Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 3 - Day 6. Destination Sendai

Our time in Sapporo had come to an end so we checked out of the hotel and made our way towards the station in search of some breakfast. This breakfast set at a small cafe beside the station cost ¥480 (£3.20). The coffee was good, the toast was thick and the scrambled eggs were served with a tiny blob of ketchup.

With seats on the train reserved we popped outside to find a smoking area. Camel were promoting their latest cigarettes and had set up a smoking area for people to enjoy with sofas and hammocks. A far cry from the smoking areas I hang out in back home!

Kirin Fire Extreme Blend is good stuff and it certainly keeps you on your toes. The name Extreme Blend comes from the way the coffee is made, using a mixture of 15% burned beans which gives the whole coffee a very rich flavour. It's not sweetened but it has added milk so it's not too bitter, in a vending machine you can buy it for around ¥130 (85p)

We had a long journey ahead of us which started with four hours on the Super Hokuto Limited Express. In these situations the best thing to do is eat so we stocked up on supplies for the journey.

My wife bought this seed covered rice ball.

We can't recall what was inside it but at a guess I'd say plum.

I decided to push the boat out and bought this beautiful Ekiben. Just to recap, an Ekiben is a bento box sold on trains and train stations. The contents often reflects the regional specialities from the place it's purchased from. This one cost me ¥1100 (£7.35) from a small food store on Sapporo station.

The colours and presentation were stunning! This section contained a selection of vegetables and something slimy on a stick. Sorry I can't be more descriptive, I had no idea what it was but it did taste good.

This section contained tofu served in a soya based sauce, eating it with chopsticks was no easy task.

Some kind of potato ball from what I recall and more vegetables.

Finally some rice which is always very sticky making it easier to eat than you'd think using chopsticks. Add some soy sauce though and it becomes far more difficult.

As we were soon going to be leaving Hokkaido I decided to make the most of Sapporo Classic whilst I still could. Joe Florek suggested on my Facebook Page that I should try a Chu Hai whilst in Japan so I did just that. This Sicilian Lemon Chu Hai made by Kirin has an alcohol content of 5%, was really refreshing and cost just ¥160 (£1.05) from the drinks trolley on the train.

The Japanese fish sausage can be found in many convenience stores. It's very bendy, doesn't need to be kept in the fridge and is a complete nightmare to open. The fish flavour isn't too overpowering but they are incredibly sweet so this ¥120 (80p) snack may not be to everyones taste, I love them though!

My wife was drawn to this salad by the mushrooms which are one of her favourite foods. She too was making the most of our time left in Hokkaido with a can of Sapporo Classic.

These edamame beans are really delicious, just pull the pack apart and enjoy. You could find them in the fridge at 7 Eleven at a cost of ¥150 (£1)

It was a shame to be spending such a beautiful day on a train but we got to take in some of Hokkaido as we travelled through it.

At Shin Hakodate we swapped trains and boarded the Shinkansen bound for Sendai. 

Before boarding the Shinkansen we picked up some snacks for the 2.5 hour journey. I just had to try the Love Love Sand so picked two different flavours.

A really soft white bread which was sealed at the edges, inside was a creamy egg mayonnaise filling. Delicious and a bargain at just ¥140 (95p)

This one had really nice cream and strawberry jam filling.

Well this was it, my final can of Sapporo Classic. We were now moving away from Hokkaido at 160mph so I savoured every last drop. This was by far the best canned beer I'd ever had the pleasure of drinking.

These went nicely with the beer.

By the time we reached Sendai the sun was just starting to set. Our main reason for coming to Sendai was it's close proximity to Tashirojima (Cat Island) which we planned to visit tomorrow.

Sendai is the second largest city North of Tokyo, it has a population of just over one million people. The coastal areas around this area suffered catastrophic damage from the 2011 Tsunami, some of these areas we would visit over the next few days.

About fifteen minutes walk from Sendai station was Hotel Mayflower which would be our home for the next three nights. A double room here cost us just ¥5000 (£33) per night and the price included breakfast.

After spending most of the day sitting on trains we decided to stretch our legs and explore Sendai. Before long we spotted a bar with a happy hour, ¥250 (£1.65) for a glass of sangria seemed like a good deal so we stopped for a drink.

When this plate of food arrived we realised there would be a cover charge. It was only ¥300 (£2) each though and the prawns in batter were superb. With food on our minds we decided to search for Hanbey.

We managed to find Hanbey but they were totally full and a reservation was required. It's no surprise really as the Hanbey experience is incredibly popular with locals and tourists.

Opposite our hotel was an Aeon Supermarket, it was getting late and they were reducing their bento box prices so we decided to buy something from here to take back to the hotel.

¥260 (£1.75) bought me this bento box containing chicken, squid, egg, rice, spaghetti, pickles and half a hot dog sausage. The facilities were there in the hotel foyer to heat it up but I enjoyed eating it cold. 

Also in the hotel foyer was a hot drink machine serving hot chocolate and coffee. It was free to use and we grabbed a drink whenever we passed it. Over a coffee we finalised our plans for visiting Cat Island in the morning, we would need to be getting up at 5.30am in order to get the early train we required.

Click here for Day 7
Tashirojima (Cat Island)


  1. I'm really surprised by some of the prices you list in Japan. I know you're not eating in high-end restaurants, and probably put a lot of internet work into finding bargain hotels, but do you have any idea as to what the whole three weeks cost your wife and yourself, excluding the air fares? Thanks...

    1. I forget the total cost but remember the 3 week JR pass cost £315 per person and the average price for hotel rooms were around £40 per night for a double. I’m guessing we spent around £20 each per day on food. This usually involved eating out at least once a day and buying food from convenience stores.

    2. Thanks. Food for thought...