It seems the sun didn’t want to show it’s face. Always on the brink of rain but luckily it held out until evening.
In Nagoya, they have this thing called Morning sets/service or even just morning (モーニングサービス). It’s when you goto specific restaurants and you order a drink and it comes with breakfast for only the price of the drink. In the 1950s, some coffee shops gave hard boiled eggs & peanuts with their coffees. It has evolved since then.
I went to Komeda Coffee コメダ珈琲店. I got the milk tea with red bean (anko) + thick bread with jam & a hard boiled egg all for ¥560 – the price of the drink. Ogura toast is popular (red bean jam) but I have to say red bean in milk tea is nice.
Visited Nagoya Castle & surrounding area ¥500. Unfortunately, Nagoya Castle Main Tower was under renovations and hasn’t been open to the public since 2018. The grounds are large, clean and quiet. Within what use to be the moat, you can spot wild deer.
Made my way over to Noritake Mall to visit Tsutaya Book Store where I was able find my pens and restock the ink. From there, went to Ben Zai Ten 覚王山フルーツ大福 弁才天 for some delicious fruit daifuku. I got one of the sweet strawberries (there were 4 strawberry options including a white strawberry) ¥680. Presentation and even the little string they provide you with to cut it open are great details. The moment I cut it open, the smell was so intense in a good way of strawberries. Thick yet thin enough mochi outside but the fruit intact and amazing.
Walked to Osu – which is the famous shopping street – Nagoya’s Harajuku. I grabbed a Sakura Uiro sandwich with red bean (DIY) ¥270 from Osu Uiro 大須ういろ 本店. Uiro is a Nagoyan traditional sweet produced since the Edo era made from rice flour, sugar & water which is steamed.
Met up with Bev & Eric who were playing Pachinko slots underground somewhere in Osu. I took them for their 2nd lunch and my 1st lunch Misokatsu Yabaton みそかつ 矢場とん 矢場町本店 (crispy deep-fried panko crusted pork chops drenched in a super savory red miso sauce). I got the miso katsu on a bowl ¥1370. The other 2 options for food that you should try while in Nagoya are Tenmusu (Onigiri style w/shrimp tempura – Senju – Nagoya-Famous Temmusu) & Atsuta Horaiken (grilled eel on rice)
Nagoya is known for its miso especially red miso and that just elevates the dish to another level.
Went to Village Vanguard Nagoya PARCO (better in Shimokitazawa in Tokyo) then walked to Shikemichi & Endoji Shopping Street which have shops and buildings built in the Edo period still standing and in use.
Went to Nagoya station to reserve seats for the next morning and the adventures it holds.
I ate a late dinner at Dondonan Fushimi. I ordered the salt & pepper chicken wings and a small udon with red soup base ¥740.
Nagoya – Okayama – Kurashiki – Uno, Japan
Early morning shinkansen ride (2h18min) to Okayama then to Kurashiki (11mins). We stored our luggage in the lockers at Kurashiki station.
Okayama is known for their fruit scene – muscat grapes, peaches & oranges.
Kurashiki is the birthplace of Japanese denim & washi tape. It also is the Venice of Japan & still has Edo period buildings still intact and running.
A short walk over to Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarters. A cute little canal in the middle with carp and a Swan. You can also go for canal ride if you’d like.
I grabbed a Okayama peach jelly ¥432 & hassaku (orange) daifuku ¥270 at Koeido.
For lunch, we ate at Kamikura 神くら. I got the Anagomeshi (broiled congee eel on rice) ¥2000.
Walked up to Achi Shrine 阿智神社 and down the back to see the oldest Wisteria tree in Japan. Went through Ivy Square & left with White peach & grape Muscat gummies ¥304.
Eric & Bev bought a bunch of Japanese cotton & denim apparel exclusive only to Japan from Graph Zero, Blue Trick & Kurashiki Kojima. We also visited Kurashiki Craft Work Village クラシキクラフトワークビレッジ, tried to find the Gangukan (Jap Folk toys museum) but found a tatami-beri store called Flat where Bev bought a shark waterbottle holder. Checked out Tane X 612 – washi tape galore. Also passed by Momotaro Karakuri Museum.
