Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gujo Hachiman

Exploring the city of Gujo Hachiman can be done in a couple of hours by foot. I followed this self guided walking map albeit in a roundabout fashion. Here are some highlights that I particularly enjoyed.

this red bridge - view of the river while standing on it and the buildings surrounding it (near location M on map)
the view from miyagase bridge (location N)
igawa komichi - a small narrow street with a canal full of giant fish! (location X)
Igawa Komichi was really cute. Walking down the narrow street with all the fish leaping nearby was like walking back in time. Along the street there are wooden boxes where you can buy fish feed for 100 yen. There are washing platforms built along the canal which villagers use to wash their fruits and vegetables in the canal! Be sure to walk all the way down the street (past where everyone is clustered feeding the fish), there is access to the Yoshida River bank with some awesome views.

yanaka komichi (location P) - I love the old architecture!
view from shin bashi "new bridge" (location Y)
gujo hachiman castle (location G)
The view from the base of the castle was amazing - probably even better from the top of the castle. However at this point of our trip we had been up and walking for several hours and didn't feel like climbing up to the castle itself or for paying the entrance fee into the castle.

Also be sure to check out Shokunin Machi (location J to K), an historic street where in the feudal times, the town's craftsmen lived and had their businesses. Unfortunately all my photos of this street didn't turn out so nice due to the crappy lighting.

For our meal of the day we stopped at Harajin Soba, a restaurant near the Miyagase Bridge, for you guessed it - soba! This place is apparently very popular, a television food program was filming while we were there! Again I saw some Japanese celebrities! If only this had happened to me while I was in Taiwan.

soba noodles with a meat rice bowl = 1580 yen
I really enjoyed the meat bowl but the soba noodles were just meh for me. I think it's because I'm not such a big fan of buckwheat but the way you eat soba made it pretty interesting. The noodles are served cold and you dip them into the cup of dipping sauce (soba tsuyu). The water that was being served at the restaurant was the water used to cook the noodles, apparently after you finish the meal you can mix that water with the dipping sauce leftovers and drink it!

I really enjoyed Gujo Hachiman! It is one of the best cities I've had the chance to visit while in Japan. I just love all the Edo-styled houses and old architecture. Reminds me of Kyoto but better since there aren't as many crowds!

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