Thursday, February 28, 2019

spots for blossoms

Our ward recently came out with this map of places to see ume (apricot) and sakura (cherry) blossoms.

Hope to check out these areas soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

supermarket finds

Love the different varieties of fruits in Japan.

This strawberry is named Ibarakiss...Ibaraki prefecture + Kiss = Ibarakiss, cute yeah?!

The berries were bruised, but huge and sweet.

I'm glad we got to try these.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Yesterday, it was cloudy, overcast.

There was "stuff" in the air making the sky hazy.

After lunch, the sun came out but there was still "stuff" in the air.

I didn't think there would be a sunset because when I had looked out, it was clouded over.

And then this (can you spot Mount Fuji?!) beautiful.

Monday, February 25, 2019

supermarket finds

It's been awhile since I've seen yakiimo ((yah-key-ee-moe) roasted sweet potatoes) at the supermarket.

Since the market I was at was roasting some, I picked up one for us to try.

The variety that they were using is called Benitenshi (literally pink angel) from Ibaraki prefecture. (how cute is the package?!)

The sweet potato was HUGE! and I appreciated that they weren't charging by weight...just a flat price 298 yen (plus tax).

This was so sweet and moist! like they added cream and sugar to it!

To tell you the truth, I hadn't bought sweet potatoes in awhile because whenever I would steam them, they would come out quite dry.

I'm glad we got to try them this way and will definitely buy again when I see it.

Sunday, February 24, 2019


While the weather is really wintry in the States.

The weather is kinda Springy over here.

Friday, met up with V, her friend M, V's classmate K and K's friend E....for lunch at Katsukichi.

They have delicious fried foods like pork, oysters and shrimp...thanks for lunch V!

After lunch, V, M and I went to check out the cherry blossoms at Yoyogi Park.

These are the early blooming type and I loved the dark pink color.

We also saw some cherry trees blooming at the Shinjuku Gyoen.

I'm glad the weather was nice and that we were able to see some blooms.

V also spoiled us with all these goodies.

Thanks for today V, M, K & E!

3-9-10 Shibuya, KDC Shibuya Bldg B1
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 050.3134.5712
Hours: 11:00-16:00 (lunch), 17:00-22:30 (dinner)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

ikegami baien

About a 20 minute walk from where we live is the Ikegami Baien (Apricot Orchard).

Right now it is about 50-60% in bloom.

They have 370 trees and several tea houses on the property.

They are usually closed on Mondays, but during the ume season (February-March) are open.

I'm glad I got to check it out and hope to go back at least one more time before the ume season is over.

Ikegami Baien
2-2-13 Ikegami
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3753.1658
Admission: 100 yen (adults), 20 yen (children aged 6-16), free for those over 65 & under 6
Closed Mondays
Hours: 9:00-16:30

Friday, February 22, 2019

supermarket finds

We tried blood oranges back in 2017, at the time, they weren't red when I had cut them open.

So I was excited when I came upon them again at the market recently.

They weren't too big...6 for 480 yen (plus tax)

Grown in Uwajima of Ehime prefecture, and if I read the pamphlet correctly, they are a cross between Tarocco and Moro varieties.

And they were reddish inside!

I squeezed all and only came up with 1 cup of juice.

Be careful as the juice is RED!

This was sweet with a hint of tartness.

I'm glad we got to try this.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


The next morning was leisurely and breakfast was later than our "normal" time.

And it was quite hearty.

After breakfast, we spent the time until check-out hanging out in the room (Satoshi went back to the hot springs) and just relaxing.

This was a shot of the flowers in the lobby.

After we checked out, we caught the bus to Hakone Yumoto and had lunch at Ortensia.

Onsen (hot spring) pasta, caught Satoshi's eye, so he ordered it.

Apparently some hot springs have sodium in their water, so this Italian restaurant uses a similar sodium amount when they cook their pasta, thus "onsen pasta".

I had their pepperoncino...chili oil and tons of garlic...stinky goodness!

