Thursday, January 08, 2015

nagasaki-isahaya-shimabara

IMG_9794 We woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Breakfast was at the hotel buffet. I wasn't sure what time we would be able to have lunch, so I ate kinda hardy foods...curry, dim sum...

After breakfast, we had some time before check-out so Satoshi suggested we check out the former Chinese settlement area.

Since our hotel was right next to Chinatown, getting to the former Chinese settlement area was just a couple minutes walking distance (uphill, of course!).

IMG_9801 This area was home to many of the Chinese sailors and traders during the 15th to 19th centuries. Many Chinese came to Nagasaki because this was the only open port in Japan at the time.

Strict rules were placed on the Chinese. They were not allowed outside the settlement area at night, nor were they allowed to live outside the settlement area.

There are 4 temples that have been preserved.

IMG_9809 Throughout our stay, we noticed many stray cats around Nagasaki City.

I was also amazed at how narrow the walkways between houses were.

IMG_9814 As we walked back to the hotel to pick up our things, I spotted this cake shop. They had a huge poster advertising this...The Holland Slope Stone. Eight layers of cake and cream created to resemble the cobblestones of the Holland Slope.

They sell this in large elongated cakes as well as pieces. We asked the girl working there if we could have a plastic spoon and shared a piece...super rich but oh so good!

IMG_9949 Here are some souvenirs that we picked up in Nagasaki...Izumiya's castella rusk covered with dark chocolate and honey castella...the rusks are castella baked crunchy while the regular style castella was very moist.

IMG_9925 Soshurin's Ma-fa-ru. Sweet dough that is deep fried. These were quite hard and not too sweet but we enjoyed the simplicity of this snack.

IMG_9988 Izumiya's chocolate castella, honey castella and Soshurin's kinsenpin. Kinsenpin is a sweet dough covered with sesame seeds then deep fried. Another crunchy snack!

IMG_9822 And then we were off...

From Nagasaki City to Isahaya it is about 50 minutes by express train. Then from Isahaya to Shimabara it is an hour and 17 minutes by local train.

The train route from Isahaya to Shimabara takes you along the coast, and the city of Shimabara faces Ariake Bay.

After dropping our things off at the hotel we would be staying at, we went to look for lunch.

The guy at the tourist information desk told us that the area was known for a dish called gu-zoni. If you know about Japanese cuisine, you'll know that we eat o-zoni for New Years.

Well, gu-zoni is similar but it is eaten all year around. "Gu" means ingredients. "zoni" is the soup.

Gu-zoni dates back to 1637 when the leader Amakusa Shiro Tokisada and some 37,000 followers were trapped in their castle. All they had were rice cakes (mochi). Amakusa made the farmers provide him with all sorts of ingredients from the mountain and the ocean.

They added these ingredients to their rice cake soup and were apparently able to fight for three months, sustained by all this goodness.

We tried gu-zoni at Himematsu-ya, one of the many places that serves this dish in the area.

There are lots of goodies in this dish. Besides mochi, there is also anago (salt water eel), gobo (burdock root), egg, shiitake, chicken, carrots renkon (lotus root), koyadofu (freeze dried tofu), hakusai (chinese cabbage), shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves), 3 kinds of kamaboko(fishcake) & mitsuba (wild Japanese parsley)

We both ordered the nami (regular size)...980 yen. This was perfect.

I loved all the different goodies in there!

IMG_9824 After lunch, we walked up to see the castle, but it was closed for the year.

IMG_9829 We checked out the street where many samurai houses used to be.

IMG_9833 I loved the stone walls in this area, reminded me of the kinds we've seen in Okinawa.

IMG_9836 There are also actual samurai homes which you can view, some of the samurai's relatives still live in them too!

I love how this truck was a moving grocer. Very helpful for elderly in the area.

IMG_9839 A barber shop on the verge of being demolished was turned into a cafe.

IMG_9840 We stopped to rest our feet and also to try a popular dessert in the area called Kanzarashi. Kanzarashi are tiny rice dumplings that are cooked then cooled in the spring waters of Shimabara.

The syrup they are served in are made from honey, sugar or brown sugar.

The kanzarashi we tried was served with brown sugar syrup. I like how we got two hearts in our cup too! This dessert is served cold, so I can see why it is popular in the summertime.

I loved the stained glass lamp that was in the cafe.

IMG_9843 As we walked around the town there were many natural springs that you could stop to take a drink at if you wanted to.

IMG_9847_1 One of the nicest people we met during our visit was Mr Nagahama. He refurbishes old houses. After Satoshi chatted with him, he insisted that we must see Mount Heisei Shinzan...so we got into his jeep and up the mountain he took us.

He also showed us a lot of the other sightseeing spots in Shimabara.

IMG_9850 He dropped us off here, at the Japanese tea house, Yusei-teien-shimei-so. We thanked him and said our goodbyes. Here we rested our feet and chatted with the caretaker over a cup of tea made with the spring water.

IMG_9853 Right outside of the tea house is an area called Carp Street, where there are carp swimming alongside the roadway.

IMG_9855 We went back to the hotel and then went in search of dinner.

After getting a bit lost (we blame the maps!), we had dinner at Tsune. We started off with their mimiga salad. Mimiga is the cartilage part of the pig's ear.

I know, different, but we enjoyed the "crunchiness" of this salad. Lots of mimiga, cabbage and some green onions.

IMG_9856 Sashimi...nothing out of the ordinary.

IMG_9857 Nagasaki sirloin steak...tender!

IMG_9858 And an order of yakionigiri (grilled rice balls) coated with shoyu and butter.

IMG_9863 Our hotel was old and scary looking. But, the rooms were quite large, there was free wifi and our room had this thingy...a foot massage machine!

Another great day with great weather.

Tomorrow: Shimabara-Isahaya-Hakata-Osaka

Soshurin
13-17 Shinchi-machi
Nagasaki City, Nagasaki
Phone: 095.825.6781

Izumiya
Hamamachi Arcade
10-6 Hamamachi
Nagasaki City, Nagasaki
Phone: 095.825.5501
Hours: 10:30-20:00

Neoclassic Clover
5-11 Kagomachi
Nagasaki City, Nagasaki
Phone: 095.822.3323

Himematsuya
1-1028-3 Jyo-nai
Shimabara, Nagasaki
Phone: 0957.63.7272
Hours: 10:00-20:00, Closed every 2nd Tuesday

Rihatsuten (barber shop cafe)
888-2 Ueno-machi
Shimabara, Nagasaki
Phone: 0957.64.6057
Hours: 10:30-18:00, Closed Thursdays and every 1st and 3rd Wednesday

Tsune
522 Yorozu-machi
Shimabara, Nagasaki
Phone: 0957.64.1888
Hours: 18:00-24:00

Shimabara Station Hotel
930 Imagawa-machi
Shimabara, Nagasaki
Phone:0120.711.163

8 comments:

jalna said...

OMG, THE FOOD!!!!

K and S said...

so good Jalna:)

Take care!
Kat

K said...

Looks like such a delicious day!

Rowena said...

fruit & veggie dudes on wheels are commonplace here, some are very much like a small store with dairy products, cured meats, bread, pasta, etc.

sounds and looks like a great trip!

KirkK said...

Great photos and wonderful looking food Kat!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I want a piece of that Holland Slope Stone cake. Yum!

It looks like that foot massage thingy might come in handy after all the walking you did. ;-)

K and S said...

I want another piece too Deb:)

Take care!
Kat

K and S said...

it was K!

so convenient, especially in the mountain areas, Rowena!

Thanks Kirk!

Take care everyone!
Kat