Tag Archives: Cycling Gourmet

Gastronomic Cycling in Shizuoka (2)

Today was also a glorious day, even in the second half of the afternoon with blue skies and crisp air. Time to go out!

Bazooka Gourmet will smirk again when he sees that I had to change the basket yesterday as it finally fell apart!

I took the street at the back of the office, running along the Sumpu Castle Park and Moat. Sumpu is the old name of Shizuoka City. The caste which had been leveled down in early Edo Times was rebuilt to two thirds of its original size at the end of last millennium (LOL, not so long ago, actually!).

The city is still asking the country to pay for the repair of the wall which collapsed in three different spots during last summer’s earthquake (do you remember my earthquake bento?).

I was then cycling past the Old City Hall Dome built by Queen Victoria’s subjects in the 19th Century. To think that a former Mayor wanted to pull it down. It is presently used as a museum and local government seat.

A minute later I reached the entrance of Sengen Shrine street, the destination of the day, marked by a giant red torii. A torii is a Japanese entranc/arch erected to allow birds to perch and rest on (Shintoism).

Sengen Shrine is only about 300 metres long but it is one of the oldest street in town. Although it has been renovated over the ages, one can still find traditional shops and quaint sites.
The shop above is famous oden-ya/Japanese pot au feu restaurant.

Shizuoka-style oden is renown all over Japan!

Taking a short peek (I will write a full about oden again soon).
Note that I use my mobile phone camera. A real camera tends to put off people for good reasons….

Narrow but interesting (reason coming in next pic!) entrance of an antique shop.

Although the shop sells all kinds of old sabres and knives, the police notice states you are allowed to carry knives with blades over 5 cm long!

This shop specializes in peanuts only!

They went as far as to designing their own “mon/arms” with peanut plants!

This cafe specializes in organic food, a very real real thing in Shizuoka!

A sign to make sure you know they use only organic vegetables!

A local celebrity: Yamada Nagamasa

Yamada Nagamasa (1590~1630) voyaged to Siam where 7,000 samurais lived in Ayathaya as the personal guard of the Siam King.

The statue was erected in 1991. Note that due to the closure of the country in Edo Times, he probably become the last Japanese sailor of note for the next 200 years!

A grocery selling only organic vegetables!

Would love to taste these!

At the first crossing stands this quaint shop selling miniature cars.

Hundred of them all different!
Did you know that Tamiya Miniature Company is in Shizuoka City?

Real antiques for the collectors!

The City Tourism Bus (names in French…) clearly indicates this is a street to explore.

This street is one of the very last where you still can find shops selling traditional gardening tools, some of them real monsters! LOL

This pet clinic (real vet!) is apparently the best business in the whole street!

End of the street and entrance to the Sengen Shrine (will write a report about it one day!) and it’s back along the other side of the street towards my real destination I ignored on purpose at the entrance of the street.

A soy sauce shop, probably the only one in town.

And an old one at that! These ceramic bottles are over 80 years old!

Local soy sauce brands.

A yeast and miso shop. Only a few shops left in Shizuoka. This is the place to buy artisanal miso!

That shop still sells traditional cookware, kitchen and bathroom wooden and metallic utensils. Almost no plastic there!

Shizuoka is famous for this kind of bamboo craft!

Now, this is the guy I had left for dessert!
Now, what is he cooking on his copper hot plate?

Can you guess? Hot Cakes? Yes and no…

have you heard of Doraemon, the Japanese manga character?
He loves “dorayaki”, the Japanese double hot cake filled with anko/sweetmeats!
This is the only place left in Shizuoka still cooking them every day in the true traditional way!

I did ask for the authorization to take pictures.
The man was real sweet (of course…) and gave me (to prove the great taste…good businessman!) a single hot cake wrapped around anko/sweetmeats!

Hot, simple and so delicious!
The gentleman was beaming all the time.
“If you want to take more picture, come inside!”
????

I only understood when I passed the “noren”/Entrance curtain!
The place for all its tiny size was a real Ali Baba cavern full of antique collectibles!

I almost screamed when I discovered those exquiisite antique glasses,

Cups, saucers and more!
Who could have believed there was a cultured man behind that artisan?
I know I will come for more than one reason!
No wonder customers kept streaming in!

Mr. Kawauchi make the dorayaki. His smiling wife packs them carefully and individually in cellophane paper printed with”Dorayaki”, the shop name and all ingredients used!

Out of the package.
They are big and sell for only 100 yen/1.10 US $.
Mr. Kawauchi was selling them only 42 yen when he opened his shop 22 year ago!

After a big bite.
The hot cake is unbelievely light and soft. The taste is certainly heads, shoulders and torso above anything sold at higher prices in department stores!

Where next?

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, The French Market Maven, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glas, Palate To Pen, Tokyo Foodcast, Good Beer & Country Boys, Tokyo Terrace, Think Twice, Jefferson’s Table

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi,
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Gastronomic Cycling in Shizuoka (1)

Many friends have enquired why I call myself a “cycling gourmet” (instead of the celebrated “galloping one”).
There is no mystery there for the simple reason that I have never driven, or was tempted to, a car in my life.
Thanks to that, I’m still comparatively in good health in spite of my ever-going battle of the bulge and a blood pressure to keep in check.

