Tag Archives: Gastronomic destinations

Gastronomic Destinations: Okinawa/Kume Island Part 3

Another picture of our favourite beach from the bridge!

On the “third” and last day of our stay we decided to both combine exercise and relaxation.
We walked all the way from the hotel and over the same bridge again as a very slow pace, taking in everything in for the last time.

We finally arrived at the tatami/straw mat beach and and checked with the small restaurat we were supposed to have lunch at. As it was still full we decided to go to the beach a last time.

We found our dear lady still harvestingmore aosa/green laver seaweed. We just had the time to greet her again and have a very pleasant if short chat before a horde of tourists came rushing!

Another picture of the beach still at low tide. It would be completely submerged later in the afternoon.

We went back to the small restaurant where we served another typical local lunch!

Featuring those great Okinawa “kuruma ebi”/large prawns in deep-fried manner!

We had a little walk in the neighbouring park before going to our main destination of the day: Bade Haus.
Bade Haus means Bath House in German.
Check their Homepage (Japanese, but have a look still!).
The seaweed-harvesting lady told us that quite a few locals were patronizing the place everyday.

I was not supposed to take this picture! LOL
The establishment features outdoor hot tub, a steam sauna, a bath pool, a rest and drink/food zone, a spa sauna and a massage room!
We spent such a long time in the outdoor hot tub filled with jacuzzi right in front of the sea! All water used is deep-sea water taken off that very coast!

We had spent at least two hours in the baths getting rid of the fatigue accumulated the previous day and started to get hungry again.
The establishment has a nice rest room equipped with a counter serving food.
At long last we could taste the Kumeshima Soba that the Missus had wanted so much. Actually “soab” in Okinawa is not “buckwheat noodles” but “wheat flour noodles”!
They were served with pieces of local kamaboko/fish paste and rafute/Okinawan char siu!

I’m not supposed to show that picture, either! LOL

The Missus is going to kill me for showing those “private” pictures! She said I looked like an idiot and she is probably right!

The dessert I chose was shaved ice with Kumeshima Brown sugar syrup over a bed of sweet red azuki beans. The dessert was totally vegan (I’m not, sorry!) and so tasty!

Another picture of the old idiot geezer!

Another picture of the beach as the tide was rising.

My last picture of the sea and beach under the setting sun.
We departed back to the hotel and airport…

Here is a selection of pics taken with the Missus’ camera as mine were all taken with my mobile phone:

That great sashimi plate we had at Nantoshokurakuen!

The sea from that long bridge!

The tatami./straw mat beach!

The sea turtle at the sea turtle museum/aquarium!

And another picture of the beach to say good-bye to Kume Island!

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

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Gastronomic Destinations: Okinawa/Kume Island Part 2

Tatami Beach

On the second day, after a hearty breakfast (probably the best meal at the hotel,…), we decided to vist a few parts of the island by bicycle. Most visitors to this island book a rental car or motorbike, but as neither of us drive, we opted for the cheap and healthy way. We could gone by bus, but the stopover options would have been greatly restricted.

Like in any city in Japan, if you keep an eye open you might discover a few interesting signs. This one is found above a “convenience store”!

It is also a good idea to keep another eye (how many do you have) onto the local roofs as they are often surmounted with “shiisa”, or lion guardians. Some of them are real beauties as we are going to discover them on the way!

In daytime, most of the izakayas are closed, but it is never a bad idea to find out what food they specialize in. Well, this one does serve goat meat, a local delicacy!

A laughing shiisa?

Sugar cane is the main crop in this island. They are everywhere. Interestingly enough, no rice is grown on the island (well, that is what our taxi driver told us last night…)

Sugar cane ready to be taken away. The Missus dissuaded me from pinching one!

Even in the remotest island, they play baseball!

As we rode over the bridge to the next island, we couldn’t help stop and take pictures of the beautiful cobalt blue waters and white sands!
Kume Island is one of the most famous spots for snorkeling and skin diving in Japan!

