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We will never eat beef again (until we come back to Kobe tomorrow)

Kobe Travel Blog

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Himeji Castle

We had the first of our day trips from Kyoto today, and today's was a rousing success!  We headed off early in the morning on the shinkansen to Himeji, which is where the famous White Heron castle is located.  We took the self-guided tour of the castle and the grounds, which was great.  The castle is incredible and beautiful and everything you could possibly imagine a medieval Japanese castle to be.  It was definitely a hike, though- lots of climbing and stairs, and absolutely no handicap capabilities.  I was in the middle of wondering what people with mobility issues did when I passed an older gentleman in a wheelchair, parked out in the castle lawn, lonely and dejectedly waiting for his group to return.

nic pic of Himeji Castle, Kelsey
  Bummer!

As we were walking back to the train station, Jeff and I were both dying of heat- after all that climbing, and the heat, we were both covered in sweat, when yeah!!! I spot a sign for what I think is a Japanese snowball stand!!! As a Louisiana girl this is a miraculous sign from heaven and sweet sweet salvation.  We head up there, and Jeff, in his ever stronger Japanese, reads off the flavors.  I get a berry one with condensed milk.  It comes in a small bowl, heaped with feathery ice and is the MOST delicious thing I've ever tasted.  Maybe an exaggeration, but very literally top 10 best.  Better than anything I've ever had in the south.  With a huge smile on my face, we continue down the main drag when we pass a thrift store with vintage kimono out front- since possible recipients of gifts may or may not be reading we possibly could have bought some very awesome 70s polyester men's kimono.

um... I'm BIG in Japan? (entrance to Castle - preserved in its original size)
  In addition, we found an incredible ceremonial sake set- three cups, a pitcher in the ceremonial box all hand-painted (for 17 bucks!!!  woo hooo).  We have since christened it in a drunken kimono tyeing session back at Sandal wood hostel- Jeff, Jimmi and Zin (the hostel staff) made an awesome Japanese rock band with a djimbe, a guitar and a shamisen (the traditional geisha instrument!!!)

So with our treasures in hand, we head off to Kobe in search of one thing: BEEF, its what's for dinner.  Or in this case, lunch.  We hit up a restaurant called Waka kuqo- Lonely Planet's recommendation for Kobe beef.  LP's been a bit spotty on this trip so far, but this time it hit it right on the head.

our chef presenting our meat to us
  We had the absolute most incredible lunch, and quite literally the best beef I've ever tasted.  It was hibachi style, we were alone at our table, so we got all the attention.  They cooked the garlic slices individually, what I mean by that is that they lined up the slices into a grid, and turned each one over individually, so that each one was cooked to perfection.  Likewise with the chunks of Jeff's tenderloin.  They were cooked individually, so that each piece was medium rare.  That's attention to detail!!!!  They cut up the fat of the steak and cooked that and we were told to eat that with a little salt- and that was incredibly delicious!!!  We couldn't go wrong!!! There was soup, appetizer, veggies and tofu, meat, rice, Japanese pickles, green tea and ice cream all for 4,000 yen (about 40 bucks!)  And this was the lunch special, so you can imagine what this place would be like at dinner!!!  Jeff splurged for the tenderloin (hey- you're only in Kobe, eating Kobe beef on rare occasions, right- so go all out) while I stuck with the sirloin.
Rock on shamisen
  Delicious, delicious, delicious, a thousand times.  So much so that we're considering going back and getting the cheaper 30 buck lunch (no soup or dessert) but who cares- gotta have that beef!!!  And we did check- they do feed them beer and give them massages!  Believe me that makes all the difference!

everyoungauntcheryl says:
KOBE Beef is definitely fantastic! Well worth the splurge! I'm really jealous. Shamisen looks good.
Posted on: Jul 19, 2009
cbmunn says:
Now you're talking real food. Finally a place I would eat.
Posted on: Jul 19, 2009
sylviandavid says:
Makes me hungry to read this....
Posted on: Jul 18, 2009
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Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle
nic pic of Himeji Castle, Kelsey
nic pic of Himeji Castle, Kelsey
um...  Im BIG in Japan? (entrance…
um... I'm BIG in Japan? (entranc…
our chef presenting our meat to us
our chef presenting our meat to us
Rock on shamisen
Rock on shamisen
Zin, Jeff and Jimmi- Theyre big i…
Zin, Jeff and Jimmi- They're big …
Bows on his kimono make Jeff-san a…
Bows on his kimono make Jeff-san …
Like a perfect geisha
Like a perfect geisha
Sake in a kimono.  Hay!  Watashi w…
Sake in a kimono. Hay! Watashi …
bowing to the hostel owner Jimi wh…
bowing to the hostel owner Jimi w…
presenting:  Jeff-san!
presenting: Jeff-san!
Sorry Jimi Im already married
Sorry Jimi I'm already married
Kobe beef in Kobe - restaurant: Wa…
Kobe beef in Kobe - restaurant: W…
yessssssssssssss!!!!!!!! (REAL Kob…
yessssssssssssss!!!!!!!! (REAL Ko…
Kobe deliciousness - tenderloin
Kobe deliciousness - tenderloin
Kobe deliciousness - sirloin
Kobe deliciousness - sirloin
clockwise from bottom left: japane…
clockwise from bottom left: japan…
su-chef cookin the veggies, tofu, …
su-chef cookin the veggies, tofu,…
smiling at the anticipation of fil…
smiling at the anticipation of fi…
sirloin on left, tenderloin on rig…
sirloin on left, tenderloin on ri…
su-chef searing each slice of garl…
su-chef searing each slice of gar…
lets fighting love!
let's fighting love!
in Himeji - the greatest snow cone…
in Himeji - the greatest snow con…
view from top of Himeji castle Hi…
view from top of Himeji castle "H…
the town of Himeji from the top of…
the town of Himeji from the top o…
town of Himeji from the top of the…
town of Himeji from the top of th…
view from the top of the castle
view from the top of the castle
stockpile of swords
stockpile of swords
Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle
stockpile of guns in case of seige
stockpile of guns in case of seige
sword in Himeji castle
sword in Himeji castle
Long Corridor of Happy Days in H…
"Long Corridor of Happy Days" in …
Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle
Kobe
photo by: ellechic