The last two weeks of October is wagashi week! I will be holding 2 classes a week (total of 4 classes), so if you haven't signed up for a class to do autumn wagashi check out the dates and send me a booking request.
Dates & time : Oct. 23rd at 10 am, Oct 27th at 1:30 pm, Oct, 30th at 10:30 am, Oct. 31st at 1:30 pm. Please see the class calendar for the latest schedule.
I made some Halloween nerikiri sweets to join the festivity!
We had a great day today solving puzzles by joining the Tokyo Metro Underground Mysteries 2017. This has just started on Oct. 1st and will go on till Jan 2018. You just need to get the Mystery Solving Kit from the train station (at 2160 yen. This includes all the materials needed to solve the mystery as well as the 24 hour pass on the Metro for one person. We got ours at Shibuya Station, but the English version seems to be available only at Ueno and Shinjuku Station. (Please check the website). You can get extra one day passes on the vending machine. (300 yen for children and 600 yen for adults)
We couldn't solve all the puzzles today, so we will go back tomorrow. It's a good way to spend the day for families and adults. The puzzle is a mind twister and it's not easy to solve but you can also get hints on the website.
For more details please visit the Official Website
Ginger is a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking and its been used in my class numerous of times. I always tell my students the best way to preserve ginger as it usually dries out pretty fast in the refrigerator.
The trick is to drop it in a jar, cover it with tap water, put the lid on and keep it in the fridge. This way you can keep it fresh for up to 1 month. You will know when it's bad as it will become too soft to use. In time of use, just take it out of the water and use as much as you need and return the rest in the jar. You will need to change the water every time you use it as it gets mucky.
Gari is the thinly sliced ginger marinated in sweet vinegar accompanying sushi. We eat it to refresh our palate after eating fish, Ginger also has a minor anti-microbial properties which is useful when eating raw seafood.
I've started adding the gari making in my sushi classes this week as it is now the fresh ginger season. (although you can get it almost year round now). The pink color is natural which comes from the pink tip. (some store bought gari may use artificial food coloring). It is interesting to see the ginger turn pink after marinating it for a while.
Today is Juyoga (15th night) or Tsukimi (Moon Viewing) to honor the autumn moon. The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese calendar.
On this day, we decorate susuki (Japanese Pampas Grass) and eat Tsukimi Dango (Moon viewing dumplings) to celebrate this festival.
As our country has historically been a agricultural society, this festival was originally celebrated to thank the god by presenting the first harvest of the season while admiring the full moon.
You can a easy recipe of my moon viewing dumplings here .
For more info on the moon viewing day please visit the Wikipedia
It's October already, and the city now is filled with Halloween Decoration. The Halloween has become huge in the recent years and you will see loads of people dressed in costumes in Shibuya on Halloween night I think this has to do with the popularity of SNS here in Japan, where people can easily post what's happening real time.
For me, it's time to make pumpkin pie. If you hadn't checked out my Tofu Pumpkin Pie recipe, please go to my recipe page, and here you will see a very easy to make healthier option of the traditional American pumpkin pie.
During our stay we had great food thanks to my sister's recommendation which was
almost identical to the recommendation by my hairdresser who is from Hakodate. So if you cover what we have eaten, you have pretty much covered the best places to eat in Hakodate!
1. Uni Murakami (Sea Urchin Restaurant)
If you love sea urchins, this is definitely the place to go. They have fresh salt water sea urchins that you usually cannot get elsewhere. (Most sea urchins in the market are treated with alum to keep its shape). They have other menus too if you are not fond of sea urchins. We tasted two kinds of sea urchins as you see in this photo.
For more details : Hokkaido Travel Net
2. Asari Honten (Sukiyaki Restaurant)
This most famous sukiyaki restaurant in Hakodate run by a butcher. That's why you can have the best wagyu at a reasonable price, and has been the local's favorite since 100 years ago. The building is very old and traditional style. It seems like they have no intention to profit from serving alcohol, as we asked for an all you can drink option and they said that we can bring our own drinks!
For More Info: Travel Hakodate
3. Kaiju (Seafood)
This seafood restaurant was just around the corner from our Hotel. You can get very very fresh seafood, right out of the tank. The squid's legs were still moving on the plate!
For more info : Trip Advisor
4. Restaurant Sekkatei Gotoken Honten (Curry & Western Food)
This is a long-established restaurant which opened in 1879. The building itself is a national cultural property. They don't take booking for lunch, so expect a queue. But you won't be bored as they have a small museum by the waiting room which tells about the history of the hotel. It's famous for their curry dishes but they serve other western dishes as well.
For More Info : Travel Hakodate
5. Lucky Pierrot (Hamburgers)
If you ask a local, this would probably be their most favorite restaurant. (The cab driver said so) This hamburger chain only exists in Hakodate, so I new nothing of it until my hairdresser told me about it. Voted the best local hamburger in Japan, despite its unique decor (every shop has its own theme). they serve very tasty burgers! We went to the one by our hotel, The Marina Bay Suehiro Branch which is on the waterfront and has a souvenir shop in the restaurant.
