This post is way overdue!! I actually started writing it quite early after last post in November but I got a bit overwhelmed with work lately and I didn’t find any motivation to keep writing this post until a few days ago. Now I’m glad that it’s done!
This second leg of our trip was more relaxed than the first one because we were in a smaller city and besides, we did more day trips to neighboring cities than anything thanks to my good friend, Juliette. Japan has been her home for the past 6 years already and will be for the many years to come. She was so kind to let us stay at her place and became not only our guide in the Aichi Prefecture, but also our travel companion for the rest of our trip!
Day 11 – Osaka → Nagoya
Quentin and I left Osaka by Shinkansen in the morning with our suitcases for our next destination, Nagoya. We didn’t get to try the famous train lunch because we were already full before leaving.
Juliette came to fetch us at the central station before we took another train to her place in a neighboring city. Once we dropped our luggage, she took us to a café nearby to grab a bite. They served such delicious cakes! The atmosphere was cosy and I felt like I could stay all day there. I wish there was a place like this near where I live.
(A mini bruschetta + a slice of peach cake)
The rest of the day was mainly spend accompanying Juliette on her errands because she needed to take care of her car, so it involved a lot of walking! We also did grocery shopping in a supermarket for dinner and now that I think about it, the amount of plastic wrapping in Japan surprised me. Especially with fruits and veggies which are always neatly wrapped and displayed! To be honest, I don’t really like it 🙁 Also, they still give out plastic bags for free everywhere and since I’m no longer used to get them, I also forget to refuse….
Day 12 – Utsumi
In the morning, the three of us ate at the café again before joining Aki and Nao, Juliette’s friends from high school. We headed to the beach at Utsumi by car! Aki drove us there and she parked the car at a facility a few meters away from the beach where we could change into our swimsuits, then take a shower when we come back. It was very convenient and not to mention very clean!
It had been years since I last went to the sea, so I was thrilled! Even though I cannot really swim… We played in the water for some time before eating lunch at a snack bar nearby. I took a nap on the air lounger we took with us for a while and woke up two sunburns. Never forget to reapply sunscreen, kids…
On our way back, we stopped at a mall because Aki had some business that involved her phone so we ate pasta and fluffy pancakes while we were at it !
(Food from Light Café)
Day 13 – Asuke
We got up quite late and Juliette had stuff to take care of in the morning for university so we accompanied her. She drove us to Toyota afterwards to visit the Sanshu Asuke Yashiki, an open-air museum which showcases how a Japanese village looked like more than a century ago.
You can watch artisans (blacksmith, carpenter, textile dyer, etc.) doing their craft in a traditional setting as you stroll around the small village. It’s also possible to book workshops with them but since we arrived a bit before closing time (When I tell you there’s a pattern…) so we just looked around. I bought a little package of washi, Japanese traditional paper, that I still haven’t used to this day, haha.
We took a stroll in the area, next to a shrine, after the village closed.
On our way back to Nagoya, we stopped at a onsen resort on the road to eat dinner at their restaurant, but everything was sold out except simple dish sets. I ate a bowl of plain white ice with a raw egg and pickled veggies.
Then we did some stargazing on a top of a small moutain before going home! It was too dark to take pictures so I don’t have any 🙁
Day 14 – Nagoya: Osu
Quentin and I spent the day with Lisa, another Japanese friend whom I met in Beijing. She was a classmate, quite famous for her excentric looks. Ever since she started working, her appearance became more tame and it came as a bit of a shock to me.
We agreed to eat breakfast in a café in the Osu area. Juliette told me that in the Aichi Prefecture, a lot of cafés have a breakfast deal! If you buy a drink, they will give you something to eat for free.
In the café we went to, the breakfast food was displayed on a buffet. I don’t remember if there was a small extra to pay for it, but most likely! I also grabbed some Taiwanese fried chicken a little while after because I felt like it… So good, but not very healthy.