As for my bicycle(s), do not expect me to ride the state-of-the-art mountain bike (although I’d love to own one!), great for riding on all roads, but definitely unpractical. I need that sturdy basket in the front!
In any case there is no way you can suddenly stop to take a picture with your car sitting in the middle of the street!
Japan might be a congested, teeming land, but there are millions of pictures begging to be taken of the everyday life of its people, the more for it that it is the safest country in the world. With a minimum of (good) manners you will soon discover that almost everyone is happy to be reported on!

Shizuoka City is a very compact town in spite of its fairly large population of over 800,000 souls. Really big buildings are only to be found near the large Railway Station (this is earthquake country after all). In spite of many wide arteries gridiing the area, there are plenty of side streets to explore.

A typical thoroughfare starts from the Central Police Station onto the Shichiken-cho street through Komagata Street.
I will spare you from all the ubiquitous chain cafes, diners, nonsensical cake shops and the like to concentrate on the places of true interest.
Japanese cities can appear bland and jumblelike to the point of sheer boredom at first contact, but if you know what and where to search there is plenty to discover, big or small, local or foreign, amusing or downright alien.

Shichiken-cho starts with th Isetan Store, one of the major chain department stores in Japan.

The food department is invariably located on the first or basement floor in such buildings.
Isetan is worth some study as they make an (albeit a bit weak) effort to promote truly local gastronomy:

Map of Shizuoka Prefecture and its main fisheries harbours with the fish of the day.

Shizuoka sake!

Shizuoka Green Tea with a map of the main fields!

Shizuoka Wasabi products.

Shizuoka processed fish.

Keeping straight (you must explore the side streets at night with their many izakayas!) you will find Il Cuore Trattoria, a great Italian Cafe where you can enjoy your drink and tasty light fare at a table outside on the pavement (in warm weather!).

The best and most beautiful cappucino in town!

Just keep going on, and you will find Takahashiya Sembei shop.

The oldest rice crackers shop. All sembei are made over a charcoal fire!

To be fair, there are many small cheap restaurants (ramen, yakiniku, etc..), cafes, bakeries, boutiques, beauty salons and whatnot along the way, but they would not have you raise an eyebrow.
You will also find one useful Shizutetsu grocery store along the way, but skip it for the time being.

Now, when entering Komagata Street, you do have to keep an eye open for some intriguing sights.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the minuscule Komagata Shrine,

and salute its dragons (we know this guy, don’t we?)!

Just past the Komagata Shrine you will discover where the true locals buy their everyday needs at ancient grocery stores.

Tomitaya is your typical Shizuoka off license/liquor shop,

offering rare Shizuoka sake, some of which you will not find in any other shop in Shizuoka City!

Have a good look at what is displayed at the shops.

Not only the (very low) prices are clearly indicated, but also the origin of all the veg, meat, fish and fruit!

There must be good reasons for the local to crowd such grocery stores!
Great places for expats with gastronomic priorities and limited budgets!

Sano Rice(only) shop.

Very good value for very fine rice coming form all over Japan!
A reference shop for vegans and vegetarians!

I’m pretty sure you will have missed a lot on your way out, therefore on your way back proceed slowly and have two or three more looks.

Dotai Kotai Izakaya. They are part of a big chain, but they have the merit to serve a few eminent Shizuoka sake and decent food.

There are some intriguing signs to be put on film.
The shop above sells beef, chicken, pork, sausages, delicatessen all in the same place,….

Scorpion Hearts?
This is not a food store, but a beauty salon!

Amici, a tiny watering hole I definitely will have to investigate in the near future!

A quaint entrance to an unusual cafe.

No comments!
The amateurs of the truly bizarre should come well-equipped!

I just loved that one!

Biwa is a popular “Chinese Fusion” restaurant with ladies but I hold reservations as to that kind of presentation…

Unusual design for a Crepe shop called Roulotte.

But the kids seem to love it!

Osakaya is shop solely selling “katsuo bushi/Dry bonito shavings”. Shizuoka is the main area for ships to bring their bonito catch in Japan.

Ichome, a kitch jumble of a trattoria, which seems to be really popular.
I’ll have to check!

Will meet you soon at the next destination!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Bread + Butter, Comestilblog, Greedy Girl, Bouchon For 2, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Mangantayon, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles, Lexi, Culinary Musings, Eats and Everything, Bite Me New England, Heather Sweet, Warren Bobrow, 5 Star Foodie, Frank Fariello, Oyster Culture, Ramendo, Alchemist Chef, Ochikeron, Mrs. Lavendula, The Gipsy Chef, Spirited Miu Flavor, Wheeling Gourmet, Chef de Plunge, Sushi Nomads, Island Vittles, The French Market Maven, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glas, Palate To Pen, Tokyo Foodcast, Good Beer & Country Boys, Tokyo Terrace, Think Twice

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi,
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日本語のブログ
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