Chocolate mint flavor ice lolly and Kaiseki dinner
After visiting local sightseeing spot called Meoto iwa, we moved to the other side of Kii peninsula to visit Wakayama prefecture by rented car. I tasted this chocolate mint flavor ice cream in the car. Since I love chocolate and mint products, I enjoyed its flavor.Tasted so good! (By the way, we say “Choco-minto” in Japanese. haha! You can see various choco-minto flavor products this year. It’s kinda trend! Choco-minto flavor frappucino, gums, candies etc. If you are now in Japan and a big choco-minto lover like me, please try them ALL! )
We stopped and rest a little bit at some service areas but it took about 7 hours. Oh my! 😮🚗 My husband drove all the way. So just after having a Kaiseki style dinner, he went asleep right away! 😴 It’s one of the interesting memory.
Would you like to know what we had for dinner? OK, I will show you food photos!
Local sightseeing spot in Mie : Meoto Iwa
After the breakfast at Toba Hotel International, we visited the local sightseeing spot called Meoto iwa. “Meoto” means husband and wife in Japanese and “Iwa” means a rock. There are a couple of small rocky stacks in the sea off Futami, Mie prefecture. They are tied by a heavy rope of rice straw called Shimanawa and are considered sacred by worshippers at the neighboring Futami Okitama Shrine.
Actually, it was my second time to visit there. Last time was when I was a student (also single) so I just prayed and hoped for finding my future husband. This time, I visited with my hubby and my son! 👦🏻 So I felt something special 😘
My husband and I bought souvenir for ourselves
Japanese breakfast at Toba Hotel International
I usually eat a lot of breakfast I also make it a rule to have small portion dishes a lot. So, a buffet style breakfast is always perfect and the BEST for me! At this hotel, my family and I enjoyed small portion fusion dishes for breakfast. We loved their pancake, french toast (By the way, chef cooks in front of you!) and bisque of shrimp . Oops! They are not Japanese food! Maybe we wanted something different!
Oh, let me introduce about the hotel we stayed. We stayed at the Toba Kokusai Hotel (Toba hotel international). I found some old photos that Japanese emperors and their family stayed this hotel. The size of the room, the view from there, special pearl hot spring, hospitality of the staffs and the most important part “food”! Everything was great and we loved it! My son still keeps saying the number of the room we stayed. It seems he liked it, too! We would definitely go back and stay at this hotel again. Highly recommend!!!
Toba Bay area is famous for pearls
Could you find pearls for me?
Taste Japanese style course menu for dinner
The first night, my family stayed at the historical hotel and had the Japanese course menu for dinner 🍴
Since we stayed at this hotel with my small son so they took us to the private room which was so kind and generous. My family enjoyed the atmosphere, Japanese ceramics and, of course, their artistic and creative dishes! I especially enjoyed the decorative food techniques, jelly type dashi, Octopus and winter melon dish and etc. Oh, the texture of warabi mochi was amazing!!!
Local bites : Tofu flavor soft-serve ice cream
I wrote about Ramen with Matsusaka beef broth at Okage yokocho in my previous blog.
This time, I want to introduce my secret local bites. It’s a Tofu flavor soft-serve ice cream🍦. This soft-serve is made of 50% Tofu, pasteurized milk and well selected Japanese eggs as well as pure and clear water from the Isuzugawa river. So Natural and So Local! The flavor was so smooth and I could enjoy the natural Tofu taste. YUM!!!!! I ordered this ice cream for my son so I chose “kids size” one. So it’s gone really quickly. I realized that I should have ordered one more “regular size”!!!
It was actually the best sweets for me. I miss this ice cream.
…or I may be able to recreate at home. What do you think?
Taste Ramen with Matsusaka beef broth at Okage Yokocho
In my previous blog, I introduced the local sweets called Akafuku. The name of this sweets is also the name of this shop. And this shop is located in a Okage Yokocho. According to their website, “The idea of Okage Yokocho emerged through a deep sense of gratitude for the beautiful surroundings, bountiful resources and appreciation for all living things in the small, tucked away town of Oharai, in front of Ise Jingu in Ise City”.
There are so many unique local shops along the side of Okage Yokocho. We didn’t have time (and energy with a small child) but you can spend half day or one day there. Since I hold Ramen & Gyoza class in my cooking class, I’m always interested in tasting other ramens when I go outside. So as this time, I tried cold ramen and Japanese beef ramen 🍜. For Beef ramen, they use Japanese premium beef called “Matsusaka-gyu” for soup broth. 🐮 I am sure some of you, Japanese food lovers, know but a Matsusaka beef is locally grown beef in this area and also one of the premium Japanese beef. How rich and gorgeous this ramen is!!! They also use chicken for the broth and it adds the rich flavor. My husband and I both loved this beef ramen at Yokocho soba.
Taste Akafuku mochi at Ise jingu
Taking the Shinkansen express train from Tokyo station, my family and I visited Nagoya station first to transfer. Then, we took the local express train called Ise-shima liner to visit the Ise jingu. I was so surprised to know that its area is roughly the same size as Paris. Since our 3 year-old son likes to visit local shrine so my husband and I wanted to take him to there. Technically, he was too young to walk long distance from entrance to the main area but we could feel the sacred atmosphere and enjoyed the beautiful Isuzugawa river.
When visiting Ise jingu, you should not miss local sweets called Akafuku. Akafuku is a Mochi coated with red bean paste. It’s not too sweet (like chocolate) so I recommend for you who like less sweet dessert. My family and I visited the headquarters of Akafuku honten so we could feel the concept of this brand. 😌🍵
Food Research Trip to Mie and Wakayama prefecture
I recently went to Wakayama and Mie prefectures for “food research”! 😋 For coming days, I will introduce local Japanese foods for you! Hope you enjoy!!!
Tokyo Guide : Sugamo | Melon pan, Daigaku imo and more!
In this video, I will introduce one of my favorite neighborhood “Sugamo”.
This area is still a hidden spot in Tokyo. You will meet few travelers there.
I recommend Sugamo area because there are so many delicious street foods and restaurants.
When you come to Tokyo or if you are now in Tokyo, please visit this area!
Oh, I forgot to mention in the video but there is 1-star Michellen star ramen restaurant near JR Sugamo station. The name of the shop is “Tsuta”. You should not miss!!!
YUCa’s Japanese Cooking Original Chopsticks
YUCa’s Japanese Cooking original chopsticks!
I wonder if you (who have joined my class already) noticed but I created special chopsticks early this year and have been using in the class. Since then, many of my guests asked me if I sell this in the class. So, I decided to start selling them in my class and YJC’s online store.
What I like about this chopsticks is you can put them in a dish washer. I’ve been using almost everyday for past 6 months but it still keeps really new. How about using this chopsticks at your home or giving them to your friends who like Japanese food and culture? For order, please go to the store page. Thank you & Enjoy Japanese food!