The gang: an American grad student doing her PhD thesis research in Tokyo, my sempai (student senior to me) from school, a friend through Girl Scouts
The location: Hiraizumi in northern Japan.
The purpose: to see the famous temples
the stream used in the Heian period for poetry/drinking parties
What we REALLY did: EAT, eat, eat, and then eat some more! When Japanese people travel within their own country they have a fascination with food, local dishes and special products. This means Genghis Khan (grilled lamb) and potatoes in Hokkaido, apples in Aomori, a special beef dish in Sendai, okonomiyaki and takoyaki in Kansai... The list is endless. Guide books and travel magazines are full of glossy photographs of these local specialities and include lists of restaurants. These specialites then find their way into the omiyage, the souvenier gifts brought home by the traveller for family, friends, and co-workers. My Japanese friends were shocked to discover that travel to a Westerner does not automatically imply discovering local delicacies to quite the same extent. I'm quite happy that this trip we most definitely travelled Japanese style and stuffed ourselves silly with the local specialities.
9 different types of mochi (rice cake)
wanko soba - 24 single bite sized bowls of noodles to be eaten with a thin soup and a variety of fixings
dinner at the hot springs hotel
Moffle - mochi waffle
(Yes, I know I am becoming Japanese with my fascination for taking photographs of meals I am about to eat. I just hope I don't go over the edge and start taking photos of airplane food!)
When we booked the trip, we had been warned that the season for fall colours would be over. I'd disagree, however!
I think the photos express it better than I ever could in words...