Eat local: Ōmi-chō Market and Morimori Sushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

One of the 170 vendors in the famed Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, that has been supporting Kanazawa’s gastronomic culture since the middle of the 18th century

One of the 170 vendors in the famed Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, that has been supporting Kanazawa’s gastronomic culture since the middle of the 18th century

 

From our ship in the port, one day in Kanazawa we headed downtown mid-day and went to the famed Ōmi-chō Market where there is a dizzying array of local produce and fresh seafood.  We planned our time there so we could get a number at Morimori Sushi (restaurant) and shop while we waited for our turn to be seated (see below).  The market has directly supported Kanazawa’s gastronomic culture since the middle of the 18th century.  It has more than 170 vendors selling local delicacies, clothing, fruits, Kaga vegetables, seafood and meats.  Additionally, there are several restaurants and ramen shops within the market building.  We splurged at the market and bought some beautiful sliced wagy-like beef for a home cooked dinner in our apartment, with special local mushrooms and fresh vegetables.

 

An array of beautiful (and colorful) fresh produce at a vendor’s stall in Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

An array of beautiful (and colorful) fresh produce at a vendor’s stall in Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Notice the packaging of these melons – quite special, with prices to match (US$18 to US$30, EACH!) -- Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Notice the packaging of these melons – quite special, with prices to match (US$18 to US$30, EACH!) — Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

While you’re splurging, how about one crab for US$80? -- Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

While you’re splurging, how about one crab for US$80? — Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Then there’s the wagyu-like beef slices, which are about US$40 per pound (it’s actually priced in Japanese Yen per kilogram (2.2 pounds)), Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Then there’s the wagyu-like beef slices, which are about US$40 per pound (it’s actually priced in Japanese Yen per kilogram (2.2 pounds)), Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

We ended up paying about US7.50 for one of these special local mushrooms to accompany our lightly pan seared (in lard in a cast iron skillet) wagyu-like beef

We ended up paying about US7.50 for one of these special local mushrooms to accompany our lightly pan seared (in lard in a cast iron skillet) wagyu-like beef slices – it was quite different from button mushrooms and porcini and king mushrooms, and had a nice spiciness; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Morimori Sushi is Kanazawa’s most recommended conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, offering sushi of outstanding freshness; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Morimori Sushi is Kanazawa’s most recommended conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, offering sushi of outstanding freshness; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan – here the intrepid traveler is receiving a platter of specially ordered tuna (maguro and toro) for lunch

 

Morimori Sushi is Kanazawa’s most recommended conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, offering sushi of outstanding freshness.  We were forewarned that there is always a line to get in, so we arrived earlier than our desired luncheon time, put in our names, got a ticket with a number, and then shopped in Ōmi-chō market for a half hour before our turn came up to be seated at the counter.  In addition to selecting items from the conveyer belt, diners can (and we mostly did) order from an online iPad menu.

 

Tuna (five kinds, including toro (fatty tuna belly)) on a platter at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Tuna (five kinds, including toro (fatty tuna belly)) on a platter at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Delicious, sweet shrimp (ebi) sushi at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Delicious, sweet shrimp (ebi) sushi at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

It has to be special when you pay US$23 for five nicely boxed apple pears at the Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

It has to be special when you pay US$23 for five nicely boxed apple pears at the Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Local seafood delicacies and other prepared foods, including tofu; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Local seafood delicacies and other prepared foods, including tofu; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

We saw only one sake store in all of Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

We saw only one sake store in all of Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

We returned to our favorite food vendor from our previous visit, selling yellowtail tataki and salmon tataki, which we had thoroughly enjoyed – this time we bought several (frozen and vacuum packed, so it travels well!); Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa

We returned to our favorite food vendor from our previous visit, selling yellowtail tataki and salmon tataki, which we had thoroughly enjoyed – this time we bought several (frozen and vacuum packed, so it travels well!); Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan [Tataki is a Japanese food preparation method where the meat or fish is very briefly seared over a hot flame (or in a pan) and then thinly sliced and seasoned with ginger (ground or pounded) and served with soy sauce and garnishes, like sashimi.]

