Friday, 17 June 2016

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 2 - Day 4. Hamamatsu and Nukumori No Mori

We woke up and wasted no time in heading down to the breakfast room, time to check out the buffet breakfast!

I wanted to try everything but didn't manage to try the curry or miso soup, there's only so much a person can eat! In the bowl was mochi, a japanese rice cake ball coated in sesame seeds (delicious!) and an egg. I cracked the egg open to find it was raw, I decided to leave that!

This was the Japanese breakfast, the salmon was delicious and the noddles were ok. The rest was all really fishy though and not really to my taste, especially so early in the day. The grey jelly wedge was quite salty and not something I would ever want to taste again.

Luckily I'd played it safe with the Western style breakfast which consisted of  sausages, scrambled eggs, fries, pasta salad, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Not bad at all but still a far cry from the full English I'm used to eating.

Just for good measure and to get my money's worth I checked out the croissants, toast and fruit juice. The breakfast was certainly good value for money but for me buffet breakfasts are a bit of a nightmare, I always end up eating too much!

We made our way to Nagoya station and boarded a train to Hamamatsu.

For the journey my wife bought a lychee drink and I chose what looked like a bottle of medicine, it turned out to be an energy drink. Lipoviatan D is the most popular energy drink in Japan, I bet it tastes great with a vodka.

We were only on the shinkansen for 20 minutes, we were in standard class but just look at that legroom! All the seats on the shinkansen are always facing in the direction of travel, each row of seats rotates which explains why the legroom is so generous.

Hamamatsu is 160 miles Southwest of Tokyo with a population of just over 800,000 people. I wanted to get closer shots of this bush chap but the random jets of water that fired from the ground stopped me from doing so. My wife was braver than me though and has a great close up of it. 

We enquired at tourist info about how to get to Nukumori No Mori.
The lady in tourist info was incredibly helpful and sent us in the right direction with a handful of leaflets. It involved a bus journey so it was just a case of knowing when to get off the bus.

We managed to get off the bus in the correct place and this sign made it clear we were close to Nukumori No Mori.

One of my favourite Japanese drinks is Mitsuya Cider. I wasn't planning on getting drunk this time in the morning though, this is a rather tasty soft drink, it tastes like Sprite crossed with ginger ale.

With my can of Mitsuya Cider in one hand and my wife in the other we entered the stunningly beautiful Nukumori No Mori (The forest of warmth). 

Both Ghibli and Final Fantasy spring to mind when you enter this incredible place. 

I spent entire weekends playing Final Fantasy 7 on my Playstation in my bedsit in the late 90's and this place made me feel like I had stepped inside the game. I was half expecting Cloud Strife to appear at any moment.

The attention to detail is really impressive, just beyond here was a small stream that turned into a waterfall running down the bank. 

This had to be the most impressive toilet building ever!  You could actually go inside every building here, each one was a small shop selling local craftware and gifts to the passing tourists.

Inside was a small bakery and coffee shop, in we went.

As soon as we saw the cakes we knew that just looking wouldn't be enough, which one would you choose?

This tart was to die for! A bakewell tart base topped with fresh strawberries, custard, fresh cream and a macaron. 

Having fully explored Nukumori No Mori we made our way to the bus stop again, we stopped briefly to buy a sparkling grape drink from a vending machine. 

 People often say to me "it must be confusing getting around in Japan" 
It can be sometimes but much of the time it's fairly straight forward, this bus timetable was clear and easy to understand.

We had originally planned to return to Nagoya after visiting Nukumori No Mori but a conversation with a Russian guy on the bus made us want to give Hamanako Palpal a look. We jumped on a bus and headed towards it, the map on my iphone was useful in telling us when we were there. I found it works even in airplane mode provided that you have first downloaded the map and ensure you have the wifi switched on.

On the banks of Lake Hamana we spotted Hamanako Palpal in the distance, everywhere was eerily quiet though.

Hamanako Palpal is described as a resort-styled amusement park surrounded by the great outdoors. It all appeared to be closed though which was a great shame.

