Beautiful Niigata

keiryu1 The water was cold, clear and quite delicious.

keiryu 2 Next time I will take my fishing tackle; however, this being my first time I was too busy making sure I didn’t die – such as by getting separated from the group, losing my footing, or picking the wrong sort of plant – to think too much about fishing.  But there was a fall just upstream of here which I was about 95% sure was holding fish.

Descent Coming down from the mountains through a sugi (C. japonica, ‘Japanese cedar’) forest.

katakuri1  These lovely little flowers poke through the mulch on the floor; they are delicious eating and I picked a bunch.  In the old days the roots would be dried and ground, and used in cooking as the powder known as katakuriko; these days the stuff you buy in shops is made from maize or potato but even today cornstarch is labelled katakuriko in the shops.

komako After a long day in the mountains, a soak in an onsen hot spring is the perfect way to settle sore feet and aching muscles, followed by a nap on the tatami floor.  The onsen we visited was called Komako no Yu, named after the heroine of the novel Yukiguni.

hegisoba My travelling companions were immensely keen on indulging this local soba, mostly because it is served in these wooden boxes.  In fact, regardless of its serving vessel the soba itself was quite excellent and aided most capably by beer and sansai tenpura.

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3 responses to “Beautiful Niigata

  1. It always fascinates me how my Japanese friends and the wife absolutely must try the regional noodles when we travel as they are especially unique, delicious and only to be had in this special area. But my barbarian tongue doesn’t have enough sensitivity to distinguish the difference between the noodle of any area or even the neighbourhood convenie! 😉

  2. Hey Adam,
    I have a t-shirt design that I made. If you’d like one, I’ll post it to you when I get back to Japan. You’ll just need to tell me where to post it and what size.

  3. Hi Chris, thank you very much, I sent you an e-mail.
    As for the local cuisine, you probably know a lot of its enjoyment is psychosomatic (some specialties are downright fraudulent, such as a certain brand of famous handmade cake that is sold as a Tokyo souvenir but is made in a factory in Saitama). Personally I found the soba to be quite good, regardless of its serving method, but if I had to do a blindfold test with some konbini soba, I would not be so sure.

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