Miso Udon Stew – 山本屋総本家

Yes! I’m back to introduce one of the must-eat when you’re in Nagoya. 😀

Miso Nikomi Udon (味噌煮込みうどん – Miso Udon stew).

There’s quite a number of restaurants serving this stew but I insisted on going to this particular restaurant (and main branch) because of personal reason. 😉 The restaurant name is 山本屋総本家. There’s another restaurant with similar name – 山本屋本店, but I believe they also serve great miso udon stew. 😀

So many years back, while I was watching w-inds.‘ DVD concert, my favourite member went to this particular restaurant to have this miso udon stew. It looked so good that I told myself that I must eat this when I am in Nagoya.

The entrance of the restaurant. It’s a stand-alone building by itself and has about 3 or 4th floors. It was so hot outside that we hesitated about having this udon stew to something ‘cooler’.

We entered the restaurant and got a seat on the 2nd floor. The menu focused mainly on the miso udon stew with some side dishes such as miso oden and miso skewered beef tendon. We ordered the miso udon stew only so that our stomachs will have space for other stuff. 😉

The miso udon stew is served in this claypot and it was pipping hot.

The aroma of the miso was soooooo good after removing the lid. I ordered the most normal item (without the egg). There’s green onions, kamaboko (fish paste) and fried tofu skin.

One thing to note about this miso udon stew is the ‘texture’ of the udon. It’s meant to be a little harder and chewy than the udon we normally eat. However, you may request to the staff to cook the udon a little longer.

I thought I might not finish the stew because it looks so thick and strong in taste but I actually finished it completely. It’s light and refreshing as compared to what I had imagine. So good that I want to eat it again during winter. 😀 (oops, sorry for re-using the photo)

While waiting for our orders to arrive, I spotted w-inds. signature!!!! 😀

By the way, there’s 2 restaurants in Tokyo too. Maybe I shall make a visit again before the year ends!

Official website: http://yamamotoya.co.jp/day/index.html

Main branch:

The sacred Ise Jingu (Inner Shrine)

Whoopies people!! How’s your Friday going? Hope Friday 13 doesn’t affect you in a way or another. 🙂 Although I’m suffering from 4 blisters on my toes.

I ended off previously with my visit to Ise Jingu’s outer shrine and here’s the continuation of Ise Jingu’s inner shrine (内宮). The inner shrine is also known as Kotaijingu (皇大神宮), is to house Amaterasu Omikami (天照大御神). For more history about the inner shrine, go Google. 😀

So Y-chan and I rushed through our lunch and dashed to the entrance of Ise Jingu’s inner shrine. It’s so much crowded as compared to the outer shrine. Look at the crowded entrance (ignore me and my sun umbrella 😛 ).

Do note that for outer shrine, you must walk at the left side of the path. Whereas for inner shrine, you walk the right side of the path.

My paparazzi Y-chan controls my camera most of the time because I was trying to upload photo on instagram. 😀 And the bridge we walked over is the Uji bridge. The Uji bridge (宇治橋) leads visitors into the sacred sanctuary.

My advice here: Do not wear HEELS when visiting shrine. Look at these 2 ladies on the left. They were walking so slowly that stalled the whole path behind. Also, it’s very difficult to walk properly as the path inside are covered with mini rocks. You might just trip and fall and hurt yourself. (Just my advice, but you can try wear your heels though)

I was so amazed by the lush greenery surrounding the inner shrine and I believed it’ll look superb in Fall, with different shades of colors. The sun was so strong that everyone walked under the shaded areas. The Temizusha

Isuzu River (五十鈴川) – This is the 2nd place to purify your hands here after the Temizusha.

I wonder how old are these trees. They were so TALL. 

This is the new house for the kami in inner shine.

Note: You may take photo from this angle, but once you are on the steps, you must not take any photos. It’s considered very rude to take photos of the kami.

LOOK at the queue. We waited for at least 20 minutes to reach the top.

Kaguraden (神楽殿)

The dried up Isuzu River.

The explanation board in Japanese for the inner shrine. 

After that, we headed to Okageyokocho (おかげ横丁). It’s a street filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. The pathways were so burning hot that I felt like I was melting.

