Thanksgiving, Japanese-style

Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2009 | 0 comments

   This morning, Andrew and I hiked up to Nihondaira (日本平), which was about 4 km each way. At least, it was supposed to be 4 km each way, but since we got a little bit lost on the way up, it was probably a bit longer. The only map that we could find online for a Nihondaira hiking course wasn't very clear, and it was all in Japanese. We figured out that we had to go past the local Kusanagi shrine and then continue straight up to the hiking trail, not very theory. In actuality, you go up to the shrine, follow the road that curves to the left (it goes past an elementary school that will be on your left) and THEN continue straight up that road to access the hiking trail. There are some signs marking the route, but they're in Japanese and we only found them after a bit of backtracking. Anyway, if you're planning on climbing it, feel free to contact me for better directions!
                                    The road up to the hiking trail

Andrew trespassing on a golf course

  Once we got off the road and onto the actual trail, it was pretty easy going and not really a difficult hike at all. The view from the top was really beautiful, even though Mt. Fuji was mostly obscured by clouds when we were up there.
                                           Can you find Mt. Fuji??

                                          View from the ropeway

 From the top, we rode a ropeway (1000 yen per person round-trip, 550 yen one-way) down to Kunozan Toshogu Shrine, which houses the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of Japan. I didn't realize that this shrine housed his grave until looking at a pamphlet much later in the day, but it was a pretty impressive place even without knowing that fact.

                                            Entrance to the shrine

Tokugawa Ieyasu's grave (we didn't know what it was at the time but took pictures anyway since it was rather impressive)

Andrew relaxing on a chair we found in the middle of nowhere

  After touring the shrine, we took the ropeway back up to the top of Nihondaira again for a quick snack, then headed back home. I managed to rack up over 20,000 steps on my new pedometer today, a good thing, since....
Seeing as turkeys are incredibly hard to come by here, we opted to instead hit up a nearby organic buffet for our Thanksgiving dinner. They have great food, and Andrew was able to find plenty of meat-free dishes, so it worked out for everyone. They also offer a 600 yen all-you-can-drink shochu bar (Japanese liquor), so the guy were especially happy! We all ate until we were about to burst, thereby satisfying the main requirement of a Thanksgiving dinner in my mind.

                  The restaurant's name is Budo no Oka, or 'Grape Valley' if translated literally

All-you-can-drink shochu

A selection of their desserts...all bite-size

 We were not only celebrating Thanksgiving tonight, but 2 more events: Yuki's birthday was yesterday and we couldn't celebrate it properly, since he was preparing for his final interview exam this morning...which he PASSED! Yea!! Happy birthday and congratulations to my wonderful husband!!!
  Finally, Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without dressing Wasabi up in a little Chinese dress that we bought in Yokohama Chinatown last weekend. The hat really completed the outfit, but, to put it mildly, she wasn't too thrilled to wear it!

                Wasabi is NOT thankful for her parents tonight

She's thinking 'I hate you all' in Chinese

'Take that, stupid hat!!!'

        Happy Thanksgiving!!!