The cable car was working though so we hopped on to see where it took us.

The area at the top seemed to be a series of pathways, we were unsure of which one to take so just randomly picked one.

The pathways didn't really lead to anywhere particularly interesting so we headed back to the cable car station. On top was a viewing platform with stunning views across the bay, we still hadn't encountered many other people here though which seemed quite odd.

I don't know why I didn't buy these, I really should have tried them.

Back at the bottom we walked along a waterside path that ran along beside the theme park. All we could think of was that it wasn't high season and that's why everywhere was so quiet.

The swans and dinosaurs were going to have to wait a bit longer before being let loose on the lake.

We walked around to the beach but not a soul in sight anywhere.

This beach bar had seen better days.

As we followed another path it took us to Kanzan-Ji Temple.

From there we followed another pathway leading us to the top of the hill.

At the very top we were greeted by Kanzanji Seishi Kannon Bosatsu standing 16 metres tall.

We'd walked a long way and decided to stop for a beer, as soon as we arrived at the bar the owner brought us over a hot flannel and glass of iced water.

Winnie the pooh was fishing in the lake beside us.

We decided to catch the bus back to Hamamatsu, I took one last look at the rollercoaster wishing it had been open.

For the journey we bought a bottle of Bikkle, a delicious yogurt drink made by Suntory.

Back in Hamamatsu we decided to find somewhere to get some food. This place had a lot of character with it's futuristic looking buildings and it was certainly off the tourist trail. 70's elevator music was piped down the streets and when it was safe to cross roads the sound of birds tweeting was played at the crossings. Certainly quite a surreal place and somewhere I would recommend stopping off at if you visit Japan.

We went inside this Yakitori restaurant for something to eat.

Umeshu (plum wine) on the rocks is a firm favourite with my wife and I, the decent stuff has plums in the bottom of the bottle and tastes amazing.

I wasn't sure what to try so chose the combination, my wife spotted some tempura vegetables on the menu.

 The chef prepared and cooked the food in the centre of the restaurant, customers sit around the edge, when the food is ready he passes it over to you.

The food looked great when it arrived, we ordered some rice to share too.

My combination skewers consisted of chicken, chicken meat balls, quail eggs, leeks and courgette. An excellent selection that was coated in a delicious sauce.

 My wife's vegetable tempura was amazing too!

Back in Nagoya I decided a corn dog from 7 Eleven was needed, a bargain at just ¥100 (about 65p)

A hotdog sausage coated in a thick batter of cornmeal batter on a stick. The perfect nibble whilst glancing through Nagmag.

It comes with this ketchup and mustard sachets, just snap it in half and squeeze! 
To be honest I was ready to throw it across the room until my wife showed me how it worked.

My wife had chocolate on her mind, Pocky almond crunch are amazing!

Click here for day 5
Over 20 miles on foot around Nagoya


  1. Lovely - welcome back Inspector. Thanks for writing these, fascinating! You're a great combination of Keith Floyd and Alan Whicker (a good thing)!

    1. Many thanks! Glad you're enjoying the adventure:-)

  2. Were you brave enough to try natto during your time there ?

    Everything in japan looks such high quality like those tarts in the bakery in the forest...they could have sold you any old rubbish because there's nothing else to eat for miles around... looking forward to the next installment

    1. I just looked up natto, not something I tried but just out of curiosity I will next time! Good point about the cakes, they were so good!!

  3. Hey! Thought I'd let you know that raw eggs are actually considered safe in Japan. At breakfast, some actually stir it in into warm rice - look up tamago kake gohan :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your trip. I've never posted before but have been keeping up with your blog for several years and thoroughly enjoyed it - I'd been particularly looking forward to your next adventure abroad. It's a brilliant read :-)

    1. Glad you're enjoying it and thanks for your support, much appreciated!! 😊

  5. Given that I was roughly a foot taller than the average Japanese person I found the legroom astonishing. Glad your veg missus found something to eat.