Before heading back to the train station, Bev grabbed a Hokkaido milk ice cream and I stumbled upon a place called Kudamono Komachi Soft Serve Store 果物小町のソフトクリームパーラー that uses a full fruit’s worth of juice for their ice creams. I asked and got a Peach and Muscat grape mixed ice cream for ¥500. Peach was ok but the Muscat grape oh man it was so good.
Went back to the station and off we went to get to Uno. Okayama to Chayamada Station with a quick transfer to the platform beside to get on the next train with Uno Station as the last on the line (around 50 mins).
I walked the town while Eric & Bev took to the Onsen – Setouchi Onsen Tamanoyu. We met up & had dinner there. I got the Tamanozen (assorted sashimi, tempura, beer simmered peach pork, 3 kinds of side dishes, savoury steamed egg custard, miso soup, Japanese pickles & dessert) ¥2000 & a Setouchi Islander Butterfly Ale ¥900 (was not good).
Booking tickets and ferry for Naoshima Island & Teshima Island
–Tickets for Naoshima & Teshima museums become available online the 9th day of the month; 2 months before the allotted reservation date at 10AM JST – Chichi Art Museum and Ginza Art House Project. Everything else – Lee Fan Museum, Benesse House Museum, Ando Museum, Art House Project can be purchased on-site. Choose the 11:00 AM time frame because it gives you sufficient time to walk from Miyanoura Port to ChiChu or time to get rent electric bikes. There is no need to rush to get to Chichi Art Museum if you rent an electric bike so you can look at the sculptures along the way.
For Teshima, You should book online Teshima art museum. Take the 1110AM ferry and book the 1PM time slot – gives you enough time to make your way over to Teshima Art Museum from Leura Port. 425PM ferry back to Uno should work.
Ferry tickets (Naoshima / Teshima) go on sale 30 minutes before each time slot. There are different areas on the port depending on which ferry you are taking over – Passenger ferry or ones that can take cars over.
Naoshima Island, Uno, Japan
We took the ferry over to Naoshima island ¥570 RT. No need to book a time but get there 20-30min earlier then your desired time. We grabbed the 922AM ferry. 20min ride over.
Our route for the day.
When we arrived, our first stop was Yayoi Kusama’s Red Pumpkin. We rented e-bikes from TVC Naoshima Rental for the day ¥1500. I had made reservations for Chichu Art Museum ¥2100 for 11AM. Turns out with riding the e-bikes, the ride there was even shorter than I thought it would be as we arrived at 1015AM. Waited around until 1050AM before we could scan the eTickets for a physical ticket. It was completely sold out for the day so book in advanced.
If you are coming from the port to Chichu first, you will actually pass the entrance of the museum to get to the car/bike park and ticket office.
The day was a Tadao Ando & Yayoi Kusama appreciation day. Chichu was stunning. A shame we can’t take photos inside the building (the main entrance & the stairwell are ok apparently). It’s a partially underground museum designed to not disturb the coastal landscape. The use of concrete, glass, steel and wood yet many spaces are lit naturally.
Walter De Maria’s Underground Space Chapel was hands down my favourite.
We had lunch at the cafe outdoors on the second level terrace – the rice burger w/teriyaki chicken, Naoshima seaweed & mayo ¥780.
Hopped back on our bikes for a short ride down to the street entrance of Lee Ufan Museum & Benesse House. You will have to park your bike and walk from there.
The one regret from today was paying to go inside Lee Ufan to be honest. The art installations outside are great but the inside was very underwhelming to say the least for ¥1050.
Down the street was Benesse Valley Gallery (combo deal w/Benesse House) ¥1300. Kusama’s Narcissus Garden is permanent indoors & outdoors exhibit.
Benesse House Museum’s building is also absolutely stunning. The main cylindrical room was my second favourite thing of the day.
