Sights in Shizuoka

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 09, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Saturday, May 22, 2010

The second day of our trip was as big as the first. Japanese style.......trying to see as much as we could in the short space of time that Naoto has off this weekend.

Last night as we travelled to what N&N call their Shizuoka "Country house" I knew that we had gained altitude,  as from the coastal city of Atami,  it was just up, up and up all the
way to Tannami.  And this morning I was blown away by the view! The view from their balcony is of Mt Fuji with its snow covered top, only about 30 – 40 km away. At night, the view is of the lowland with all its city lights. Awesome view by day and night.

First destination today - a green tea factory at Nirama. We were dressed in traditional clothing and went to pick the tips of green tea leaves.The new growth makes for a good cup of tea. This is a locals tourist spot so we looked a bit out of place and they were challenged to get the clothing to fit as we were a size oddity - Mum wide &  Rina  tall! They also gave a tour of the factory all in Japanese. Noriko was kind enough to take us for an English guided tour before we left. The quality of tea depends on the part of the green leaf tea tip that they use. The highest quality is the very soft leaf, next is the few leaves off the tip and a lesser quality they use just the stem. We enjoyed the cup of tea which was made with hot water poured over chopped green tea leaves. 

We lunched at a restaurant which was tucked in a side street not far away and  crowded with several bus loads of Japanese tourists. I figured it must be a good locals spot. We watched  the  ” noodle  chef” at work  rolling  out the buckwheat dough to a huge flat sheet about a meter in diameter. After he had it really thin he folded it in half, in half again and then folded over one side of the quadrant. He placed this  on the chopping board and then using a cleaver and a very clever rapid and steady chopping action he sliced the dough into thin noodles, picked them up shaking out the small scraps and laid them down on a tray ready to cook for buckwheat noodle dish. He made it look so easy.

We were ushered to a small booth and were immediately served with hot towels for cleaning our hands followed by a cup of hot green tea.  Buckwheat noodles are their specialty so  we had a hot and cold  dish  both of which were very delicious.  However  Naoto had  to order an alternate dish as he has an allergic reaction to buckwheat noodles.

From here it was back on to the  motor way to Shenzui, a very popular Japanese tourist spot. We visited the local buddhist temple and  the very popular hot springs where you can sit with your  feet in the very hot water. There is an old story of healing related to the finding of this spring way back in 807 so this spot  is over 1200 years old. 
 We spent some time walking around the back streets of this town - fascinating areas , very narrow lane ways and roads , homes with small gardens and flowerbeds. In the town garden someone was busy at work hoeing  their plot of vegetables oblivious to all the tourist activity only a block or two away.  All around the town there are springs / streams flowing out of the hillside or from under buildings being pped into paved gutters being directed down to the river. Apparently  Japan has no problem with water shortage such as we have at home.

Not far from where they live  we called in at  Norikos  favorite ice cream store before closing time and it is possibly the best ice cream we have tried in a long time - extremely creamy  made out of  milk from the local dairy farm in Oratche where they also make beer and have animals for children to come and interact with. This farm isn't far from their house so  this is where she liked to bring her children when they were young,  for a  country farm experience.

Our final stop for the day was  a local site commemorating  an earthquake here in 1930.  Part of the fault line, which was 1km long and 100metres vertical drop  has been left as a reminder  of he event in which 37people lost their lives.

Back at their house Noriko ran a hot Japanese bath.  Hot spring water is piped from under the ground to their bathroom. In Japanese style you  wash first outside the  bath and then soak - I managed  25minutes at 41degrees in the mineral rich water -  it was so relaxing and I felt like I do after a Finnish sauna. From the bathroom there is a view of greenery  and if it wasn't for the roof next door I imagine  I could've seen Mt Fuji.

After a lovely dinner and relaxing time on the balcony it was time to call it a night at about 11.30. Second day and I feel as though we have seen and experienced  so much of the real Japan already.

Noriko and Naoto are wonderful hosts and are immersing us in their culture. They have travelled  abroad and experienced German and Australian culture which has enabled them to see the differences and appreciate the variety of lifestyles. So this week they are focused on sharing their life with us which is a real treat.

R:   And Katrina is still alive :D no need to worry

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Lea on

I'm enjoying being an armchair tourist. Arja you write great commentaries!

Lea tati on

Hey Katrina! You were in disguise I didn't recognize you in your garb..... no doubt it beats working with Leonards Chooks.
Post a line too chookie! Ciao for now.

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