As we are left with about 30 minutes, we went to queue for this very famous shaved ice, called Akafuku Koori (赤福氷). This shaved ice is only available in summer so we couldn’t give it a miss despite the long queue. 😀

It cost 500yen for a bowl. After purchasing, we were handed with this number tag and coupons. Once the shaved ice is ready, the staff will hand us the ice in exchange of the tag and coupons.  

The super crowded and warm environment yet everyone was enjoying their bowl of shaved ice. 😀

Then our orders came. ♥♥♥

The fillings inside were anko (red bean paste) and mochi, topped with shaved ice and green tea syrup. It was the perfect stuff to eat under such horrible weather.

We went back to the bus before setting off to another sight-seeing spot. 😀

Will take a break from the bus tour and continue on a food post next! Do continue to follow me!

A Visit to Ise Jingu (Outer shrine)

Hello Everyone! Finally I’m writing about my trip to Ise Jingu (伊勢神宮)! I’ve always been a fan of visiting shrines because the area is so peaceful. To visit Ise Jingu has always been on my list for years and finally this year I get to visit it. ♥♥

Ise Jingu is located in the city of Ise in Mie Prefecture.

File:Map of Japan with highlight on 24 Mie prefecture.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s very very famous in Japan and October this year, there is a ceremony which happens once every 20 years. It’s the moving of the ‘God or kami’ to a new ‘home’ – 神宮式年遷宮. We managed to visit it before the event because it’ll be so crowded after the big move.

I was doing research on ways to travel to Ise city from Nagoya and found 2 options. 

  1. Take express/ local train (approx. 2 hours including walking and waiting for the train per route) and walk under the hot and humid weather to reach the shrine. The travel expense would take 5640yen (taking the cheapest route) for 2 adults round-trip; 
  2. Book a bus tour with HIS. Which guarantee you a seat in the bus, brings you around in comfort. The tour includes a visit to the Ise Jingu, Meoto Iwa (the wedded rocks), Futami Okitama Jinja and lunch. The cost would be 4980yen per pax.

Of course we opted for option 2 because it’s more comfortable and we don’t have to worry about the transportation. However, the cons of choosing option 2 would be the time limit and choice of food.

We started off at 8am from Nagoya station and reached Ise Jingu outer shrine (外宮) just minutes before 11am. It’s recommended to start with the outer shrine first before entering the inner shrine. The outer shrine also known as Toyouke Daijingu, was to house Toyouke Omikami (豊受大御神) who is the kami for food, clothing and shelter. 

This is the Daiichi-torii-guchi Sando (第一鳥居口参道).

An explanation board in Japanese.

Temizusha (手水舎) – To purify your inner self before entering the area. The correct way to do it is to hold the scoop with your right hand, scoop enough water, rinse your left hand, then exchange the scoop to your left hand and rinse your right hand. Exchange again to your right hand and this time, pour a mouthful of the water on your left hand and rinse your month with it. Spit out the water (don’t drink it), and rinse your left hand again with the remaining water in the scoop and return it to the stand.

Hello, it’s us trying to capture the first gate but failed though. 😦 I didn’t managed to check the temperature but I think it was about 38~39°C.

And THIS, is the first gate of the shrine.

Do you know?

You have to bow before walking though the gates? (I managed to capture this uncle in white who bowed at the left side of the gate) It’s a meaning of telling the kami that I’m entering the area. Also, you have to do the same thing when leaving. It’s advisable to walk through the gates nearer to the legs of the gates instead of the center because that’s where the kami will pass through.

The path towards the main area. It’s so cooling to walk under the shades!

That’s my back and some random guy. (I look so short here!)

The second gate.

Was amused by the number of people standing around these stones, then to find out that it’s actually a ‘Power spot’. Somehow the weather was so nasty that I didn’t cared about trying to feel its ‘power’.

The main sanctuary. That’s the nearest I could take photo with because it’s rude to point your camera at the kami. The structure of the buildings were so magnificent. Even the trees!! They were in these shades of green that has a calming effect.

The wooden building at the background would be the new ‘house’ for the kami in October.

Then we walked around the area. This is the Kazenomiya (風宮).

This is Tsuchinomiya (土宮).

Like I mentioned earlier, as we’re on a bus tour, time is limited. We made our way to get ourselves an omamori (お守り) a.k.a. amulet from the shop and returned back to the bus.

