Saturday was sunny but was expected to turn cloudy in the afternoon. We had some errands to run, then we headed to Minoo Park. Year after year, the maples in Minoo are getting less and less red. Kind of disappointing, but this year, we found an "anaba" (hole in the wall or secret place).
We couldn't believe that we did not know about this temple (Shotengu Saikoji), I guess it is because we've only gone the same route every year. The leaves were orange-red, it looked like the trees were on fire! What was even more beautiful were the fallen leaves on the ground, like a red carpet. There was a group sketching, we found an empty bench and had our lunch here.
Lunch was from Tonkatsu Yutaka. In Japanese, yutaka can mean rich, plentiful or abundant. Some males are often named Yutaka in hopes that they will be rich or have an abundant, plentiful life. I had heard that this shop's katsu sandwich was something to be tried, so on our way to the falls, we picked up one jo (first class) 1365 yen (about US$13.65), and one toku-jo (finest) 2100 yen (about US$21). The jo, was thick, meaty but tender and juicy. The toku-jo, was a bit thinner but still tender and juicy. We agreed that we couldn't tell the difference between the two types of pork used and the cheaper one would have sufficed.
Walking the 2.8 kilometers to the falls was slow, there were tons of people oohing and aahing at reddish leaves and the Minoo monkeys. These guys come down every fall to check out what people are having for lunch. Luckily, they aren't too aggressive. Though memories of "other monkeys" brought a cold sweat to my brow and many blurry pictures.
When we reached the falls, there were tons of people sitting in front of it, eating their lunch, chatting, trying to get their photo taken with the falls....the people sitting in front of the falls looked like they were watching a movie or show.
After taking our look at the falls, we made our way back out. It began to drizzle, so we popped into Per Caffe Bianco for some dessert and coffee.
The cafe was quite full and we were able to grab the last table. Service here by Japanese standards is quite slow, but the Japanese just don't know how to relax if you ask me. One guy ordered a coffee and an iced coffee and was wondering out loud why it was taking so long. This cafe brews each cup after it is ordered. I would rather have a cup that was brewed after I ordered it than something instant or sitting in a pot all day.
Satoshi chose the seasonal tart. His tart came with sweet potato sauteed in butter with a dollop of vanilla gelato. I chose the cheesecake. It was dense, rich...delicious. Plus, there was a little surprise at the end, a whole strawberry. Of course, I couldn't eat here without ordering a cappuccino.
The cappuccino art was of "Tonari no Totoro" (I think), a Japanese animation character.
Despite the overcast skies and tons of people, we were lucky to be able to enjoy the last weekend of autumn colors.
Dinner M-W, F 18:00-22:00
Sa, Su 17:30-22:00
Per Caffe Bianco
Open 9:00-21:00 (UPDATE: hours have changed to 11:00-21:00)