I don’t know the name of that tree, but I can assure you those rock hard fruit would be deadly if were unlucky enough…

The island is also replete with artists and their creations!

We finally reached our fist destination, the Tatami Beach/Mat Beach. Easy riding so far.

This rock pattern, unique in Japan, was formed when volcano lava hit water under the sea a long, long time (eons, actually) ago. Have you heard of the Giants Steps (or is it Stairs?) in Wales? The same, but different shape!

That is we were extremely lucky to find this sweet local lady who was harvesting “aosa”/green laver seaweed for her own consumption, although she told us locals were selling them for quite a hefty price in Tokyo! After paiinstakingly picking them from the rocks, she would first wash them in seawater and in clear water back home, a process that would take days. Her family mainly eats it in miso soup!

That “shiisa” might turn into a laughing ghost at night!

Just next to the Tatami Beach is another must visit: the Sea Turtle Museum of Kumeshima!
Unfortunately they don’t have a website, but it is compact with great information in spite of the relatively small size (ridiculoulsy cheap entry fee of 300 yen!) with TV video show.
The picture above represents a celebrated legend figure welcoming visitors. A bit tacky.

Great corals, but do not forget that picking live ones is prohibited!

This little museum boasts an incredible collection of almost all the shellfish (and some impressive corals9 found around the island!

Live sea turtles (there are three other types, small ones)! But not easy to take on pictures. I should have taken a video!

And it was back on the road!
I doubt that Jack Kerouac would have followed us, even with the help of the local fiery spirits!
Can you guess who is cycling ahead of me?

Now, it took us more than an hour of tough riding on a single-gear rusty bicycle over really nasty slopes to reach Ajimakan for lunch.
Ajimakan has a website in Japanese. it is a place worth the visit for tourists who want to learn local crafts!

Now the full lunch was 100% local! Very healthy! Apart of a little local char siu called rafute, it could have made for a vegetarian meal!

After luch, it was another tough ride up aninterminable slope to reach the Kumeshima Shizen Bunka Centre/Kume Island nature & Culture Park, another comparatively small park lost in the midst of a beautiful park. Another visit though as it is packed in a little space with history and natural information.
The boat above was used until WWII when there were little communications with Okinawa mainland.

A natural model of the island. Sorry, terrible picture. We found a similar one in Yakushima last year. Same artist obviously. Very instructive.

Great corals there, too!

A religious cortege dating back to the Meiji Era.

A collection of funeral ash vessels.

And then it was rolling down the slopes on our way back. easier, but a bit dangerous for my other alf!
Now, this “building” is a typical Okinawan cemetery/funeral crypt, completely different from those found in the main Japanese islands!

The great thing abou cyacling you can double back to take a picture of still well-preserved old tradtional Okinawan houses.

One of my favourite “shiisa” at the entrance of a house whose roof is also guarded by a lion!

With some time to spare and legs in need of relaxation, we visited another local supermarket to check on the local food. These are goya!

This gourd (not a good pic, sorry!) was longer than my whole forearm (and a lot thiscker!)!

Local red-fleshed satsuma imo/sweet potatoes.

Local fish: no name, but ridiculously cheap price!

The Okinawan char siu, or rafute. Delicious and so cheap! Oknawan markedly eat more meat than the average Japanese.

The local ham, another beauty!

Sushi meals. Not so local, mind you!

Maki sushi. Not so local, either, but this is a cheap supermarket!

The local spirit, awamori.
Our taxi driver last night told us that the local policemen are very lenient, except on drunken driving!

And then it was back to the hotel and a somewhat light dinner.
Great sunsets to be expexted in this very dry part of Japan!

This time we were prepared to go outside for more food (and drinks) as we knew beforehand than the fare at the hotel would not suffice.
We chose to enter this very local izakaya called Takaya.
The service was disappointing, but the food was worth the try!