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Otomezushi , Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The charming wooden exterior of the excellent (but hidden from street view) sushi restaurant, Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, where we enjoyed an outstanding luncheon

The charming wooden exterior of the excellent (but hidden from street view) sushi restaurant, Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, where we enjoyed an outstanding luncheon

 

After our self-guided walking tour of Kenrokuen Garden, we walked over to the Naga-machi (old samurai) neighborhood, where, with the guidance of Google maps, we were able to walk behind a fence along a hidden path by a hostel to find a jewel of a sushi restaurant, Otomezushi.  Luckily, we had made a reservation considerably in advance of our arrival in Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, as the sushi counter has only eight coveted seats and the restaurant has just a few small tables in the adjacent small dining room.  We were greeted by a very friendly sushi chef behind the counter who spoke some English and made us feel right at home, leaving the menu selection (8 pieces of sushi for lunch, plus soup and beverages) up to him – omakase.  Our hour-plus luncheon turned out to be some of the best sushi we have ever eaten.  Back on the ship a little reading online brought us several critical reviews noting that Otomezushi is not only the best sushi restaurant in Kanazawa (a city of nearly 500,000), but is considered one of the best sushi restaurants in Japan.

 

We were mesmerized by the skills of the master sushi chef (we were seated at the center of the counter, giving us bulls-eye dead center seats for watching the preparation of all sushi for the restaurant over lunch), and, being surrounded by all Japanese diners, felt it would be inappropriate to photograph the individual servings of sushi.  The chef did agree to let me take a couple of photographs at the end of the meal.  Unfortunately, the photographs can’t fully convey how fresh the seafood was and the expertise of the chef in cutting and preparing the fish and seafood, rolling the rice, and then adding wasabi, sauces and garnishes to each individual piece of sushi.  Definitely the best uni we have ever eaten, and the toro (super fatty tuna) was right up there, too.  A fabulous experience (both the theater of watching all the preparations and the enjoyment of the superb sushi) – and we were very pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the total bill was.  Otomezushi gets our highest recommendation.

 

The master sushi chef preparing individual pieces of sushi – our seats were at the counter, right in front of the chef; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The master sushi chef preparing individual pieces of sushi – our seats were at the counter, right in front of the chef; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The chef’s sushi knife and a selection of fresh fish and prawns in the cooler at the preparation counter, viewed from our seats; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The chef’s sushi knife and a selection of fresh fish and prawns in the cooler at the preparation counter, viewed from our seats; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The master sushi chef preparing calamari by scoring the surface in several directions – it was amazingly tender; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The master sushi chef preparing calamari by scoring the surface in several directions – it was amazingly tender; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

A broader view of the selection of fresh fish and seafood in the coolers at the preparation counter; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A broader view of the selection of fresh fish and seafood in the coolers at the preparation counter; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Art Pilgrimage, Naoshima (near Takamatsu), Japan

The traditional Torii gate on one of the beaches of Naoshima, Japan, near the Benesse House Museum on the south shore is quite traditional – in stark contrast to the modern art and arc

The traditional Torii gate on one of the beaches of Naoshima, Japan, near the Benesse House Museum on the south shore is quite traditional – in stark contrast to the modern art and architecture that has followed the development of the area around it into a modern art center

 

On our last day in Takamatsu, Japan, we walked from our ship to the ferry pier and caught a high-speed ferry to the island of Naoshima.  Despite its diminutive size, this tranquil isle in the Seto Inland Sea draws nearly 800,000 art lovers each year.  Naoshima boasts several exceptional art museums (such as Chichu Art Museum and Lee Ufan Museum) and the Benesse House, a combination of hotel and museum designed by acclaimed architect Tadao Ando.  There is also the Ando Museum – a traditional Japanese country-style residence with a completely new (concrete) interior that holds the museum displays under the original wooden roof — that has excellent explanations and images of the various Ando projects on the island and a replica of his most famous project, the “Church of the Light”.  Part of Kagawa Prefecture, the island with its Mediterranean atmosphere, sandy beaches and sunny weather, combined with a laid back, rural feel is a relaxing getaway from Japan’s large urban areas.  Unfortunately, photography was not permitted in any of the museums, so we just have images of some of the outdoor art works and vistas. The Benesse Foundation web site, however, does contain many excellent images of the museum and artwork: benesse-artsite.jp

