Friday, August 16, 2013

Kanagawa, Yamanashi

I'm back!
I spent 3 days in Yokohama with a side trip to Yamanashi. As usual, it was full of sightseeing... and food!
We hopped off the shinkansen and made a beeline for Yokohama's Chinatown: the largest in Japan.

After lunch and a bit of shopping there, a wrench was thrown into our vacation. I caught a nasty stomach bug. We continued on with our schedule but I felt miserable at times, and unfortunately I dragged unhappily through some of the sights. I suppose it was inevitable that someone who loves to eat all the tasty local foods would eventually eat something that would send the digestive system into a loop. Nonetheless, I soldiered on and still had a bit of an appetite for a place I had been dying to go to: the Ramen Museum.

In guidebooks, the Ramen Museum is described as a "ramen amusement park." As you can see in the picture above and below, the backdrop of this ramen eating adventure is set in a replica city block of 1950s post-war Japan. 

All the decor and even the employees fit into the theme. You can buy sweets from the bygone days in a candy shop, drink glass-bottled Coke, and eat several different kinds of ramen. The one kind of ramen I was excited to try was Ikemen, a ramen shop based in Hollywood that creates unique dip ramen. I had the "Johnny Dip" ramen with tonkotsu pork and a basil tomato dipping sauce. It was delicious.

We took in the night view of Yokohama also, which didn't disappoint.

Our side trip to Yamanashi took us to a place recently made a World Heritage Site.

The base of Mt. Fuji was bustling with tourists not only from the holiday weekend, but the new World Heritage designation. We decided to view Japan's Symbol from Lake Kawaguchi, one of the five lakes surrounding the mountain. (No, that isn't Fuji in the picture below). 

We took a boat ride on the lake, hoping to get a nice view of Mt. Fuji, but it seems it was a little shy.

You can kind of see a faint outline... That's the problem with large mountains: the clouds love them. We didn't feel too disappointed, since we had seen it during our Shizuoka trip. Plus I got to eat lavender ice cream, which was way better than I thought it would (fruity).

Back in Kanagawa prefecture, we took a short jaunt to Kamakura to see the famous big Buddha statue.

I thought this little one was cute too:

Our last day was spent in Yokohama, where we went on a holy pilgrimage to the Nissan Global Headquarters to check out their gallery of cars.

How about a GT-R designed for famous runner Usain Bolt that was signed by him? My husband found what he wanted for his birthday (he wishes):

Just like him, I sat behind the wheel of this GT-R and dreamed a little dream.

All-in-all, the trip was fantastic in spite of my illness road bump. I wore some of my sewn clothes but didn't take any shots of myself. My one big regret was not going to Yuzawaya, a chain of giant craft stores I was itching to buy up their large and cheap fabric selection. Sigh. Next time! We saw all the things we wanted to see at least!

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