Albacore tuna and cuttlefish/squid for sashimi. Eminently eatable!

The local set of kakiage tempura was also a good morsel and i had the merit to be very local.

To finish, a set of the local pickles to go with the awamori and the beer!

And that was it for the day!
Next and last time, we were going to spend almost a full day walking around back to the tatami beach, but that is for the next posting!

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

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Gastronomic Destinations: Okinawa/Kume Island Part 1

Kume Island is a small island located just north west of the bottom tip of Okinawa Island. Not so long ago, only a very few planes landed there and visitors had to stay at minshuku/民宿, the japanese equivalent of Bed & Breakfasts.
Nowadays at least three major hotels welcome tourists coming on daily flights.

Guardian Lions at Kume Island Airport.

Kume Island Airport is tiny but welcoming. In any case two massive lion guardians are there to fend off all bad spirits!

Another statue proves that the island is also a major centre for whale viewing. Actually it is also natural park where sea turtles are protected (but I will talk about that in another part!) and skin divers come from far away to admire the beautiful white sand sea bottoms, corals and abundant marine life.

We arrived in the evening after dusk. Incidentally all the above pics were taken later. We stayed at a farily decent hotel called Resort Hotel Kume Island, which boasted all the facilities wished for.

Although the season starts only in April, a large swiiming pool with bar, mini golf, parks for eating outdoors are on hand forthe lazy guests!
As I said we arrived in the evening just after the last limousine bus had departed. Instead we boarded a taxi whose local veteran driver proved a mine of information on the island and especially its nature.

After a quick dinner (all meals were included in the package) we had a look at the souvenir stand for later reference.
There is only one Japanese sake brewery on the min Island and a few shochu distilleries, but the regional drink is fiery spirit distilled from Thai rice and called awamori/泡盛. The minimum alcohol content is 25 degrees proof, but more usually 30 and can go as far as 45 and more!
You can drink it straight, on the rocks or with water.

They come in striaght one-year casked spirits or aged up to 18 years and more with consequent prices.
Kume Island is host to two distilleries, Kumeshima Distillery and Yoneshima Distillery for a population of less than 10,000 souls!

Collectors should be on the look-out as limited labels are sometimes printed like the ones above commemorating the Spring camp visit of the Rakuten Eagles Baseball Team playing in the Japanese Professional Basebll Pacific League (there are 12 professional clubs in two leagues in this country)!

Awamori in ceramic vessels make for beautiful souvenirs back home!

Some of the limited bottles even look like perfume vials (an interesting way to conceal your secret vice? LOL)!

More in old-fashioned, rustic, pottery!

Frankly speaking, the dinner had been a bit light after a three-hour long journey from Tokyo and we were still mightily hungry (and thirsty)!
Luckily enough (it was closed the next day!) an izakaya belonging to the same group owning our hotel stood across the street.
Called Nantoshokurakuen/南島食楽園, it is a welcoming place open from 17:30 to 24:00 (closed on Thursdays) which boasts truly local food.

The Missus opted for a couple of glasses of umeshu, but I ordered a small bottle of 3 years-aged Bi Awamori distilled by Kumeshima Distillery. It was served in a local pottery flask with ice and local water.

This water is a bit unusual, although typical of Japan. It is water flowing in neighbouring deep sea. It is of the purest kind and needs very little filtering or know because of its very low saline content!

We were in a bit of a fix at which fish or seafood to order for sashimi as the izakaya proposed no less than nine of them all caught along the island shores!

The sashimi on the left (above picture for closer look) is called “irabucha”, a green or brown-skinned snapper variety. A bit crunchy and delicious, it is eaten with its skin.

The fish in the middle is called Akamchi, another variety of snapper caught at 300~400 metre depths. Now this fish is extravagant for its rarity (you wi\on’t find it in Tokyo!) and an absolute delicacy melting in your mouth!
Can you spot the umibudo/sea grapes between the fish and the prawns?