After lunch, we bought some marron (chestnut) pies...flaky pastry, whole chestnut and sweet bean paste...from Sagamiya.

And a coconut krispie thingy also from Sagamiya...way too sweet! and needed more coconut.

And then it was back to Odawara...huge Odawara jochin (paper lantern) that the area is known for.

Pretty stained glass titled "Sun, Moon, Mountain, Sea, Odawara"...also in the station.

And then back to Tokyo.

It was a short trip, a nice way to celebrate our wedding anniversary as well as my birthday.

Even though we didn't really get to see Mount Fuji, I told Satoshi, "hopefully we’ll be able to see Mount Fuji almost everyday from our lanai"

Hope you enjoyed this as much as we did, more photos in the Photo Gallery.

706 Yumoto, Marujima Building 4F
Hakonemachi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Phone: 0460.85.8388
Hours: 11:00-17:30

706-35 Yumoto
Hakonemachi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Phone: 0460.85.6610
Hours: 9:00-17:00

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


The next day, breakfast was kinda huge...salad, fruits, poached egg, mashed potatoes and 3 types of bread (toast, roll, & croissant)...we could also have juice and coffee or tea.

Satoshi's breakfast was with risotto instead of the bread...huge portions!

Usually we eat breakfast early, check-out and then go galavanting, but on this trip, we stayed in our room until check-out time.

Lunch was at Soun Gora.

The backstory: Back in 2006 when we climbed Mount Fuji, on the day that my parents had to go back to the hospital to get things checked out, my aunties and the others in our party went sightseeing.

In the evening they had dinner at Tonkatsu Rikyu and rave about the tonkatsu to this day.

Since we were planning to revisit Gora, I had asked my aunty what the shop's name was.

Unfortunately, when I looked online, they closed back in 2016 when the owner/chef passed away.

Had I been more organized, we could've visited them back in 2014...

Now in its place is Soun Gora.

The restaurant was apparently from the Kami-Gora area and moved to this spot in 2016.

I ordered the beef suji (tendon) demi-glace demi glace covers a fluffy omelette and ketchup sauteed rice.

Satoshi had their beef stew omurice...the beef was fork tender.

While we both enjoyed our lunch, we felt the owner/chef was not too friendly...oh, well, at least we got to try this place.

After lunch, we were going on our same route and were excited because the sign can see Mount Fuji from Owakudani...

But by the time we reached Owakudani, there were lots of!

Vaguely visible from Motohakone Port...can you see her?!

Then it was onto another bus to get to the hotel we would be staying about winding roads...blah!

Hoshino Resorts are high-end hot spring resorts in Japan with some properties around the world too.

Their top brand is Hoshinoya and their first onsen resort was established in 1914!

The theme of the Kai properties is Japanese ryokan (inn), so the meals served are washoku (Japanese style)

Dinner was huge! Sakizuke: Salmon Parissoise--cold soup with salmon

Satoshi's cold sake with cute Mount Fuji ochoko (sake cup)

Hassun short video here

close up of part of the hassun

O-wan: deep fried crab with fish paste

Futamono: kabu (turnip) and tara (cod) manju

Yakimono: shirako (milt) horakuyaki (cooked in a clay dish)

Dainomono: meringue hot pot

Cheese Mousse Dessert

Baked Apple Dessert

I was so full and actually stopped eating after the Futamono...

Lots of the interior pieces used the Hakone yosegi zaiku, parquetry.

They even had othello and jenga.

We played Jenga (it was Satoshi's first time) and since I couldn't remember the rules, we played the game wrong...but still had fun (plus I won).

How cool is this smartphone parquetry speaker?!

It was a long day...too much food, but super relaxing atmosphere...

Soun Gora
1300-356 Gora
Hakonemachi, Ashigarashimo
Phone: 0460.82.8626
Hours: 11:00-15:00 (lunch), temporarily closed for dinner : cash only

Kai Hoshino Resort Hakone
230 Yumotochaya, Hakonemachi,
Ashigarashimo, Kanagawa