After we ended the outer shrine visit, we had lunch at one of the restaurant pre-booked by the HIS bus tour. It includes Ise Udon (伊勢うどん) and Tekone Zushi (てこね寿司). The 2 local food in Ise city. I like the sauce for the udon. It’s a little sweet as compare to normal udon sauce.

We rushed through our lunch, so that we have extra time to visit the inner shrine as we need to be back in the bus by a certain time. I’ll write about the inner shrine in the next post because it’s getting too long.

And I’ll also write about Meoto Iwa and Futami Okitama Jinja on a separate post. FYI, these 2 spots are famous for ‘good relationship’ between couples. 😀 [I can’t wait to upload the new banner!]

Recipe: Buta donburi

Hello! I realized my last recipe post was in early August. *sweats* :/

So today I’m going to share with you the recipe on making a Buta Don (豚丼 – pork rice bowl).

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Pork loin / belly slices – 150g ~ 180g
  • Onion – ½ of regular size
  • (A) Shoyu – 3 tablespoons
  • (A) Sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • (A) Sake – 2 tablespoons
  • (A) Mirin – 1 tablespoon
  • Corn starch dissolved in water – just enough to thicken the gravy
  • Shredded cabbage – own preference
  • Cooked rice – 2 servings

How to:

  1. Mix (A) together.
  2. Slice the onions.
  3. In a fry-pan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (medium-low heat) and add in the sliced onions.
  4. Stir-fry the onions until it turns translucent.
  5. Add in the pork slices.
  6. Once the red meat of the pork slices are cooked, lower the heat to low and add in (A).
  7. Let it simmer for 1 – 2 minutes.
  8. Slowly add in the corn starch dissolved in water into 7 and stir well.
  9. Scoop the cooked rice into a rice bowl, layer the shredded cabbage and serve the pork slices on top.

I like the gravy a lot to the extend that almost every month I will serve it for dinner. If you like to enjoy the gravy, I would recommend to not add in the corn starch. It’ll be watery but once poured over the rice, the rice will soak up the gravy and it’ll definitely taste good!

Also, I experimented using frozen onion. I will let it defrost in normal temperature and then slice it. A lot of water came out from the onions and it’s has a different texture. By doing this, the onions will absorb the seasoning better than usual. 😀

In Singapore, it’s quite hard to get sliced pork in the supermarket. It’s okay to use those pork slices meant for shabu shabu. Do remember to defrost it totally before cooking. 🙂

Hope you’ll try this out for your meal time. 😀

Of Tea leaves and Cosmetics

Greeeetings!! It’s WEDNESDAY! Any plans for your dinner tonight? 😀 I’m going to have McDonald’s seasonal limited burger tonight! *grins*

It’s September and it’s my favourite month because there’s 2 ‘big’ events in my life. Will be celebrating my 25th and also my 1st anniversary as Mrs. Kimura. 😀

Few months back (i think it was in July or early August), I took part in some campaigns on Facebook and won myself some items. Brands in Japan usually have official Facebook pages where they run campaigns to give out items related to what they are selling.

The first item I won was Jill Stuart‘s newly released mascara.

Blooming Blossom Curl Rush Mascara

Then recently, I randomly took part in Takashimaya’s campaign and won a can of Fauchon tea – Macaron Framboise flavour. I have yet to try it out because I have tonnes of tea leaves on my rack which are enough to last me till next year.

Lastly, this is the most expensive campaign present I’ve received so far. Lancôme Paris (Japan’s Facebook account) had this mini photo gallery where users decorate their photo with Lancôme’s Hypnôse Waterproof mascara by Alber Elbaz series. The present was neatly packed in Lancôme’s white paper bag and the contents inside were limited edition Hypnôse Waterproof mascara and matching eye palette. Felt so lucky to have receive this. 😀 Thank you Lancôme Paris (Japan)!! ♥♥ 

The moral of this is to have LUCK. I’ve took part in numerous campaigns but only managed to win these 3. My friend has so much more luck than me because she won herself a bag of clothes from one of the famous Japanese brand. 😀

P/S: I’m so into this particular camera application which gives these retro effect. Hope you all won’t get sick of it (especially on my instagram). 🙂