 

Entrance to the Lee Ufan Museum, celebrating art works by the Korean artist in a stunning building by architect Tadao Ando, Naoshima, Japan

Entrance to the Lee Ufan Museum, celebrating art works by the Korean artist in a stunning building by architect Tadao Ando, Naoshima, Japan

 

The view from the hill between the Lee Ufan Museum and the Benesse House Museum with the sculpture “Time Exposed Norwegian Sea”, 1990 [black and yellow boats] by Hiroshi Sugimoto and

The view from the hill between the Lee Ufan Museum and the Benesse House Museum with the sculpture “Time Exposed Norwegian Sea”, 1990 [black and yellow boats] by Hiroshi Sugimoto and a rock sculpture garden visible, Naoshima, Japan

A sculpture on one of the terraces of the Benesse House Museum, exterior to the museum_s restaurant where we had a delicious traditional Japanese lunch, Naoshima, Japan

A sculpture on one of the terraces of the Benesse House Museum, exterior to the museum’s restaurant where we had a delicious traditional Japanese lunch, Naoshima, Japan

 

A Bento box lunch served at the restaurant in the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan

A Bento box lunch served at the restaurant in the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan

 

A close up of some of the dishes in the Bento box lunch served at the restaurant in the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan

A close up of some of the dishes in the Bento box lunch served at the restaurant in the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan

 

“Three Squares Vertical Diagonal”, 1972-1982, by George Rickey on the shoreline below the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan

“Three Squares Vertical Diagonal”, 1972-1982, by George Rickey on the shoreline below the Benesse House Museum, Naoshima, Japan

 

“Cat”, 1991, by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Benesse House Park, Naoshima, Japan

“Cat”, 1991, by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Benesse House Park, Naoshima, Japan

 

“La Conversation”, 1991, with “Camel”, 1991, by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Benesse House Park, Naoshima, Japan

“La Conversation”, 1991, with “Camel”, 1991, by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Benesse House Park, Naoshima, Japan

 

The most famous of all of the sculptures on Naoshima, Japan, is “Pumpkin”, 1994, by Yayoi Kusama – it is to the island what the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco: the locale’s icon

 

We found this description of a day on the island to be very apropos:

“A remote island with stunning underground architecture.

A massive crypt lined with copper bars, a colossal sphere at its center.

Mazes made of stone that lead from one underground chamber to another, each differing in shape and size.

I didn’t expect my visit to the Japanese “art island” of Naoshima to remind me of the world of Myst, the computer game I played as a child.

It’s been more than a decade since I played the game, but that strange, beautifully desolate island and the eerie feeling of wandering around it alone have stayed with me.

Exploring Naoshima’s underground galleries, I was reminded again and again of Myst’s mysterious mechanical structures, right down to the discovery of ‘puzzles’ that visitors are meant to figure out on their own.

Magnificent architecture

Some 3,000 islands dot the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, which separates Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, three of the four main islands of Japan.

While many of those islands remain quiet and uninhabited, Naoshima has been turned into one of the most remarkable art and architecture destinations in the world.

Visitors often refer to it as “Ando Island,” since most of the structures on the island were designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando.

A museum designed by and dedicated to the renowned architect is also located on the island.

Naoshima’s transformation into a unique art project began in 1987, when Soichiro Fukutake, the chairman of Fukutake Publishing, now known as the Benesse Holdings, Inc., purchased the south side of the island.

Enlisted by Fukutake to supervise development on the southern portion of the island, Ando went to work over the next two decades designing a hotel complex and museums.

Adhering to his guiding principle of designing buildings that follow the natural forms of landscapes, Ando’s buildings on the island blend into or are built into the earth, some of them opening up to the sky.

‘Perfect balance of light, sound, space, color’

Some of Ando’s buildings became part of the Benesse Art Site Naoshima (BASN), which showcases major artworks acquired by the company over the past decades.