Now, the kuruma ebi/large prawns were also an extravagant morsel. They were still alive and he head and tail moved even untouched!
As for the taste, they were halfway between raw lobster and ama ebi/sweet shrimps!

To ensure we came back to our hotel room unwanting, we ordered two different typically Okinawan foods: Champuru rice noodles as above.

And Agedahi Mizore Shima Dofu made with the local tofuu which is notably firmer than tofu found in other regions of Japan.

If you have the occasion to visit the island know that Kume Island is celebrated for its umibudo/sea grape seaweed, kuruma ebi/large prawns, ogo nori/seaweed, shima kamaboko/fish paste, Kumeshima soba/called soba but actually wheat noodles, miso cookies, awamori spirits, and deep sea pure water!

See you in Part 2 which will relate our second day with a load of pictures. Stay tuned!

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

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Gastronomic Destinations: Yakushima Island (4)

(Ancient Cedar Tree in Princess Mononoke Forest)

Day 4: March 11th

We had kept the “hard work” for last day, that is more than 3 hours of trekking up in the mountains to visit the most famous forest in Japan, “Mononoke Hime no Mori/Princess Mononoke Forest” which inspired a great manga/cartoon/animated film of the same name.


It is located in a place called Shiratani Usuikyo/白谷雲水峰, up very high in the mountains and a good hour by bus from the hotel (did you notice the sea turtle on the bus stop?)

momonoke-1 momonoke-2
momonoke-3 momonoke-5
momonoke-41 momonoke-6
momonoke-7 momonoke-10
momonoke-9 momonoke-8
(if you want larger pics, I’ll mail them to you!)

The owners at Tsuwanoya had given us sandwiches and nigiri/rice balls without being asked. Greats service which proved fortuitous as a part of a refuge and foutain half way up, there is no shop in the vicinity, although the forest and mountain are beautifully serviced and equipped by the local government.
Take good shoes, an extra sweater and and be careful. This is a hard climb, and an even harder descent, but so much worth it! Expect wild deer (and monkeys) coming out of the blue (green) in the most unlikely spots!

If you happen to do it too, you will understand how famished and thirsty we were back at the inn!


Luckily, Tsuwanoya had an enormous Japanese dinner ready for us!


Including another plate of succulent sashimi: Mizu Ika/Aori Ika=cuttlefish and Kampachi/Albacore.


And a succulent (half) Asahi Crab!

Itook care of the last day to sample the three shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, the only truly “native” Brewery in th Island!


MItake/”the Three Peaks”
Alcohol: 25%
Aroma: Clean, discreet, elegant
Taste: Soft attack, clean. Shortish tail.
Dry. Dry roasted nuts, coffee beans.
Stands well to food with a sweetish undertone.
Comments: Pleasant refined shochu.
Like all shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, best drunk with ice only.


Aiko/”Love Child”
Alcohol: 25%
Aroma: Very dry, clean, strong.
Taste: Soft attack. Clean taste. Nicely warming up back of the palate.
Dry. Shortish tail. Memories of coffee beans and nuts.
Comments: Great with sashimi.
Turns sweetish and deeper with food with memories of brown sugar.


Alcohol: 35%. Genshu/no pure water added. Unaltered.
Aroma: Fine and discreet.
Taste: Clean, deep taste. Fruity: brown sugar. Almost sweet.
Keeps well with food. Turns drier with food. Shortish tail.
Comments: A fine, elegant shochu, which can be enjoyed for its sake or with food. A very high-level shochu!

Well, that was it for our second trip to Yakushima. Of course the day after was busy with buying tons of souvenirs for the friends back home!

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Gastronomic Destinations: Yakushima Island (3)

(Flying Fish Sashimi at Yakushima Toruism Center Restaurant)

Day 3: March 10th

Since we were not in so much of a hurry on that particular day,we thought some exercise would do us some good before the “long” bus ride, first Miyanoura and later to Nagata.