A bit of downhill bike action to make it to Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin. Back on the bike to Ando Museum ¥520. Here you can see the inner workings of Tadao Ando and the thought behind some of the designs he had created in Naoshima.
We ended up skipping the Art House Project (Artists take empty homes in residential areas and turn them the spaces themselves into works of art). We also skipped Miyanoura Gallery 6 and I forgot about Naoshima Public Bath I Love Yu.
Bev & Eric grabbed ice cream and we hopped on the ferry back. We caught the 4PM ferry and arrived in time to get shaved ice from Tamano Omachidō. I got the Murasaki Purple Sweet potato paste w/milk syrup ¥780.
Final stop for the night – dinner at Osakaya Shokudo. We all got the fried pork with kimchi set ¥950.
Teshima Island, Uno, Japan
Another beautiful day hovering between 15-19°C.
Breakfast courtesy of the grocery store – Onigiris, electrolytes and a milk tea drink ¥325.
Hopped on the 1110AM ferry to Teshima Island ¥780 each way (35mins).
Rented e-bikes from Setouchi Karen for the day ¥1800. From there, it was suppose to take about 25mins to get to our first destination but it felt like it took us 15mins. First stop was the art installation – No One Wins – multi baskets. Built up a bit of sweat then back on the bikes.
Made our way up the road to the main attraction for the day – Teshima Art Museum ¥1570. If you had a normal bike, it would have been a bit more difficult as its an uphill incline. The museum resembles a water droplet at the moment of landing located in the corner of a rice terrace. Designed by Rei Naito & Ryue Nishizawa, It is a concrete shell coving over a 40×60 meter space w/ 2 openings to allow nature and architecture to meet. Water droplets form from the ground and interact with one another to create puddles. Unfortunately no photos allowed inside.
We were able to take photos inside the cafe/shop though. Same domed effect in a smaller form. The cafe menu features snacks made from locally grown rice and drinks blended w/local fruit. I got the kumquat rice muffin ¥390 while Eric got the olive oil rice and Bev the purple sweet potato ice cream.
Continued on bike up the road to a few closed locations unfortunately. At this point, it was around 2-230PM so we had miss the lunch hours. We did see Art Installation – Particles in the Air.
Went to Teshima no Mado Cafe. I got the potato curry bun ¥300 & lotus root focaccia ¥280. Eric & Bev got the mince pork bowl set + variety of baked goods.
Just down the street was Teshima Yokoo House ¥520 – a privately owned home turned art museum. Photos can only be taken in the garden and toilet area.
Dropped off our bike rentals and got on the ferry for 425PM ¥780.
The sun was absolutely amazing – not too hot but felt good. We walked to the mall to look for toothpaste.
Dinner at Mampuku-ken 萬福軒 for a Ramen dinner. I got the Manfuku Chinese Noodles & Kirin beer ¥1330. The broth was delicious.
Uno – Hiroshima, Japan
We took the train from Uno to Hiroshima. For the ride, I got the Momotaro Specialty Ekiben box ¥1000. Ekiben are box meals you can eat on the shinkansen. They are great as they are usually made with local ingredients highlighting each region.
Got to Hiroshima Station and stored our luggage in lockers at the station and off we went. Unfortunately, the rain started up and continued the entire day. It made the day somber which was actually quite fitting with where we were visiting that day.
First stop – Hiroshima Castle ¥370. 5 floors including an observation platform.
Our next stop was the The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome). It is the last standing structure left standing in an area where the first atomic bomb exploded on August 6th, 1945. It has been preserved to be a stark reminder of the past but also as a lesson. It expressed the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.
We walked across the bridge to Peace Memorial Museum & Park as well as the Children’s Peace monument. Here you will find many origami cranes made.
We ate at Hassei where we got to try Hiroshima style of Okonomiyaki. I got the half size Hassei Special ¥1050 and half size was more than enough.
Our final stop for the day before we checked in was Hondori Street. It is a covered shopping area and a much needed break from the rain.