(Food, Kanon Osu Temple, Osu shopping street and its gate)
We went to a game arcade because I wanted to play a bit, then we walked around the area, did window shopping and visited the Kanon Osu Temple. Unfortunately, the rain started pouring heavily after that so we took refuge in a small mall and took purikura pictures. I love taking these because it’s so much fun but the timer to edit your pictures kinda stresses me out!
Later, we headed to the Nagoya Central Station, where I shamelessly went all out at Tokyu Hands while we waited for Juliette to eat dinner. Japan is one of the best country for stationery shopping and without any surprise, that’s where a lot of my money went during this trip…
(Purikura with Lisa + Fighting my way into a masking tape sale at Tokyu Hands)
Rain was pouring again on our way to the izakaya at which a university friend of Juliette was waiting for us, to the point that there was a typhoon alert! Fortunately, we managed to reach our destination without being too drenched. It was a lively evening, full of laughter and delicious food!
(Izakaya food pic spam and not the last!)
Day 15 – Nagoya
Having my nails done in Japan was something I had on my bucket list, so Juliette took me to her nail artist, Shiina-san. I asked her for flowery nails inspired from china vases but with red instead of blue for the hands, then I told her to paint whatever she wanted for the toes so she went for a flowery pattern on the big toe.
(My pictures suck big time, we can’t see anything very well and sorry for my feet lol)
We ate at an izakaya again (these places are so nice, I could eat there all the time) before going to Donki! Don Quijote is a really big Japanese discount store chain open till late at night. That was an experience, I guess!
(I saw a lot of poop-themed items in Japan and also Crocs seem to be really popular there!)
Day 16 – Inuyama
Juliette drove us to Inuyama, a city nearby which is famous for its castle. We visited the said castle with a volunteer guide, but to be honest I don’t remember much after all this time… aside that the staircase was really steep! There were also a lot of samurai memorabilia exhibited. Next to the castle was also a cedar tree trunk that survived more than 6 centuries!
While looking for pictures to include in this post, I realized I didn’t take any decent picture of the castle itself, inside or outside…
We bought some souvenirs on the streets near the castle before having lunch. Then we went back to Nagoya because Juliette and I had an appointment at a beauty salon to get eyelash extensions. It was the first time for me! The result was okay but I really regretted to not have asked for longer lashes than I requested because in the end, they weren’t long enough to my taste 🙁
After browsing Loft, we ate a a family restaurant in the same mall for dinner. It’s a type of restaurant, usually a chain, where the food selection is huge and cheaper than average so you can easily bring your whole family, hence the name.
(Books at Loft + The food doesn’t look exactly super flattering but, oh well! … I live for potato salad.)
Day 17 – Gifu Prefecture, Nakatsugawa-juku
We went on a day trip to the Gifu Prefecture which neighbors Aichi. I don’t remember the name of the place we first went… but it was a good place for trekking, I guess? A lot of Japanese families were having fun walking out there in the nature.
(I wish I remembered how it is called…)
We wanted to eat nagashi somen, but ended up in a onsen resort for lunch again. This time we also got to enjoy the hot springs too! Unlike in Osaka, this was the real deal! (kind of what you see in anime or manga, if you watch any) We stayed a few hours to relax, and I really think this is a great spot for friend dates of the same gender (since men and women are separated). You can talk so much and forget that time actually passes…
In the late afternoon, Juliette drove us to Nakatsugawa, a small town in which she wanted to get chestnut cakes from a specific bakery to gift to her friends. We walked around to see how it looked like and it was super quiet!
(The streets of Nakatsukawa, the sky at sunset and miso katsu)
Quentin wanted to see how pachinko machines worked, so Juliette had her husband show him in the evening. Then, before going home, we ate dinner at a small restaurant where I ordered a miso katsu! Basically, it’s a fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) drenched in a sauce made with a specific kind of miso paste, called Hatcho miso. This dish is popular in the Aichi Prefecture.
I guess that the second leg of my Japan 2018 trip has been pretty much covered. I hope you weren’t too bored! Stay tuned for the third and last leg in Tokyo~