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Cooking Across 4 Generations

Using recipes collected from 4 generations of one family

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Cafe

Day 5 Tokyo 2018 Take A Hike

After breakfast I walked over to Shimbashi Station and caught the train out to Kamakura. Two reasons for going to Kamakura – hiking and Ajisai season. The temple at Hase-dera is well known for it’s Ajisai display so that was my destination after my hike.
The hike wasn’t a huge one about 3km but there was a small mountain involved.
After checking with the tourist office for the hiking routes, I really needed some caffeine as I didn’t have any at breakfast. The Delifrance at the station sorted that issue out fast.
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Anpan and coffee – Delifrance Kamakura
I just missed one bus and the next one was a 20 minute wait. Naturally the clouds gave way to a perfect blue sky and I was standing in the sun for that time. My hiking gear for the day was a little on the unprepared side. Clear plastic umbrella, well there was a 50% chance of storms, no sunglasses and no hat. I did however have 2 cameras and 2 extra lenses. A Tory Burch handbag is not really appropriate for hiking either.
The route starts near Meigetsu-in bus stop on the north side of Kamakura not far from Lita-Kamakura station. Quite a pretty area. The path starts right next to the bus stop so access is super easy. There is a pretty little pond on the right and some Torii gates lead to Jochi-ji Temple.

There was also a small potter’s studio opposite the pond with some lovely wares.

The first kilometre is paved as it is also a road for local residents. The incline is fairly gentle at the start but later on gets a little steeper, but not too much. At about the half way point there is Kuzuharaoka Jinja,  with a pond to sit by, a shrine to pray for love, vending machines for a cold drink or snack and a picnic area. A nice spot for a little rest, get an oracle(in English) and break a small ceramic dish on a rock to cast away bad luck. Near by are some the graves of some important locals. Did I mention spectacular views??
Back on the trail there were some easy bits and some hard bits. I HATE wet clay, so slippery underfoot, but I stayed upright. One scary bit towards the end where you have a short, narrow, steep descent requiring you to hold on to a rope.
Then you hit the residential area in the hills with spectacular views across the town to the ocean, you can hear the waves breaking as you trek along. A stand of luscious bamboo with a sign “Caution Vipers” made me a little more wary. No way I was crossing to get closer to the bamboo. Kites were also flying above the tree line, hopefully on the hunt for vipers.
And then a steep descent down stairs bought me to within 300m of Kotoku-in, home of the Daibutsu. I went in quickly as there were so many tourists and I had visited with Mum 2 years ago.
Across the road from Kotoku-in I spied purple sweet potato ice cream. I missed out last year at Kawagoe so I was not going to miss out this time. Not as much sweet potato flavour as I was expecting, it was nice and refreshing after the hike.
I then made my way to Hase Dera bought my ticket and then was given a ticket for the Hydrangea Walk. Little did I know I would have a 30 minute wait to walk the path.  A numbered ticket system is used to put groups through, so there might be 100 people in the group. They also only allow so many per day to go through, as I found out as I was leaving when they announced the days allocation of Hydrangea Walk tickets had finished.
Now I do like Hydrangeas but what was here was different to what we have in Australia. Different colours and shades, different petal sizes, different shapes to the flower heads and even one that hangs its flower head upside down! My favourites were the ones lace caps, like a little fairy landing circle. I also like the ones that have the longer “pine cone” shape flower head. So beautiful to see a whole hillside covered in the bushes.
After a stroll through the rest of Hase Dera including the cave temple area, I returned to the station taking some local shopping streets for a bit of variety.
Back in Tokyo I had a late dinner at a local joint under the railway tracks between Yurakucho and Shimbashi. Renkon stuffed with mustard (hot English from the nasal burning), pork katsu and salad and two cups of refreshing umeshu on the rocks.
A tiring but fabulous day, especially as it turned out to be the sunniest day of the trip. It was also exciting to do another hike even if it was a short one.
Keep an eye out for the next post where I hike again.
Thanks for dropping by!!

 

Tokyo Coffee Culture

Generally you think of Japan as being a big tea drinking country, but on our first trip to Japan in 2008 we were quite surprised at the sophistication of the Japanese coffee culture. Prior to our trip we had only been exposed to the traditional coffees here in Australia, drip, cappuccinos, espresso, flat white, flat black, bad instant etc. Then along came the Nespresso style pod machines. So, seeing some new ways of brewing coffee was an eye opener.

