Day 11 - The search for Kobe beef, a trip to the zoo, ramen and a really good night out!
This morning was the hottest day so far and we were off to Kobe. This was the only day we hadn't prepared maps and a plan, we thought we would just wing it. We walked to Shin Osaka station, we were making good use of our Japan Rail Passes and Kobe beef was on my mind.
It was only a short journey away but we decided to travel in luxury by bullet train as our Japan Rail passes allowed us to do so.
Whilst waiting for the train my wife started her day with some banana and peach juice. One of the most amazing fruit juices we had ever tried!
A spotted a drink I had tried a week or so ago, can't go wrong with a can of Fire coffee!
I was finally having sausage and egg for breakfast, hard boiled and hot dog variety though! The mix also contained rice, noodles, battered chicken ball, seaweed and ginger. A great breakfast and a bit of a bargain too at about £3.
These really soft chocolate cookies were a good find, squashy and delicious!
The personalised drain cover theme continued in Kobe.
This seemed like a good idea, certainly space saving! I did wonder if parking in the correct spot could be an issue though.
I am not convinced an alcohol vending machine would survive too long in the UK.
We tried this alcoholic cherry drink, very nice indeed!
It was a really long walk to the zoo and the part of Kobe we saw on the way wasn't as spectacular as other cities in Japan we had visited so far. The flamingo's welcomed us once inside the zoo which cost less than £5 to visit.
The main reason for visiting the zoo was to see the panda.
The zoo amusement park looked like good fun.
We decided to have a go in the animal ferris wheel.
It gave great views across Kobe and reminded me I was here to find Kobe's famous beef.
There was a fairly vast selection of animals to look at including Emus.
With temperatures now over 30°C an ice cream seemed like a good idea. This ice cream perfectly captured the flavour of blueberry cheesecake.
After leaving the zoo we headed towards the port and walked for miles in the heat, Kobe was huge and the city centre was miles away. We did eventually get to it but as we were going to see bands in Osaka tonight we had almost run out of time.
I scanned loads of restaurant menus but Kobe beef wasn't mentioned anywhere. I left Kobe feeling quite disappointed, I was expecting to see many places selling it.
We needed to be getting ready to go out but decided to spare some time for a quick meal beforehand. This place looked ok and I hadn't tried ramen yet, this was now my chance to.
I also hadn't ordered a meal on a vending machine yet so another thing to tick off my list. It did look quite confusing so when the waitress came along to help us we were quite relieved. You place your order, put the money in the machine and give your ticket to the waitress.
The food is then prepared in the kitchen and brought to the table when it is ready. A good selection of sauces and spices can be found on each table, also some chopsticks.
We intended to get drunk tonight so started with a beer, Asahi was becoming a firm favourite along with Sapporo.
Slight confusion at the vending machine resulted in us ordering chicken gristle in breadcrumbs. Not for the fainthearted and not something I would recommend nor ever order again.
This ramen was excellent, a fish based broth with noodles, pork, egg, seaweed and spring onions. Hugely enjoyable, slurp!
We bought this can of strong zero from 7-11 to drink whilst getting ready to go out. I have no idea what it was but it was strong and delicious in a lemony way.
On the train to Namba I spotted a lady who looked very sad and a chap who may have been taking a sneaky photograph of me, I will never know.
Namba station had giant fish tanks filled with goldfish.
As we came out onto the street everything looked quite futuristic!
We found Namba Mele quite easily, it was a small venue with a tiny bar. As soon as we entered the venue people we had never met greeted us and made us feel really welcome.
The first drink we ordered was a vodka with grapefruit juice, over the course of the night we tried most of the drinks on the cocktail menu. Cocktails in Japan are not like you would expect in the UK, generally they are a spirit with one mixer.
This was the poster for my favourite ever band who were supposed to be playing here tonight, visa issues sadly meant they couldn't make it. A bit of a blow but we were still looking forward to seeing the support bands and experiencing a gig in Japan.
The Baitones were first on the stage and known as "The Cramps" of Kobe.
Next on were the Bunnies, a 60's style of music from this all female band, really enjoyed them!
Finally the rockin' sound of The Drinking Buddies, another great band! We continued drinking and dancing to the music the DJ was playing after the bands had finished. Neither of us could remember much about the journey home, a really great night though and we met some really nice people.
The last photo of the night was of my train ticket, I have no idea why!? We did spend a lot of money on subway tickets during our time in Japan though. Looking back we would have saved money buying a metro card, worth remembering if you are visiting Japan!
Click here for Day 12
Returning to Tokyo
Returning to Tokyo