As I said in the previous posting, Iwasaki hotel is a located of its own enormous park stretching half way up the nearby mountain.


Haf an hour walk through the forest will lead you to a seclude spot overlooking a grand fall running through the trees in total natural wilderness!

We had in mind to visit Yakushima Tourism Center halfway to Nagat for the simple reason they have the best shop in the island where you will find not only a vast array of local food and products, but also plenty of island crafts.


Now, their restaurant upstairs deserves a visit if you want to taste real local food.
My wife ordered the Tobiuo/Flying Fish Sashimi set. The fish is so fresh it just melts inside the mouth.


I selected a full lunch set of a different kind.


It featured “kubi ore saba/fresh mackerel”. “Kubi ore” means “broken neck”. The fishermen actually break the fish just behind the head to ensure the fish will stay straight and fresh until it is served on your plate. Not easy to find in big cities as most mackerel are a little seared beforehand. In Yakushima it just comes off the boat! A totally different delicacy!
With a glass of Mitake “Aiko” Shochu, just perfect!

Yakushima Tourism Center
891-4205 Kagoshima Ken, Kumage Gun, Yakushima Cho, Miyanoura, 799 (just by the beach)
Tel.: 0997-42-0091
Fax: 0997-42-2081
Business hours: 08:00~19:00
Homepage (Japanese)



The beach along Nagata is renown for sea turtles laying their eggs there in June! Highly protected then you can be assured!
The sea gets deep very quickly there, but there are plenty of natural pools available for bathing!


No way you can miss your destination with such a bus stop!

Tsuwanoya Inn is not only great for its location near the sea and the mountains, but also for its service. A phone call will have the owner come an pick you up at the bus station!


Another reason is the impregnable view from the open-air bath/”rotenburo!

The inn is a family business helped with local smiling staff.
The food is within possibility completely local. Even the bread and jams are concocted in situ!


Thei dinners (always different every evening) and breakfasts (Japanese or continental) are very generous.

Our first dinner included:

Sahimi: Kampachi and Tai.

Kagoshima Black Pork pot.

All kinds of Japanese hors d’ouvres.

Simmered Cuttlefish.

And rice, miso soup and pickles.
A couple of glasses of local Mitake Shochu (tasting notes in the next posting!) and it was time for a quiet evening as we had a long trek planned for the next day!

891-4201 Kagoshima Ken, Kumage Gun, Yakushima Cho, Nagata, 3358-7
Tel.: 0997-45-2717
Fax: 0997-45-2465
Lunch and dinner can be reserved by non-guests.
Credit Cards OK
Dining room no-smoking-logo1
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
To be continued.

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Gastronomic Destinations: Yakushima Island (2)


Day 2: March 9th

In Yakushima Island, it doesn’t rain, it pours! That is , you are either in for a continuous shower or beautiful clear skies!
Well today was “pour buckest days”!

(ecological bus stop!)

No worries, we had bought our “bus day tickets” (they can be bought at major hotels or tourism offices). People tend to forget this is a large island and bus fares can quickly amount to a lot at the end of a day. As an example tickets cost 2,000 yen for one day, 3,000 yen for two days and 3,000 yen for four days. A single tour (you will have to come back!) of the whole island costs almost 3,000 yen!


Ther are enough artists and craftsmen in this island to make it the them of a single tour.
There is one great potter we missed on our firts visit of the island, and rain or not we were going to visit it and buy some beautiful small plates and sake cups, all different and lovely!
Yakushima Yaki Shinyakugama
891-4406 Kagoshima Ken, Kumage Gun, Yakushima Cho, Hirauchi, 630-4
Tel/Fax: 0997-67-2624, 0997-47-3088 (night time)
They also organize pottery classes.
Although their HP is in Japanese do check it for a better view of their craft and photoes of their life in Yakushima Island!!


