January 9th 2019:
One more February Café cheese toast.
Shinkansen from Shin-Imamiya to Kyoto, magnificent views of Fuji finally as we passed Fuji City – I call this series “8 Views of Fujisan from Shinkansen”. Then express on to Nara, very pleasant weather and views.
Checked into the same hot spa hotel as last trip, very nice – and got an even better deal than last time. Guessing this week demand drops a lot compared to the New Year holidays just gone. Laundry into the machine then hopped in the hot spa for a soak – could get used to this…
Wandered out through the streets of the old town Naramachi, looking for the tiny brewpub I visited last year. Came across a ‘Brighton Tea Room’, and ‘Jump The Gun’ which had lots of mods and rockers inspired fashions – quirky!
Nara Beer was still there, beer range expanded, had great chats with one of the two barmaids who was happy to practice her English (which was very good). She was studying at Nara University, and graduating and starting a job in April – similar to Yaeko, seems to be the timing here. She’d been travelling over the last few years and had holidayed in France, but was keen to come to England someday.
January 10th 2019:
Nice lie in, and Starbucks for brekkie. Set out to hike the same forest trail again, much colder than the last time I was here. Hike up the river gorge just as spectacular in winter, no snow here just chilly. Was happy to see the Kubikirijizou rest stop – this marks the end of the steepest part of the climb. Had a nice new shelter since last time, with a guest book hanging up – jotted a hello from England. Lots more pics of deer as I walked down through the complex of temples.
Stopped into LBK for a sit down and swifty (just to check they’d be open for dinner later of course!) – was great to see that they’d expanded their range of local beers from the Nara Brewing Company. Then back to the hotel to soothe my legs in the onsen. Back out in time to catch sake tasting again at Harushika in Naramachi, second of the four collectable glasses (they do one for each season, different colours).
Architecture of the old town is wonderful. If it weren’t for the lamp posts and suspended power lines, I could be back in time hundreds of years.
Funky little bar called LIGHT – interior all looks like moulded concrete but is actually screed over wood, and when you look into the rafters you see that it is still a very traditional old Japanese building. The shopping trolley tables and plastics stools were pretty funky as well.
LBK for dinner. Sadly no Wagyu beef on the menu, but the 24 hour slow cooked ribs were a treat.