Monday, July 21, 2008

Odawara and on to Kyoto

Jim's business meetings were held in Odawara next to the town of Oiso where our hotel was located. I explored Odawara during his last day of meetings. This restaurant caught my eye.

I toured the huge shopping mall (on the right in the picture below). I also caught a glimpse of Mt. Fuji which you may or may not be able to see rising above the distant mountain in the center of this photo--a rare occasion this time of year. By the time the meetings were over just an hour later, it was no longer visible and no one believed that I had actually even seen it!

Later in the day, Jim and I took a train to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, for the vacation leg of our journey.

We arrived at the modern train station pictured above and checked into the Hyatt hotel, our luxurious accommodations for the night.

We immediately set out to explore the area taking advantage of the couple of hours of daylight left to us. First stop was Sanjusangen-do temple where the 1001 statues of the Buddhist deity are housed. The statues were made in the 12th and 13th century. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to photograph the statues.

The gardens were beautiful.

Afterward, our search for dinner brought us to a Japanese style fast food restaurant offering noodle bowls. Amazingly enough they even offered super-sized versions! Not necessarily impressed with our meal but satisfied, we continued our exploration. We saw this tower in the distance and curiously made our way to it. It cost too much to take the ride to the top and so we satisfied ourselves with shopping in the shops at the base. We bought a cake and wound our way back to the hotel to celebrate the eve of my birthday and 30 years of marriage.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Extraordinary Food in Japan

Dinner the second and third nights in Japan was unbelievable! The second night we ate in a restaurant situated in a 400 year old inn. It was gourmet, Japanese style.

Our table in the restaurant

The building was held together by ropes and wooden spikes.

The first course was octopus.

Next came assorted raw fish with flowers.

I believe this was a mushroom on tofu.

Fish and sweet potato

I don't think we wanted to know what this was.

A stacked salad

Stuffed squash

A small lobster in broth with a side of rice and pickled veggies.

The next night we ate at a French restaurant/wedding chapel on the ocean.

First course--I didn't recognize any of it.

Goose liver or foie gras came next--definitely interesting!

Something like yogurt covered with gravy and lima beans.

Some delicious fish dish.

Beef--quite rare--and a purple cauliflower.

Definitely dessert--my favorite part.

I felt privileged to be able to eat with Jim's colleagues .
I'm pleased to report that I tasted every single item served.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Joyama Park

On one of my walks through Oiso, Japan I discovered Joyama Park. Unfortunately all of the information about the park was written in Japanese and I couldn't find out anything about it online either. So...all I can share are the pictures I took. As you can see, it was a beautiful place! I loved the peace and serenity.

A cave under a tree among the roots.

This seemed to be a convention or visitors center.

You could see our hotel and the city of Oiso from the top of the park.

I only wish I knew more about Joyama Park. I'm sure it had some historical significance.