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Trip Report-Shikoku, Japan Road Trip 2019

Trip Report-Shikoku, Japan Road Trip 2019

Old Oct 25th, 2021, 11:42 AM
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Trip Report-Shikoku, Japan Road Trip 2019

I have been a long time lurker (and infrequent poster) but with some time on my hands thought Iíd post a trip report for our (me & my husband's) 2019 trip to Shikoku, Japan. I originally wrote & posted this on a Chicago food forum I frequent for their Outside Chicago forum. So this will be a bit food centric.

Some background. My husband and I are in our late-ish 40ís. This was our 4th trip to Japan. Weíve gone every year since our first trip in 2016 when we fell in love with the country (well, except 2020 when our road trip around Kyushu in the spring was cancelled and of course 2021 since Japan isnít letting in visitors). Previous trips were Tokyo-Matsumoto-Takayama-Kanazawa-Kyoto-Osaka (with day trips) in 2016, Fukuoka-Nagasaki-Hiroshima-Onomichi-Kurashiki-Matsue-Sendai for Yamadera Temple- Tokyo in 2017 (with day trips) and then in 2018 we went specifically for cherry blossoms so we slept in Tokyo & send the days taking day trips to places that had full bloom like Matsumoto & Fukushima.

In terms of planning we work on the overall itinerary together and then my husband handles all the daily planning (what we do each day, opening times etc) while I handle all of the food planning. I do a google map of all of the possible restaurants (lunch & dinner) and then send him a short list of dinner options along with links to Tabelog (like the yelp of Japan but much more trustworthy), blogs, Instagram and the like. Then I have him pick his top picks and I get the reservations made (shout out to my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for their concierge service). We always have dinner reservations for each night in Japan (unless the place doesnít accept them) as places can be very small so youíll get shut out and it can be seen as rude to just show up without a reservation. And having traveled together before we know that not having reservations leads to indecision and fighting (for us). The google map includes pics of the outside of each restaurant (since names are not in english & it makes it easier to find places). I search online to see if any places have menus posted (on their site or a couple of Japanese sites like hitosara & retty) and if they do I translate them in advance & bring them with me. We also rent a mobile wi-fi unit so we have the internet everywhere we go (so we can always access our google maps).

My husband is also the language guy no matter where we are visiting (he has a skill for them). So he learned a bunch of useful phrases and he taught himself hiragana & katakana, two of the 3 written ďalphabets-not actually alphabetsĒ that are used in Japan as well as a few food kanji. So in some spots we were actually able to order off of the Japanese menu.

Our trip in 2019 was a road trip around Shikoku. Shikoku is the least visited of Japanís islands especially by westerners. The city of Matsuyama will get some day trippers from Hiroshima because itís a short boat ride away (we visited that way in 2017) but much of the rest of the island does not get many western tourists. Shikoku is famous for the 88 temple pilgrimage where pilgrims (called henro or ohenro) travel to all 88 temples on the island. This is traditionally done on foot but nowadays people drive or even take tours to visit them (especially the elderly in Japan). Youíll see henro in their traditional white vests & cone hats all over the island.

Our itinerary was Tokyo (one night)- Kochi (3 nights)-Uwajima (2 nights)-Matsuyama (2nights)-Tokushima (3 Nights)-Takamatsu (3 nights)-Tokyo (3 nights) with day trips to various spots. We had a car from the 2nd Kochi day to the last day in Takamatsu. My husband did all the driving and once he got used to driving on the other side of the road it was very easy. Japanese drivers follow the speed limits & traffic laws (unlike some other countries-cough, Italy). We had a car with an English navigation system so getting around was easy. The only time we had any issues were on the smaller rural roads that were essentially one lane but allowed traffic from both ways. Those were a bit scary, especially some of the more mountainous roads that had blind turns. A car is definitely a must in Shikoku. We went to lots of rural areas and as such sometimes lunches were from the conbini (convenience store) like Lawsons and Family Mart. Thankfully convenience stores in Japan are great so we had a lot of karaage, egg salad & tonkatsu sandwiches on this trip.