We already knew of the place to go for lunch near Anbo Harbour (the major harbour with Miyanoura for voyages to and from Kagoshima).
Tsuruya is an excellent “minshuku/family inn” which serves exclusively local fare. Reserved for in-guests for breakfast and dinner it opens its doors to the public for lunch.


The Missus opted for the Tempura Set Lunch featuring an unusual fish tempura, “yokowa/ a tuna variety”. Obviously tempura, like sushi or sashimi might be the same word all over Japan, but you will be surprised how many different cuisines they stand for!


I was more interested in sashimi than cooked fish and asked for the sashimi set menu.
the sashimi featured “Akihara” (local fish), “Yokowa/local tuna variety”, “Tobiuo/Flying Fish” (local specialty) and “Tamure” (local fish): a truly gasronomic experience at ridiculous prices!
Lunches are generous, even by European/American standards.
If you add a glass of local shochu to help it down, you won’t feel hungry until late in the evening!
Incidentally, Tsuruya is a rare izakaya in the island which serves the three brew varieties by Mitake, the only truly local shochu brewery.
A special tatsing report will come later!

Then it was back in the rain and the buses.
Bus rides are leisurely enough to enjoy the landscapes (and seascapes) along the road. Big families ought to rent a car though. A whole tour of the island stretches over more than 100 km!
Yakushima island 20,000-plus population (they are apparently “recruiting” citizens!), mainly farming and fishing communities, although Miyanoura is a full-fledged “city” with high-school and even a baseball ground!


Fortunately the rain started to let up when we reached the Yakushima Botanical Gardens.
Open all year round, it takes a good half hour to visit and discover all the plants, flowers and fruit cultivated there.
Can recognize the fruit pictured above?


But don’t forget to climb its view platform from which you will dicover one of the landmarks of the island, the Tooroki Falls pourin directly into the sea!

As buses are not that many, we decided to walk back a good half of the way before boarding one, great physical exercise before taking another well-earned dip into the “rotenburo/open-air hotsprings bath” back at the hotel!


Today (actually the day after) was the Missus’ birthday. More elaborate celebrations being planned once back in Shizuoka, we nonetheless opened a Moulin a Vent, Domaine Bonnet Vieilles Vignes, 2006, excellent enough for any kind of food (I’m cheating as it is a wine brewed near my birthplace!) while we ordered for the food:

Assortment of grilled mushrooms.

Pan-fried “Mizu Ika/Aori Ika=local cuttlefish variety” Salad.

Provencal Scallops (sorry, that’s French!)

Her-roasted oasted Kagoshima Pork.

Veal Schnitzel with cheese coating.

We finished with (not featured, sorry!) guava sherbet for dessert.

We were tired enough to imediately back to our room and bed!

To be continued.

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Gastronomic Destinations: Yakushima Island (1)

(Sashimi plate at Iwasaki Hotel)

Day 1: March 8th

Tokyo Haneda Airport, 10:30 = Kagoshima Airport, 11:30 = 12:45 – Yakushima Airport, 13:30

This was our second trip to Yakushima Island in 4 years. There are two ways to reach this Japanese World Nature Heritage: either you fly all the way (with a changeover at Kagoshima Airport), or top in Kagoshima City (Kyushu Island) before boarding on a three-hour voyage.
Both ways may become dodgy in bad weather as planes might easily be cancelled due to poor visibility, while the same could happen to the boats due to rough seas during the typhoon season. After all, the yearly rainfall (10,000 mm, yes you read it well!) is four times the average for the rest of Japan!
Our first hotel bus being scheduled at 15:30, we took the opportunity to take lunch at Il mare, an Italian restaurant conveniently located within 10 minutes walk from the very small airport.