When we have a holiday in Tokyo, we have a little tradition of visiting three of our favourite cafes, one located behind Ginza Alley in Ginza (brick building very European looking), Ko’hikan in Asakusa and Miyama in Nakano

Our very first coffee in Tokyo in 2008 was in Ginza, on a very cold and damp spring afternoon. We stumbled upon a very European looking coffee shop (wooden door and window surrounds, exposed brick, brass revolving door, elegant frosted windows, baby grand piano, you get the picture?). A menu was presented to us in English with pictures so we decided on a cointreau coffee (it was COLD, we needed the warmth from the cointreau). The waitress bought our order along with a rich slice of chocolate cake.

Cooffee and cake in Ginza
Coffee and cake in Ginza

The cups and saucers were a very elegant surprise and of course I had to peak and see who they were made by, naturally Noritake. Just so you know I am slightly (ok, extremely) partial to Noritake crockery, having been bought up with my Nan’s set that came out every special occasion.

Interior of our favourite Ginza coffee shop
Interior of our favourite Ginza coffee shop

Our next visit we ordered milk coffees. Wow talk about a bit of theatre for service. Our cups came out first, then, the waitress bought over two silver coffee pots. We thought there was one for each of us, but one had coffee and the other was hot milk. Starting low to the cups, the waitress poured equal quantities of milk and coffee, raising the pot as she did so which created a little froth on top. Of course we needed a little sweet thing to go with our coffee, a light and fluffy cheesecake.

Coffee with cheesecake Ginza
Coffee with cheesecake Ginza

Mr CA4G snuck in a visit by himself when he went for a solo visit between jobs in 2010 and had a black coffee with milk and his favourite dessert Mont Blanc.

Coffe and Mont Blanc, Ginza
Coffe and Mont Blanc, Ginza

In Asakusa we discovered Ko’hikan while walking over to Kappabashi Dori from Senso-Ji Temple. It was the first place we ever tried Syphon filter coffee. The first time we visited the water for the coffee was heated using a methylated spirit flame and this year when we went we discovered they no longer use a flame but a really high heat lamp. The coffee is placed in the upper portion of the syphon, the water is heated in the bottom globe section until it goes up the central tube into the upper section, the heat is removed and the coffee brews. As it cools the brewed coffee flows back down the tube in to the lower half of the unit and is then poured into cups and served with little glass jugs of milk. Very scientific looking.

Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa
Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa
Interior, Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa
Interior, Ko Hi Kan, Asakusa

We go to Nakano for some very specific shops for Mr CA4G, but we find we need a coffee for some fortitude. Miyama is located in the shopping centre and what caught our eye on our first visit was the cold water filter system that they use ( another very scientific looking contraption). Water slowly drips through the ground beans into a carafe underneath. The coffee is then warmed as needed. This form of filtering provides a smoother coffee without the bitterness that is often present in hot brewed coffee.

Cold filtered coffee, Miyama, Nakano
Cold filtered coffee, Miyama, Nakano
Coffee, Miyama, Nakano
Coffee, Miyama, Nakano

It is great to be amongst the locals, I can’t recall seeing any foreigners when we have been. This year we also had lunch which comes as a set (sandwich with coffee). Mr. CA4G had a burger and I had a sandwich. Very tasty and that fluffy white bread they make in Japan is so light.

And of course on Kappabashi Dori amongst all the kitchenware shops is a specialist coffee shop along with a several specialist roasters and providores of coffee beans/ground coffee. They seem to be really in to their single origins and fair trade coffees in Japan.

Union coffee supplies, Kappabashi Dori, Asakusa
Union coffee supplies, Kappabashi Dori, Asakusa
Cold filters
Cold filters
Interior Union Coffee supplies
Interior Union Coffee supplies
Syphon filters
Syphon filters
Cold filter close up
Cold filter close up
Coffee roaster, Kappabashi Dori
Coffee roaster, Kappabashi Dori

I think the only time we have had a cappuccino or latte in Tokyo was when we have breakfast in the Park Hyatt, The Conrad, or at our favourite little cafe/bakery Vie de France. When we stay at the Park Hotel Shiodome we love the over cup drip filter they have in the rooms, from Key Coffee.

Key Coffee,
Key Coffee,
Drip On by Key Coffee
Drip On by Key Coffee

Have you had a great coffee somewhere other than here in Australia? I would love to here about it!

 

 

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