A link to all of our pictures is here https://www.flickr.com/photos/andychup/albums and Iíd be happy to answer any questions. Kochi is up first!
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Old Oct 25th, 2021, 12:41 PM
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Kochi Sites

Our first stop was Kochi. Kochi was our favorite spot on the trip and I would recommend it to anyone that loves food and a city with a great vibe. Kochi is also known for drinking (itís said its people are the biggest drinkers in Japan). Local food specialties include katsuo no tataki, a slightly seared bonito (seared over burning straw) which comes garnished with yuzu ponzu sauce (or salt), raw garlic & onions, utsubo karaage (deep fried moray eel), fruit tomatoes (literally the best tomatoes Iíve ever had) and deep fried laver (like seaweed but from a river). We tried all of these and more at local restaurants. All are great.

We stayed at the Dormy Inn. The location was great, easy walking distance to all the sites and the room was nice but the ďpillowsĒ were the worst I have ever come across. They were full of plastic (see pic). We ended up buying our own pillows from a shop in the shotengai (thankfully we had the car so it wasnít a big deal to carry them with us). They ended up coming in handy as packing material.


Our first food stop was Hirome market. Itís essentially a food hall with various restaurant stalls as well as butchers, fish shops & a sake shop. There are large tables of communal seating spread throughout. The first day we stopped for lunch but we were there every day we were in Kochi for at least a snack. It is truly great and a must visit. Youíll likely end up sharing a table with other people- donít be surprised if they start up a conversation (which happened to us). People are very friendly in Japan especially in places where they donít get a lot of western tourists. If you are there be sure to try the gyoza from Yasubee. The most well known shop at the market is probably Myojinmaru which sells the katsuo no tataki (they also have a couple of other locations). You can watch it being made as you wait in line (huge flames). We had this as well but it was the worst katsuo of the trip. There are some good shotengai (shopping streets) around the market area as well. We love checking out shotengai.


outside of Hirome Market

inside Hirome Market

inside Hirome Market

shotengai newar Hirome Market

shotengai near Hirome Market

One thing youíll definitely want to visit in Kochi is the castle. Itís one of the 12 original castles left in Japan and itís just a short walk from Hirome market. Once on the grounds keep your eye open for the ice crin vendor. Ice crin is another local specialty of Kochi. Itís like a cross between ice milk and kakigori. Itís more icy and has less milk fat than ice cream. Itís very refreshing. The stall there had various flavors like vanilla, matcha, and chocolate.

approaching the grounds of Kochi castle

Kochi castle

Ice crin stand at Kochi castle


The other big must visit in Kochi is the Sunday market. The market is great. It runs almost a mile down the middle of one of the main streets every Sunday. Tons of beautiful produce (including those fruit tomatoes- we bought some & ate them as snacks) as well as fish, pickles, some antiques and even a few hipster type stalls selling crafts. There are yakitori stands as well as our favorite the imo-ten stall selling freshly made tempura sweet potatoes. These were great. Yuzu is locally grown & will show up everywhere in Kochi and you can get freshly squeezed Yuzu juice at the market. There is a good souvenir shop called Tosa Select Shop Tencosu that has a lot of locally food souvenirs like yuzu juice, furikake with yuzu and other local specialties.


Sunday market

Sunday market

Imo-ten tent at the Sunday market

yakitori at the Sunday market


With the car we were able to check out Mt. Godaisan Observatory and Chikurin-ji Temple (temple #31 on the 88 temples route) as well as Katsurahama Beach. Great views from Mt Godaisan. Sadly the path to the small shrine on the top of the rock at Katsurahama Beach was closed.

View from Mt. Godaisan Observatory

Katsurahama Beach

Katsurahama Beach

We also did one day trip from Kochi visiting Aki, Kiragawa, the Muroto Cape and temples 24 (Hotsumisaki-ji) and 25 (Shinsho-ji). We also stopped in Minami on the way back to Kochi to buy sake at a local sake brewery.

Aki

Kiragawa

Kiragawa

the approach to Shinsho-ji

Hotsumisaki-ji


Muroto Cape

Muroto Cape

Muroto Cape

View from observation area at Muroto Cape

Muroto Cape


the sake brewery in Minami
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Old Oct 25th, 2021, 01:08 PM
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Kochi Food

We had three dinners in Kochi. All at izakayas and all three great though we liked the last two the most. At all the service was friendly and all were very local (we were the only non-Japanese there).

