Kabira Bay‘s emerald blue waters and white sand is special, and if you don’t believe me (or the photos), then maybe you’ll believe the experts at Michelin! It was awarded 3 Michelin stars in 2009 and has been a major destination ever since. It’s the most photographed spot on Ishigaki Island, the main economic hub of the Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa.
Because of the strong currents, you can’t swim or snorkel here, but there are many glass bottom boats that cruise around the bay for 30 minute tours. The guides run up and down the beach attracting tourists to their boats. Although it was much to windy when I visited to join a tour, I heard that the Japanese-speaking tours are better than the foreigner-skewed tours.
Kabira Bay is on the northern coast of Ishigaki, close to Sukuji Beach and Club Med. For those staying on a different part of the island, I highly recommend a rental car for sightseeing Ishigaki. We drove around the entire island and stopped at the major sightseeing spots in a day. Most of the rental car companies have locations in Ishigaki.
Summer is high season to visit Okinawa, but winter is also popular despite the chilly and windy weather.
Hi all! How’s winter been treating you? I’ve been hibernating so I’m ready for spring to arrive! Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t follow my whims so it’ll be another month of chills before it starts to warm up here in Tokyo.
To get my feet wet with blogging again, I thought I’d post something very Japan: Mt.Fuji! Or as locals call it, Fuji-san. Besides sightseeing, my favorite thing to do around Mt.Fuji is to eat houtou! It’s famous because of its symmetrical shape and is still an active volcano. Some scientists predict that it’ll erupt in 2015. This photo was taken on my flight from Tokyo to Okinawa (posts coming soon!).
Have you seen or climbed Mt.Fuji? Do you have any favorite mountains in your area?
Just like cherry blossoms in the spring, people take autumn leaves VERY seriously in Japan. And how could you not? Leaves change to such a deep but bright burgundy that completely transforms the scenery of Japan into a rich, fall wonderland. Haha Do I sound a little over dramatic? Maybe you have to visit to understand. (You still have time – the leaves will stay until around mid-December, and they’re especially beautiful in Kyoto.)
There’s something about the way the Japanese dive so fully into each little thing (whether it’s soba, pork, lavender fields, or maid cafes) that enhances your perspective on it. The best way I can explain autumn leaves is through these photos. Even though this is a small temple near Nagano, the abundance of red is so overwhelming!
How do you enjoy fall? Do you have beautiful fall leaves where you live?
If you’ve ever been to the Mt.Fuji area, you’ve no doubtfully seen or tried one of the many houtou restaurants! Houtou is a local specialty in Yamanashi close to the hot tourist spot, Mt.Fuji. It’s a hearty and nutritious miso and pumpkin-based broth cooked in a large cast iron bowl and filled with chewy udon and vegetables. Although it’s served year round, it’s my favorite in the colder months when nothing satiates your stomach like a piping hot bowl of noodles!
There are tons of restaurants that sell hotto in the area, but my favorite is Fudou. Other than a few side dishes, the only thing on the menu at Fudou is houtou. The portion is quite large so although the Japanese usually order one bowl per person, you can probably share if you have a small appetite.
If you like it, they sell pre-packaged udon at the front that you can bring home along with a whole bunch of other fun omiyages! My favorite are the blueberry cheesecake and strawberry kitkats. I’ve never actually tried them, but they catch my eye every time!
Well that didn’t take that long! You can now find cronuts in cafes around Tokyo supplied by Banderole. The craze hasn’t hit the radar of Japanese trend setters yet so don’t expect the long lines that you’d find for pancakes or brunch spots. I’m not sure if this will become a fad in Japan as even cupcakes haven’t made a big splash. But we’ll see! Sometimes these food trends take awhile to catch on here (like pancakes).
If you’re keen to try it, they’re offered here in chocolate, matcha, strawberry, and white chocolate:
Check out their website for shop locations across Japan – mostly surburban locations so far.
As if we don’t get hungry enough looking at our foodie-filled Instagram and Facebook feeds, we can now smell them too.
The Japanese have come up with a little device called Scentee that attaches to your phone’s headphone jack, and using some preinstalled cartridges, it ‘blows’ foodie scents at you. You can already buy a Scentee with coffee, apples, and cinnamon roll scents (breakfast anyone?), but coming soon is the smell of Japanese beef BBQ.
Want a quick reminder of your Memorial Day holiday? Just blow this in your face. Your meeting running into lunch or dinner? Pick up the pace by making everyone hungry. But user beware. If they don’t get the smell quite right, people will just think you had Japanese BBQ ….. last night. (I know… I had to go there.)
Still interested? Check out their hilariously depressing video:
First spotted on Fine Dining Lovers
Last weekend, we were invited to our friend, Megha’s house to learn some home cooked Indian dishes – Malai Kofta and Chicken Tikka. Malai Kofta is a vegetarian dish of fried balls of fresh cheese served in a cream gravy sauce. I’m not usually one for vegetarian dishes, but I can’t wait to make this again. It was hearty and filling – perfect for this fall weather! Here’s how to make it yourself at home, in pictures!
For the kofta, you’ll need: 1 quart milk, 1.5 tbsp white vinegar, 2 medium potatoes (boiled & mashed), 2 tsp flour, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, salt, olive oil, oil for frying
For the malai, you’ll need: 4-5 medium tomatoes, 1/4 cup cashews, 2 tbsp melon seeds, 1 tsp poppy seeds, 1 tsp chopped ginger, 2 green cardamom pods, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder, salt to taste, 2 tbsp fresh cream
First, make the cheese: