One of Us
- Sep 2, 2003
Ok, made up my mind now, TR incoming.
DVP said:Finally sitting down to write a bit of a report of my first time in Japan.
Tokyo: What a brilliant city. Was surprised by how quiet it was for such a massive and populated place! And compared with the likes of HK and Bangkok you really feel like you are unique as a tourist there, we seemed to be the only Westerners at Senso-Ji. Highlights were managing to get to Sumo on the 5th Feb, and a messy night at 300 bar in Ginza on the 4th (anyone been there? 300 yen drinks can't be argued with, and again we were the only westerners)
Nozawa: Amazing. Obviously a big part of going to Japan is the pow, but I also wanted to feel like I was in Japan. Nozawa delivered on both fronts. Could pretty much lap Yamabiko all day for fresh stuff, no-one ever seemed to be on Kandahar and around Hikage was some fun steeper stuff. The village was brilliant too, loved the little restaurants that you just fill up when you walk in (especially liked the teppanyaki pancake place - can't remember the name). Can definitely recommend Villa Nozawa too, great staff who are more than happy to help with anything (including sorting a birthday cake for me without me knowing!)
Nagano: We gave the legs a rest with a day and night in Nagano. Too long in hindsight... Zenko-Ji is worth a look but that was about it and only need about 2 hours to get to and from the station. If you have a spare 20 minutes head to the basement floor of the Tokyu department store near the station... more free samples than I have ever seen and delicious!! Also ate at a really tasty place near the station where the food was crazy cheap and a bottle of wine was 1000 yen (!!!) Didn't see that price anywhere else! We meant to grab a business card to remember the name but there weren't any.
Hakuba: Having been to Nozawa first, I must admit we were a bit disappointed. One because there is only a fraction the amount of snow there this year, but two because it just didn't feel very Japanese! Had some great skiing around skyline for the week, had the token day at Cortina but it was a blizzard that day so didn't see it at its best. The onsen in the hotel was amazing though after the basic ones in Nozawa! Also we were very confused about the benefit of staying in Echoland? The location isn't great and there isn't exactly any nightlife to compensate, we were very surprised when we went down there one night (korean bbq was great though!) Can somewhat recommend Alupu lodge... the location is brilliant, its cheaper than anything in Echoland, the downside is the owner is (very) spaced out and the whole place smells a bit like the resident cat uses it as their toilet!
One last thing I would definitely recommend is the bus from Hakuba to Shunjuku. Half the price of bus to Nagano + Shink, and I reckon it would only take one extra hour by the time you have changed in Nagano. Great views of Mt Fuji from the bus as well.
We will be back.... maybe Shiga and Myoko next time? Or should I do Niseko against all the voices in my head???
DVP said:it was more the atmosphere in the evenings that lacked.
smackies said:Don't forget your shame napkin.
I shuddered a littleBorn2ski said:
fattwins said:Drinking too much cheap sake gives you a bad stomach ache. It is like wine really you pay more you tend to get better stuff. Unless you really understand sake. I have a good friend that knows enought about sake. Drinking with him is actually quite an enjoyable experience.
Thats sho chu usually...smackies said:fattwins said:Drinking too much cheap sake gives you a bad stomach ache. It is like wine really you pay more you tend to get better stuff. Unless you really understand sake. I have a good friend that knows enought about sake. Drinking with him is actually quite an enjoyable experience.
Jah, hence the minimum spend rule. The guidance of a sake enthusiast would be awesome. My limited Japanese only allowed me to ask:
"Is this sake or shochu?" (I'll never make that mistake again)
"Is this delicious?"
"Would you drink it?"
I saw what looked like sake in plastic, bounce-proof bottles at the supermarket. Less than $10 for maybe 4L. Paint stripper in the booze section?
smackies said:Are there any local sake brewers in the Hakuba valley?