The first night we ate a Fujinoya (藤のや). The menu here is in English, Japanese & has pictures so no worries in trying to order. Like the other restaurants we went to in Kochi they specialize in the local specialties. We had katsuo no tataki (we were at the counter so this was made right in front of us), utsubo karaage (deep fried moray eel), fruit tomatoes, deep fried laver as well as other dishes like grilled squid legs and salmon chazuke (tea poured over rice with salmon). Every spot we went to had local sake as well so assume weíre drinking our fill of that!

otoshi (the appetizer the izakaya's cover charge gets you)

sake


making the katsuo no tataki

deep fried laver


The next night we ate at Kamontei (かもん亭). When my credit card reserved this for us the restaurant said they would put together a menu for us since they didnít have an English menu & spoke limited English (essentially omakase). This works great for us as weíll eat anything we are given and weíve done this in the past. Kamontei was great. We sat at the counter which here meant you sat on the ground with your feet in a well while the area behind the counter was sunken. The menu still had the specialties (the katsuo no tataki here was probably our favorite of the trip) but the dishes seemed a little more creative. We had a crab soup, fantastic grilled beef (Tosa beef is a specialty of Kochi as well), pressed sushi with shiso leaves, a tempura platter that included laver, sweet potato & moray eel and a beef, tofu & konjac stew. Two of the dishes we added at the end when they asked if we were full. A fantastic dinner.

Kamontei

sushi with shiso leaves

tempura platter that included laver, sweet potato & moray eel

katsuo no tataki

Tosa beef

katsuo belly


The last night was at Donko (どんこ). I made sure to have good pics for this one as itís down a small alley and looks like itís in an old house so a bit hard to fine. I also had the credit card reserve their mackerel pressed sushi as itís their specialty and always sells out. I donít actually care for mackerel so this was all my husbands. Donko has the feel of someoneís old house though itís obviously a restaurant. Lots of wood and some random stuff sitting around (including an old rotary dial phone that was still being used). There was no English menu but the owner (I assume he was at least) spoke a bit of English and we established we would eat anything he provided so he chose the menu. We had the usual specialties of katsuo no tatki, utsubo karaage, laver tempura that also included little whole fish, bamboo shoots, grilled belly of the katsuo (bonito) and the fruit tomatoes wrapped in bacon and grilled. Another great meal.

Donko

fruit tomatoes wrapped in bacon or thin pork belly

their house special mackerel sushi

bamboo shoots

utsubo karaage (deep fried moray eel)

katsuo no tatki

grilled belly of the katsuo

laver & little fish tempura


Other than Hirome market we only had lunch once in Kochi and that was ramen at Kuraki. I canít remember if there was an English menu but there were definitely pictures so ordering was easy. Very good shoyu ramen.
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Old Oct 27th, 2021, 08:15 AM
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How fun to see a Japan report! I spent some time in Shikoku back in 2013 and then briefly in 2019....hopefully we will be able to travel to Japan again....
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Old Oct 27th, 2021, 08:16 AM
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How fun to see a Japan report! I spent some time in Shikoku back in 2013 and then briefly in 2019....hopefully we will be able to travel to Japan again....

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Old Oct 27th, 2021, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for reading! Yes, fingers crossed they'll start letting tourists in! We have flights booked for March (refundable of course) but we're really hoping we'll be able to go!
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Old Oct 27th, 2021, 10:14 AM
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From Kochi we headed to Uwajima. The drive was fine and made better by a stop at the Japanese rest stops called michi-no-eki. Michi-no-eki are rest stops with bathrooms and usually a small restaurant but what makes them special is they also sell local produce as well as local souvenirs & food stuffs. Need some local sake? They’ll have it at the Michi-eki. Forgot to get a bag of yuzu? Also found here as well as local prepared foods. We stopped at pretty much everyone we came across to check them out. I forgot to mention we were there during cherry blossom season so this one had great views of blooming trees. We also stopped at another michi-no-eki later in the trip that had a bunch of the dolls from Nagoro the doll village (we were in the same prefecture).

