Thursday, July 8, 2010


After a wonderful night's sleep at Hide-san and Choco-san's beautiful home in the Alps, we had a delicious home-cooked breakfast before heading out to check out a Sake factory. The Sake factory is in a building which used to be some one's home, so as always, the inside was simple, and there was a beautiful Japanese garden. We got to try all different kinds of sake from sweet to dry...they were all very good.

After that, we headed over to the Suntory Whiskey Factory which is set in the middle of a's so pretty there. We toured the factory, and got to sample some of the whiskey. If the name Suntory may sound familiar to you, its probably because you heard Bill Murray say it in the 2003 hit Lost in Translation - "For relaxing times, make it Suntory times." Next we went to see Matsumoto-jo Castle in the town of Matsumoto. Matsumoto-jo (started in 1505) is nicknamed Karasu-jo or Crow Castle for its black walls. This castle was very interesting to see, because unlike any of the other ones we saw one the trip, we were allowed inside of Matsumoto-jo. I have to tell you, however, that it's quite a climb up to the top as there are very steep stairs. But, it's all worth it when you get to the top and can look out onto the gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains.
We had certainly worked up a bit of an appetite after the climb and headed to this nearby restaurant for some ice cream. I am not that much of an ice cream person, but the ice cream in Japan was some of the best I have ever was so creamy.For dinner that night we went to a restaurant back in Kobuchizawa that only serves eel.
You must be prepared to wait awhile for your food, as the eel is pulled from the tank and prepared fresh to order. The eel came prepared two ways, one was pan fried in a sweet sauce and was served over white rice...The other was grilled and served with a piece of line and some fresh sahved wasabi...both were amazing beyond belief!!! The day in the Alps was one of the best in Japan. It was so incredible to have the personal tour guides of Hide-San, Choco-San and Annika, showing us the best of this part of the country from the sites to the the food. Stay tuned for a little more from Kobuchizawa, and also our visit to Mt. Fuji!

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