Since 1995, many of those pieces have been created specifically for the island.

That same year, the company established the Benesse Prize at the Venice Biennale, commissioning winners to create works specifically for BASN, which includes Naoshima and the nearby islands of Teshima and Inujima.

Just as the art has been designed for the island, the buildings that house the works have been designed to maximize the impact of the art.

Opened in 2004, the island’s Chichu Art Museum showcases its collection in spectacular and unexpected ways.

In the museum’s Claude Monet Space, a vast, pure white underground chamber is made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny stone tiles.

The dazzling while tiles perfectly show off the enormous blue and violet paintings on each wall. Visitors remove their shoes at the entrance and are given soft slippers.

When I visited, I was the only person in the room (not counting an attendant who stood in a corner as still as a sculpture).

The space gleams white from the natural light peering through a white stone ceiling.

It was the same everywhere I went on the island — quiet, stupefying displays of beauty and art with breathtaking sea or landscapes in the background. Visitor numbers are restricted throughout the exhibitions.

‘They’ve managed to create a perfect balance of light, sound, space, color and proportion, which makes the experience transcendent and unforgettable,’ says Rhea Karam, a New York-based fine arts photographer at work on a project inspired by Naoshima.

The same as I did, Karam found the Claude Monet Space a shock.

‘Growing up in Paris, I was very familiar with Monet’s work and accustomed to seeing it everywhere to the point that I wasn’t particularly interested when I heard he was displayed in the Chichu Art Museum’, says Karam.

‘The unbelievable, almost holistic presentation of Monet’s Water Lily paintings made me see them in a light I had never before experienced.'” – by Francis Cha, for CNN; www.cnn.com

 

As we approached the port of Takamatsu on the return ferry ride from Naoshima, we could see our ship docked along the city_s skyline

As we approached the port of Takamatsu on the return ferry ride from Naoshima, we could see our ship docked along the city’s skyline

 

Kanazawa shrines, Honshu Island, Japan

Visitors coming in (uphill) from the Kenroku-en garden or Kanazawa Castle first see this pond and its alluring wooden walkways and footbridge, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island

Visitors coming in (uphill) from the Kenroku-en garden or Kanazawa Castle first see this pond and its alluring wooden walkways and footbridge, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

As one of the most well-preserved Edo-period cities in the country, Kanazawa is a destination rich in history and culture. Because its culture, architecture, food and ambience are very similar to Kyoto, it is also known as “little Kyoto” to the Japanese.

 

The main gate, constructed in 1875, is a peculiar mix of traditional Japanese, Chinese and European religious architectural elements, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The main gate, constructed in 1875, is a peculiar mix of traditional Japanese, Chinese and European religious architectural elements, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The main shrine building, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The main shrine building, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Oyama Shrine (尾山神社 Oyama-jinja) is a Shinto Shrine in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. The shrine was established in 1599 in Utatsuyama (卯辰山), east of Kanazawa. It was moved to its present location in 1873 and renamed to Oyama-jinja. The main gate was constructed in 1875. This gate is a peculiar mix of traditional Japanese, Chinese and European religious architectural elements. The gate is 25 metres (82 feet) high including the lightning rod. The third floor is particular famous for its Dutch stained-glass windows. It is said that the third floor was also used as a lighthouse. The gate was designated an Important Cultural Asset on August 29, 1950.” — Wikipedia

 

One of a pair of Japanese temple guard “lions” by the main gate, with cherry blossoms beginning to bloom, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

One of a pair of Japanese temple guard “lions” by the main gate, with cherry blossoms beginning to bloom, Oyama Jinja Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

A Torii Gate (which separates the sacred from the secular grounds) seen from the outside of the Ozaki Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A Torii Gate (which separates the sacred from the secular grounds) seen from the outside of the Ozaki Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Ozaki Shrine (尾崎神社) is one of the beautiful shrines that has many old buildings. It is located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture. It was built in Kitanomaru, a part of Kanazawa castle. Most of the buildings are constructed in 1643 and registered as the cultural important assets.” – http://www.mustlovejapan.com