michi-no-eki

view from the michi-no-eki

fun looking slide at the michi-no-eki

view from the michi-no-eki

some of the dolls from Nagoro at the view from the michi-no-eki

some of the dolls from Nagoro at the view from the michi-no-eki

some of the dolls from Nagoro at the view from the michi-no-eki

Uwajima is smaller than Kochi (about 86,000 versus 330,000 in Kochi- note the largest city we’d visit is Matsuyama which is about 515,000). Not a lot of choice for lodging but the Uwajima Oriental Hotel where we stayed was perfectly fine. There was a Lawson’s next door, it had parking and was super close to everything.
After checking in at our hotel we headed to lunch at Kadoya. As food specialties go Uwajima has some good ones like taimeshi which is sea bream served raw with raw egg and sauce over hot rice, jakoten which is a type of fish cake and Tachiuo maki which is fish wrapped around bamboo sticks, sauced & grilled. Kadoya specializes in taimeshi and has a couple of different locations. We went to the main store that opened in 1955. They had a English menu with pictures that showed the different sets you could get. I got the taimeshi set while my husband got more of a sampler that had taimeshi, jakoten & another local dish whose name escapes me!




Next up was the castle. Uwajima also has an original castle though it is much smaller that Kochi’s. The view from the top is still great though as it’s on a hill. And the cherry trees were in bloom so it was very picturesque. We really liked the screen they had on display inside as well. We walked to the castle through an extremely unbusy shotengai.

very quiet shotengai


heading to the castle

heading to the castle

heading to the castle





View from the castle

view from the castle

screen inside the castle


From the castle we headed to Tenshaen Garden. It’s not a large garden but it’s quite nice and there were some cherry trees in bloom.

Tenshaen Garden

Tenshaen Garden

Tenshaen Garden

Tenshaen Garden

Tenshaen Garden

Some might have heard of Uwajima (or at least seen pictures) because of the Taga Shrine located there. It’s a fertility shrine and as such has a lot of phallic images including one very large carved wooden member. There is also a sex/pornography museum at the shrine but we didn’t bother with that.



The Warei shrine was close to the hotel so we checked that out as well before heading back to the hotel to do some laundry and get ready for dinner.






Dinner that night was at Sushi Chichibu. Now my husband & I are not huge sushi fans. We like it well enough but aren’t the types to spend hundreds of dollars per person on fancy starred spots. That would be wasted on us. I don’t think we’d be able to tell the difference between a good spot & a great spot and frankly fancy places just aren’t our thing. Sushi Chichibu was not fancy. It’s a mom & pop place that has been in business for 43 years run by an old couple. We were the only people in the place the whole night. They were both lovely. The husband was the sushi chef and the wife used a pamphlet she had to explain the different types of fish (it had pictures and the names in Japanese & English). So the husband would announce the name of the fish in Japanese and if we didn’t nod in understanding the wife would bust out the pamphlet & show us. Very little English but they tried their best to speak with us and it was just great. We did omakase and I was stuffed at the end. My husband says it was the best sushi we’ve ever had in Japan (granted there have only been like 4 other sushi dinners but still). At the end of the meal the wife gave us real matcha (we watched her whisk it) and a wagashi sweet to go with it. With 4 rounds of sake the bill was about 22300 yen so around $215. Unfortunately the only pics I have are of the sashimi we started with. But a lovely spot.



The next morning we headed to Nanrakuen Garden about 25 minutes outside of Uwajima. This was great. We only saw two other people there until we were leaving so practically had the whole place to ourselves. It is a lovely garden. There were some cherry blossoms in full bloom inside and then outside the entrance along the canal there were a bunch more. As we were leaving people were setting up their picnics. We were headed back in the direction of Uwajima to we stopped at Kadoya for lunch again.














After lunch we drove to the Seiyo area to Unomachi. Unomachi has a street of preserved buildings including an old school built in a Western Style- the Kaimei school). We also checked out a small local history museum (my notes say this was a combo ticket). We stopped at Ryuko-ji temple 41 on the way back to Uwajima. It has a nice view. Then back to Uwajima where we checked out an area along a canal that had some small temples & shrines and lots of cherry trees.