(Asahi Crab Linguine)

Il Mare relocated in 2006 to the present spot along a “busy” road running past the airport for the benefit of travellers.
The food is of a surprisingly good level for a tourist resort, with pasta and pizza all home-made!
The Missus opted for Asahi crab ( a local specialty) Linguine and seemed to be pretty satisfied with it.


I, for once, chose a Quatro Formaggio Pizza, which I must admit was a lot better than some served in vaunted restaurants in some big cities!


Actually, Il mare is a good proposition any time you want to treat yourself to a non-japanese meal as the restaurant is located in a small park with its own herb garden!

891-4207 Kagoshima Ken, Yakushima Cho, Oseda, 815-92
Tel & fax: 0997-43-5666
Opening hours: 11:30~15:00; 18:00~21:00
Closed on Thursdays
Homepage (Japanese)

Service: Polite and smiling
Facilities: Very clean, inside a forested park, small terrace.
Prices: Slightly expensive


(View of the park and mountain at the back of Iwasaki Hotel)

891-4404 Kagoshima Ken, Kumamo Gun, Yakushima Cho, Onoaida
Tel.: 0997-47-3888
Fax: 0997-47-3788
Free Limousine service from and to Yakushima Airport

-Service: Smiling, kind, attentive and knowledgeable
-Facilities: Above average for a resort hotel. Shop.
Breakfast: self-service. Both Japanese and Continental style. Good
Lunch-Dinner: set menus or a la carte. Good
Restaurant no-smoking-logofor breakfast and partly so for rest of the day.
-Strong points: One of the best hotel parks in Japan! Natural hotsprings (indoors and outdoors)

As this was our second trip we kept to proven values by stopping in the same hotels.
The Iwasaki Hotel is surrounded by a truly enormous forest/park stretching half way up the neighbouring mountains (over 900 m).


A complete tour of the park will take you almost two hours includind a waterfall, oranges orchard, a small enclosure for deer, and thousands of trees, plants and flowers. Don’t forget your camera!
We were just left enough time until dark to take a good walk before we took a long dip in teir hotsprings baths (genders separated, sorry! LOL). The water directly comes from a subterranean volcanic waterbed. Its water is claimed to help alleviate nervous (physical) problems, painful joints and skin disorders.

Then, it was time for dinner:
Iwasaki Hotel proposes a seasonal menu and a la carte menu for dinner featuring local specialties such as “kuroge Buta/Black Hair Pork”
and seafod sashimi from fish caught in the waters surrounding the island.
Among the dishes we shared (portions are large enough) were:

White Flesh Fish Escabeche, first deep-fried,then marinated. A dish that should please Europeans/Americans!

The Sashimi Plate included (from left to right, bottom to top) Mizu-Ika (local name for Aori-Ika/Cuttle fish variety), Maguro, Tobiuo (Flying Fish), a specialty of the island and Tai/Snapper Seabream.

Tempura with plenty of large prawns!

Finally, the seafood gratin was more of a French imspiration with a Japanese touch provided by the flying Fish Roe topping.

The real eating and drinking were scheduled on the next day for the Missus’ birthday!

To be continued.

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Yakushima Island: Coming posting!

(Asahigani/Asahi Crab at Iwasaki Hotel in Yakushima Island)

I’m going on a short trip to Yakushima Island between Kyushu Island and Okinawa. Yakushima Island is one of only three World Nature Heritages in Japan. Check this website!

(Sashimi from fish caught off Yakushima Island)

Some of the gastronomy there, especially fish, fruit and shochu is enough of a reason to visいt the place!


In spite of a 20,000 + population, half of this island is wild.
During the tourist season (luckily we are avoiding that!) thousands of tourists come to explore the untouched forests which have inspired many artists and film directors:


The island is also blessed with some of the best water in Japan. Many breweries of all kinds from Kyushu and Honshu Islands come to collect their water there!


Not to forget there are plenty of spots for bathing, rivers, lakes, beaches and hot springs spas!


Looking forward to talk about it all soon!

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