leeks and wasabi (or any spices you fancy!)

Hot noodles style:
Dilute tsuyu/soup into 230 ml of hot water.
Cook noodles as for cold style. Drain and drop into bowl full of tsuyu/soup. Add vegetables, freshly cut raw leeks and spices to taste.

“Meicha Soba”
Ikejima Foods
Hamamatsu City, Hamakita Ku, Terajima, 2351
Tel.: 053-587-1025


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Japanese Cheese: Hokkaido Raw Milk Cheeses Plate

hok-cheese-2

There is a very welcome competition in Shizuoka City when it comes to cheese, both from Japan and abroad, because of the awareness created by Keiko Kubota at Gentil.
Now, I have the luck to be very friendly with the owner of Nagashima Liqueur Shop in Shizuoka City who spent a long time studying in France. As a wine lover, he is very fond of cheese and retails a few very well-chosen ones in his shop.

These days he is introducing a series of delicious raw milk (unusual in Japan till recently) from Hokkaido.
Last night I had the pleasure to taste them at home at last:

hok-cheese-1

Top left: Sasa no Yuki
Top right: Koban
Bottom Left: Sakura
Bottom right: Raclette

hok-cheese-4

Sasa no Yuki means Bamboo Grass Snow. Such short ban\mboo grass are found everywhere in Japan and have been used for eons to wrap food. A bamboo grass is “wrapped” around the cheese reminiscent of the French Feuille de Dreux Cheese.
Mild Camembert type, very easy to eat on some great toasted bread!
It is the size of a Camembert, 250g and like all these cheeses is exclusively made form Cow’s raw milk with the addtion of a little salt.
All four cheeses can aged at home.

hok-cheese-5

Koban is another soft type cheese reminiscent of Pave and Camembert in France. Very mild and easy on the palate.
Weight: 150 g

hok-cheese-3

Sakura/Cherry Blossom is considered as the best Japanese creation when it comes to cheese. It received prizes all over the World, especially Germany, and was served at the last G8 Meeting in Hokkaido!
Weight: 90g
Served with a cherry blossom pickled in salt.
Reminiscent of Saint-Marcellin, but slightly milder, it is extremely elegant and complex.
Can be matured at will!
A discovery!

hok-cheese-6

Raclette. made in the same way as Swiss and French Raclette, it is milder and great heated and flowing on brea, as a Fondue, as it is or toatsed on muffins!
It had been matured for 3 months.
Won the Best Japanese Cheese Contest in 1998.
Weight: 200g per cut.

Nagashima Saketen
Address:
420 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku,Ryuunan, 1-12-7
Tel.: 054-2459260
Fax: 054-2459252
(Japanese Blog)

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