Unomachi

Kaimei school in Unomachi

Inside the Kaimei school in Unomachi

Unomachi

Unomachi

view from Ryuko-ji

temple/shrine area in Uwajima

temple/shrine area in Uwajima

temple/shrine area in Uwajima

Our second night in Uwajima dinner was at Hozumitei. This izakaya is in a great old building and serves local Uwajima specialties. They have an English menu which was a nice surprise. We had the Tachiuo maki as well as stewed fish (my husband loved this so we had two), deep fried baby shrimp, bamboo shoots, grilled yellow tail collar, maru zushi (fish over essentially tofu instead of rice), and a few other dishes. We sat next to a lovely couple who were visiting from Tokyo. She had excellent English so we spent much of the night chatting with her while she played interpreter to her boyfriend who had limited English.

fish collar

maru zushi (fish over essentially tofu instead of rice),

shrimp

Tachiuo maki which is fish wrapped around bamboo sticks, sauced & grilled.

bamboo shoots

some sort of stewed fish

The next morning we headed to Matsuyama with a stop in Ozu on the way.
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Old Oct 27th, 2021, 04:32 PM
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Enjoyed traveling along and eating-along.
Two week ago, I watched a YouTube video of preparing Katsuo no Tataki (鰹のタタキ). After reading your report, I Googled and watched another one (starting from cleaning and slicing the fish.)
Thanks.
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Old Oct 28th, 2021, 04:35 PM
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Thanks for reading (and eating) along!
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Old Oct 29th, 2021, 04:29 PM
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Oh thanks for posting ! We visited Japan in May 2019 for the first time and were surprised how much we enjoyed it.
Hoping the country will soon open to us so we can visit again.
And, now I’m hungry 😋
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Old Oct 30th, 2021, 02:46 PM
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Thank you so much for posting such a great and detailed report, Sartoric.

I've not made it to Japan yet but you really whetted my appetite - quite literally.
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Old Oct 30th, 2021, 04:35 PM
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Hi Annhig, I actually posted this report so thanks! I highly recommend Japan, I hope you make it there someday!

And thanks Sartoric for reading! I didn't expect to fall in love with Japan on my first visit but I did!

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Old Oct 30th, 2021, 04:55 PM
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Ozu (stop on the way to Matsuyama)

The next morning we headed to Matsuyama with a stop in Ozu. Lots to see here like the castle (reconstructed), Garyu Sanso Villa and the Omoide Soko Museum jammed packed with Showa era furniture, toys & nostalgia. In 2020 they opened up the castle for overnight visits for 1,000,000 yen (about $8770). I think Iíll stick to the daytime visits!

We headed to the castle first. Itís a reconstruction but it was done in the traditional style so the inside is full of wood and looks really nice. The cherry blossoms on the grounds were in full bloom. Really beautiful!











From there we walked through the street with preserved buildings and headed to the Garyu Sanso Villa.





From the Visit Ehime website ďLocated on a scenic bend of the Hijikawa River, Garyu Sanso features the architectural style of the Sukiya-zukuri (a type of traditional tea house) and is known as the ďKatsura Rikyu of OzuĒ. The building abounds in sumptuous designs throughout. The great architect Kisho Kurokawa summed it up when he said, ďGaryu Sanso is every bit as good as Katsura Rikyu. I would be willing to fall into debt to take ownership of it!Ē The building is an architectural masterpiece combining Japanese elegance and the beauty of ancient times.Ē It was very beautiful with lots of nice details.







We had lunch in Ozu at Aburaya. Really beautiful spot. They have table seats that overlook the garden & the counter is a huge piece of wood left in most of its original shape. I wish I had more pictures of the inside. At night this is a robata (where they cook everything over the coals right in front of you) and the counter surrounds the grill area but during the day itís upscale-ish set meals. The chef/owner moved from Tokyo where he has a couple of restaurant to open this place in Ozu. We both had the tonkuri mabushi- pork & chestnuts over rice served with a teapot of chicken soup you can add to the bowl as you go. Excellent.