For more info; Travel Japan
6. Breakfast Buffet at the La Vista Bay Hakodate
Ever since we planned our trip to Hakodate, we have been trying to get a booking for this hotel, which was not easy as it is probably the most popular place to stay. It is conveniently located on the Waterfront next to the Kanamori Red Brick warehouse. But what makes it special is their breakfast buffet which has been voted as the nation's best hotel breakfast. Just be sure to go there with plenty of time as it may get crowded during early hours and you might wait half hour to be seated. (We almost missed our morning sightseeing tour)
For More Details: La Vista Bay Hakodate
Our family holiday this year took place in Hakodate, a city located in the south end of Hokkaido Island. This trip was sponsored by my parents who live in Tomakomai city which is located on the south coast about 30 minutes from Sapporo Chitose Airport. My two sisters and their hubbies were invited on this trip so we had a big family reunion.
We took the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo stopping on the way at Hiraizumi, Iwate to visit the world heritage temples and stayed one night at Aomori.
My sister who visited Hakodate last year knew very well on where to dine, together with the information I collected from my hairdresser, who is from Hakodate, we had the best Hakodate dining experience, which I will write about it in my blog later on.
If you are going there by air, a weekend trip is just enough to enjoy Hakodate as the tourist attractions are quite limited in the city. (There are a lot of attractions outside the city as well) I've written a short description and a link to details along with some travel trips.
You can plan your trip by arriving on Saturday morning. Having lunch, then having a stroll at Motomachi looking at the historic architecture, then dinner, afterwards going up to Mt Hakodate for the night view.
Day two can start off to going to Goryokaku Tower (and Trapistine Monestry if you like) in the morning, then lunch and finish off with shopping at the Red Brick Warehouse. You might want to leave on Monday morning if you want to enjoy another night of a good meal.
For more information on Hakodate Sightseeing please visit : Hakodate Official Travel Guide
1. . Motomachi Area
A former residential area for foreign traders. We visited the Public Hall and The Old British Consulate. You can get a pass to visit multiple places at the entrance of each building. We bought a pass for 500 yen to visit the 2 places.
For more info : Japan Guide.com
2. Mt. Hakodate night view
We went to the top of the mountain by ropeway - a big mistake! The waiting line to get on the returning ropeway was so long and stressful, and they packed so many people in the car as if we were cattle. If you do not want to waste an hour standing in line, I strongly recommend you to get a cab as it will cost only 4,000 - 5,000 yen round trip and well worth it if you are travelling in a group of 3 or 4 as the ropeway fare is 1280 yen round trip (as of Aug. 2017) per person. The hotel we stayed at had a car sharing tour to go up the mountain twice a day which we failed to check. By the way, the view was great.
For more info : Mt Hakodate Ropeway
3. Goryokaku Tower
An observatory that overlooks the star shaped visita that shines on the grounds of Goryokaku Fort, a historic spot. You can also catch the views of the mountains and the Tsugaru Strait.
For more info :Goryokaku Official Website
4. Trappistine Convent
Japan's first convent built in the 19th century featuring a mix of Gothic and Romanesque style. It's located out of the city and it was part of a tour we went on along with the Goryokaku Tower & Fortress.
For more info : Travel Hakodate
5. Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse
Brick warehouses from past trading days along the waterfront in the bay area redeveloped into an atmospheric shopping, dining and entertainment complex.
We went on a short 15 minute boat ride out to the bay which was really fun. (1500 yen for adults)
For more info : Kanemorei Red Brick Warehouse official site
Last week we went to a Japanese Restaurant near Meguro Station called Shokuraku Tatata（食楽太太太）which is a branch of one of the most popular Japanese restaurant in Meguro called Wasosaku Ta （和創作太）
Both places have the same system where you only have one course menu at 4500 yen. You can choose the main course, which was Pork Shabu Shabu, Stewed Fish and Grilled Wagu when we went. The course meal finishes off with a onigiri and a bowl of miso soup.You can choose a la carte from 9 pm.
Booking in advance is recommended as Tatata is just as popular as Ta but has more table seats (Ta has only tables seating two and counter seats which makes it even harder to get a booking on top of its popularity)
So if you want to enjoy seasonal Japanese dishes but not an izakaya and not as hi-end as some Kaiseki restaurants, Tatata is a really good choice.
Adress: 2-15-2 Kamiosaki | B1F Meguro Business Mansion, Shinagawa
Trip Advisor Reviews
Last weekend we had lunch at the Soholm restaurant in Tennozu. The restaurant serving Scandinavian cuisine is a little out of the way, but has a very relaxing atmosphere with good food. It specializing in gibier (game) with venison and boar this time of the year.
The seats facing the canal is great if its not too hot. (It was very hot the day we went so we sat inside, which was also quite nice.) The portions were sufficient (compared to many other Japanese restaurants) and 1,500 yen for a holiday lunch consisting of a 2 course meal + coffe/tea is a good value. The only disappointment for me was that the glass of wine was only 1/3 full and it cost 800 yen!
The deck by the canal is a great place to have stroll if the weather is nice. Next time we will try the bakery cafe next to the TY Harbor restaurant which also faces the canal.
I'm Miyuki and I teach Japanese Home cooking at my home in Tokyo.