 

The Torii Gate at the entrance to Ozaki Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The Torii Gate at the entrance to Ozaki Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The main shrine building, Ozaki Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The main shrine building, Ozaki Shrine, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Third generation sushi chef and owner, Kazuhisa Yoshida, at Sentori-Sushi (restaurant) with his father, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; we had a truly outstanding sushi lunch at the coun

Third generation sushi chef and owner, Kazuhisa Yoshida, at Sentori-Sushi (restaurant) with his father, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; we had a truly outstanding sushi lunch at the counter (there is no table service) with some fish new to us, such as trumpetfish (yes, the same fish that I had photographed underwater in Vanuatu only a month before)

 

Contemporary building and reflection, downtown Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Contemporary building and reflection, downtown Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Local dancers and flag bearers gave us a rousing sendoff performance for the last half-hour at the pier – great enthusiasm and exciting music, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; the warm

Local dancers and flag bearers gave us a rousing sendoff performance for the last half-hour at the pier – great enthusiasm and exciting music, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; the warm welcome by people all over the city was appreciated by all of us and we collectively look forward to our next visit

 

Eat local: Sushi dinner (Kaiseki), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Our group enjoyed an outstanding nine-course Kaiseki dinner with special pairings of sake made by the top sake producer in the Kanazawa region, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu I

Our group enjoyed an outstanding nine-course Kaiseki dinner with special pairings of sake made by the top sake producer in the Kanazawa region, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

One of the highlights of our visit to Kanazawa on the “mainland of Japan” (Honshu Island) was the opportunity for a group of about 30 of us from the ship to gather at a local restaurant near the city’s Eastern Geisha District (Higashi-chaya-gai) for an outstanding nine-course Kaiseki dinner with special pairings of sake made by the top sake producer in the Kanazawa region.  We were hosted by the owner of the restaurant and the sake master who explained (via our translator) each of the special sakes we had paired with courses of our dinner.

 

Each place setting was a lacquered tray with chopsticks, sake glasses and water; Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; each course was served on the tray with refills o

Each place setting was a lacquered tray with chopsticks, sake glasses and water; Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; each course was served on the tray with refills of sake

 

Kaiseki (懐石) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.  The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and is analogous to Western haute cuisine…  In the present day, kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food.  To this end, only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and are prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavor.  Local ingredients are often included as well.  Finished dishes are carefully presented on plates that are chosen to enhance both the appearance and the seasonal theme of the meal.  Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and flowers, as well as edible garnishes designed to resemble natural plants and animals…  Kaiseki consists of a sequence of dishes, each often small and artistically arranged…  Originally, kaiseki comprised a bowl of miso soup and three side dishes; this is now instead the standard form of Japanese-style cuisine generally, referred to as a セット (setto, “set”).  Kaiseki has since evolved to include an appetizer, sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish, and a steamed course.” — Wikipedia

 

Your blogger_s first course, “Japanese citrus with several clams, Urchin, Salmon roe” was served without the Japanese citrus (grapefruit) shown in the first photograph, Kaiseki (su

Your blogger’s first course, “Japanese citrus with several clams, Urchin, Salmon roe” was served without the Japanese citrus (grapefruit) shown in the first photograph, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Steamed sea bass” wrapped in a leaf, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Steamed sea bass” wrapped in a leaf, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

A close up of the “Steamed sea bass”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A close up of the “Steamed sea bass”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Clam soup”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Clam soup”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

A complex course with a number of ingredients – “White meat fish, squid, tuna, Bottan shrimp pickled Chinese wine”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A complex course with a number of ingredients – “White meat fish, squid, tuna, Bottan shrimp pickled Chinese wine”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Conger Eel and fresh bamboo shoot”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Conger Eel and fresh bamboo shoot”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Globefish jerry, sesame seed tofu, Crab sushi, sillago with urchin; Fried wild vegetable”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Globefish jerry, sesame seed tofu, Crab sushi, sillago with urchin; Fried wild vegetable”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Our fourth sake, paired with warm dishes, was Juku-Shu [Momotose] Gonenn – “As the name of JUKU-SHU, this type has deep rich aroma and flavor taste. This kind is mostly made like a