After lunch we checked out Ozu Akarenga-kan. This is a former bank from 1901 and the ground level was turned into a gift shop selling local produts. We bought a nice screen print of the bank, a couple of handmade sake cups and some lotion infused with pearl (pearl farming/harvesting is a specialty of the general Uwajima/Ehima area). A very nice shop.
Then it was on to Omoide Soko, a museum of sorts of toys, products, packaging and even a car from the Show era (1926-1989). Outside is Pokopen Yokocho Alley which wasnít open on the day we were there. There are stalls that sell food, toys and other items also recalling the Showa era. While the stalls werenít open all of the old signs posted on the walls were worth checking out.

Ozu Akarenga-kan is the red building on the right

Inside Omoide Soko

Inside Omoide Soko

Inside Omoide Soko

Inside Omoide Soko

Signs of Pokopen Yokocho Alley

Signs of Pokopen Yokocho Alley

Signs of Pokopen Yokocho Alley

Signs of Pokopen Yokocho Alley

Closed stall of Pokopen Yokocho Alley

That was it for Ozu. We headed across the river to get views of the castle with the cherry blossoms and then to Tomisuyama Park which had great views over Ozu. We joked it had the most beautiful parking lot weíd ever seen (because of the cherry trees)

view from across the river


Observation area at Tomisuyama Park

Observation area at Tomisuyama Park

View from Tomisuyama Park

View from Tomisuyama Park

View from Tomisuyama Park

Parking lot of Tomisuyama Park


And then it was on to Matsuyama!


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Old Oct 30th, 2021, 06:59 PM
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I have long wanted to go to Shikoku, so this is a real treat for me to see the pictures and read about the food and your adventures. It's all stunning and overwhelming. I too am especially interested in the food when I travel, and I have found Tabelog to be an amazing resource. Like Yelp on steroids. Of course you know already,=, but for others you can find photos of menu items (handy for pointing to in case of a language barrier), and exterior of the place (very important or you may never find it!), Addresses in Japan can be a challenge. There is an English version of Tabelog, though sometimes I prefer the Japanese version to pick up some language skills and I think the searches are better. You can search by city, neighborhood, food specialties, etc.

In your OP, are you referring to LTH in Chicago?
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Old Oct 31st, 2021, 05:57 AM
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Yes, Shelemm, it is LTH! Are you a user?
And I do hope you get to Shikoku. It's really great! So few tourists, great food and sake and just really friendly people.
And I prefer the Japanese Tabelog as well. I mentioned it above but had honestly forgotten about the English version so thanks for adding that!
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Old Oct 31st, 2021, 09:02 AM
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<< Hi Annhig, I actually posted this report so thanks! I highly recommend Japan, I hope you make it there someday.>>

My deepest apologies, valgalchi.

I am still enjoying your TR very much - love the photos of the blossom and the food!
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Old Nov 1st, 2021, 11:06 AM
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I have never been to Chicago (!), but I know people who are very much involved with LTH. I think started by ex-Chowhounds, a place where I still post though I am becoming a rarity in that regard. If you are ever in Washington, DC....

When I have researched food in Japan, I look up the terms in Wikipedia's List of Japanese Dishes (they give you the term in Japanese characters), and then I cut and paste in the Japanese version of Tabelog. My favorite 'discovery' is himono, dried fish. Although it is dried, it can be surprisingly juicy and succulent with skin as crisp as an autumn day.. Often gets sliced and grilled, but can be served whole.
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Old Nov 1st, 2021, 11:56 AM
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Annhig- no worries at all! Just glad you're reading!

Shelemm- Someday you'll have to visit (just make sure it's in summer)! We sure love our food here. And that is also my understanding of how LTH started. I've posted once or twice on the Japan Chowhound boards (looking for recommendations) but they seem more focused on fancy sushi places than the places I like (izakaya and more mom & pop places). And also a fan of himono! About the only things I've come across in Japan I don't care for are snails (we got them multiple times as the otoshi and they seemed completely unseasoned so just tasted muddy) and shirashu, the little tiny baby fish (look like baby eels or worms) and that's really mostly due to looks I'm ashamed to admit.
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Old Nov 1st, 2021, 03:25 PM
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We’d been to Matsuyama once before so we largely just use it as a base for day trips. We checked into our hotel (Daiwa Roynet Hotel- a business hotel), went & got some cash and then coffee at Doutor (a Japanese coffee chain) and then got ready for dinner.



I had picked up a cold the day before and the first night in Matsuyama I felt the worst of it. Dinner was at Izakaya Amimoto. I wasn’t feeling great so I didn’t eat a lot and we definitely left earlier than we would have otherwise. This was the most “family friendly” spot we ate dinner at. There was a family with little kids nearby. I’m sure the fact that there are huge aquariums along the walls full of fish adds to that. The place is very casual with a sort of beach shack vibe. Our waitress was from China and spoke perfect English so she took us through the menu. We had their specialties, the mackerel sashimi along with a few other types of fish and their mackerel tataki (seared over straw like the katsuo version in Kochi), as well as hamo tempura (conger eel), a grilled fish, deep fried oysters, pickles and smoked daikon. The food was good but I just wanted to go to bed so not the best night.

The outside of the restaurant





The next morning we headed to Uchiko which was a wealthy wax town back before electricity (and paraffin before that) came long. Cherry blossoms here were in full bloom as well. We parked right by Koshoji Temple with it’s reclining Buddha.







We walked down the long street of historic buildings stopping along the way. The street is lined with preserved buildings from when this was a wealthy town. They’ve been fixed up and are really lovely.















The first stop was the Kamihaga residence, the former home of one of the richest and most influential families in Uchiko back in the day. This was really great. One of the nicest preserved houses we’ve seen. Really large and had a lot of interesting details (like a toilet).















the toilet



I checked out the Museum of Commercial and Domestic Life. There are life sized mannequins and they “talk” with pre-recorded messages. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this but it was still a nice building.





We checked out the Hachiman Shrine and an old movie theater (off the main drag).




Old movie theater

And ended with a visit to a kabuki theater from 1916 (Uchiko-za) that has been preserved.




We headed back to Matsuyama to check out the castle with the cherry blossoms. We’d been here before but in September. The trees here weren’t in full bloom yet but were still quite nice. My husband took the chair lift up while I (afraid of heights) took the enclosed ropeway. We met a (slightly tipsy) group enjoying the blossoms who called us over to ask where we were from. We also checked out a shotengai which had a very interesting coffee shop. Then back to the hotel.





the group on the blanket are our tipsy friends



The "vending machine" on the left is actually a door to the coffee shop

We love a tanuki statue


Thankfully I was feeling better this night for dinner at Jiyurian. Great spot. Very casual and busy and seemed family run . Menu is written on the board. We were able to read a bit of it. I had also found a partial menu online & translated that in advance. We could see there was sashimi and the prices were cheap so my husband ordered 5 different kinds. I’d like to mention he did not consult me on how many he was going to order (just “let’s get some sashimi”). But the prices here were really cheap so we figured the 5 together would be like the mixed sashimi we got at other places (essentially a little bit of all 5). Oh no it was not. These were the largest pieces of sashimi I have ever seen and in huge quantities. We could not finish all of this. We wanted to try at least one other thing so we ended up very casually stuffing my purse with the remaining sashimi. It ruined the purse (man did it stink) but it was worth it so we could get something else and also not leave behind food (which is insulting to chefs in Japan). The pic below is after we’d been eating the sashimi for a while (so most of that ended up in my purse). We then got an order of deep fried oysters and this was a huge portion as well (and so cheap, the prices here were really great). With a couple of grilled rice balls that was all we could eat. I’d love to go back & try some other dishes (I’ll skip the sashimi this time).

menu, we (well my husband) was able to read some of this




so much sashimi

The next morning we swung by Dogo Onsen (famous for being depicted in the movie Spirited Away) for pictures. It was being worked on with scaffolding around the back & sides but we were able to get a picture of the front.


Then it was on to Tokushima with some stops on the way.
valgalchi is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2021, 04:55 AM
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Gosh - when you said "a lot of sashimi" I wondered what you meant but now I see! They are whole fish!

Lovely photos.
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