Our fourth sake, paired with warm dishes, was Juku-Shu [Momotose] Gonenn – “As the name of JUKU-SHU, this type has deep rich aroma and flavor taste. This kind is mostly made like a wine leave while after finish all the process. That makes the taste more deep.”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan; the sake maker noted that the sake was aged for 5 years in French oak, very unusual for sake (it tasted akin to a sherry)

“Jibuni, Duck with lily bulb, Japanese parsley”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Jibuni, Duck with lily bulb, Japanese parsley”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

“Steamed rice with small fish [whitebait]”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Steamed rice with small fish [whitebait]”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A close up of “Steamed rice with small fish [whitebait]”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A close up of “Steamed rice with small fish [whitebait]”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Bracken starch with white strawberry [and red strawberries]”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

“Bracken starch with white strawberry [and red strawberries]”, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The view of the walkway through the property as we headed back to the Eastern Geisha District (Higashi-chaya-gai) to catch our van for our return to our ship, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kan

The view of the walkway through the property as we headed back to the Eastern Geisha District (Higashi-chaya-gai) to catch our van for our return to our ship, Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The view of Kanazawa from the property on the hill, as we left after dinner -- Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The view of Kanazawa from the property on the hill, as we left after dinner — Kaiseki (sushi dinner), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Eat local: Sushi in Arita, Kyushu, Japan

The exterior of the Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan, where we had an excellent lunch; fortunately we had requested our local guide to make a reservation for us and she showed us

The exterior of the Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan, where we had an excellent lunch; fortunately we had requested our local guide to make a reservation for us and she showed us where to walk to – otherwise, we wouldn’t have had a clue what was behind the screen and how good the luncheon would be!

 

We spent an entire day exploring Arita and the porcelains that have given the city its moniker as “the cradle of the Japanese porcelain industry”.  For lunch we asked our local guide to make a reservation at the city’s best sushi restaurant (a table for 8).  Because there were too many of us to sit at the counter at the restaurant and order each piece of sushi directly with the sushi chef, we had a table in a side room that was made private by the placement of portable screens.  As is customary in this case, with a larger group, we had a set lunch which that was served to us as we arrived.  Everything was extremely fresh and quite tasty.  The staff spoke no English, so we were fortunate to have in our group the Australian art dealer, consultant, and lecturer who has lived in Japan for 30 years and is fluent in Japan (his specialty is Japanese art, particularly ceramics) who is lecturing on the ship and was guiding us on this destination experience.

 

The sushi chef-owner of the sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan, was very happy that we thoroughly enjoyed our wonderful luncheon

The sushi chef/owner of the sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan, was very happy that we thoroughly enjoyed our wonderful luncheon

 

Our starters included cuddlefish stuffed with its roe, soft tofu and a Japanese salad at the Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan; the fruit was a light dessert

Our starters included cuddlefish stuffed with its roe, soft tofu and a Japanese salad at the Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan; the fruit was a light dessert

 

In addition to a beautiful plate of freshly prepared sushi, we had a pot of Chawanmushi (steamed savoury egg custard) and hot green tea, Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan

In addition to a beautiful plate of freshly prepared sushi, we had a pot of Chawanmushi (steamed savory egg custard) and hot green tea, Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan

 

Chawanmushi is a traditional Japanese appetizer made from steamed savory egg custard and full of fillings such as prawns, ginkgo nuts, kamaboko steamed fish cake, shiitake mushrooms and spring onions.  Chawanmushi is traditionally served in a small Japanese tea cup.

 

Shown here are the uni (a sea urchin's gonads), sake (salmon), fatty tuna, maguro (tuna), cooked egg, prawn, himmachi and roe pieces of sushi for our lunch at the Sushi restaurant in Ari

Shown here are the uni (a sea urchin’s gonads), sake (salmon), fatty tuna, maguro (tuna), cooked egg, prawn, himmachi and roe pieces of sushi for our lunch at the Sushi restaurant in Arita, Kyushu, Japan