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Strawberry picking in Japan

On March 11th we decided to go and pick some fresh strawberries with our friends in Japan.

It turned out mid-March is about the right time to go strawberry picking in Japan, also all sorts of strawberry dishes and candies start to appear everywhere.

Strawberry farm
Here we have just arrived to the "farm" and preparing to pay for the joy.

The cost is 1600 yen for 30 minutes of "all you can eat" picking per person.

Strawberry hothouses

Strawberry hothouses
The actual farm is just three (pretty long) hothouses in the middle of nowhere.

Strawberry hothouse
We've got this one all to ourselves Wink

Explanation on which strawberries to pick
First - explanations: Only pick strawberries that are all red, if the top part is still white, it has not ripened yet.

Strawberry hothouse
And so we started.

Strawberry

Strawberry
Strawberries were really sweet, and tasty. I had not such good ones for quite a while.

Strawberry hothouse
Before long 30 minutes were over, so the last glance at the place.

From there we went to Koyama - a small shopping district centered around chocolate factory in Sanda.

Line to get some sweets
Jams and macaroons shop.

Something
Preparation of something sweet, I guess.

Koyama factory
Cake shop that we stood in a long line to get into.

Puding
Aside from cakes we also bought a pudding.

fireplace

Fireplace
Very cute fireplace just outside of the cake shop.

Quiche
Quiche with salad that had strawberry cause in it in a nearby restaurant.

Chocolate cake and icecream

Strawberry cake and icecream
We also got some cakes.

manhole cover
Sanda water manhole

From there we went to a sushi place.

kama toro
There's not much to tell you about sushi except they had this KAMA TORO that was super awesome. At 500 yen per piece it almost rivaled Kobe beef to me.

sushi-candy
Sushi candies Wink

After sushi we returned back to our hotel with the idea that we'll go to a nice onsen place the next day.

Staircase with calorie numbers
Interesting note - staircases sometimes have energy spent notes on them to encourage people to climb them more as a form of exercise, I guess.

We have arrived to onsen town Arima.

Making sweets Making sweets
Locally famous rice cookies (senbei) made by street vendors.

Sweets
Pretty tasty.

Really old house wall
A really old wooden siding we saw while walking around.

onsen

Finally onsen. This is kinsen stream - golden water.

There's also a ginsen stream that is 'silver water", that is in fact totally clear.

Water is mildly radioactive due to radon which locals believe is beneficial.

onsen
Somewhat unexpectedly this was totally outside, not quite the onsen idea I had in my mind.

manju

manju
Bean-filled manju buns.

arima street
Narrow Arima street.

Spring water pump
Ginsen pump.

sanda beef
Arima is also close to Sanda that also markets their beef (also in Hyogo prefecture, same as Kobe).

sanda beef

statue
Statue celebrating visit of Japanese emperor to Arima long time ago.

Tofu doughnuts
Tofu doughnuts shop.

Strawberry Tofu doughnuts
Ksusha decided to get Strawberry tofu doughnut.

Arima
Final glance at Arima as we were preparing to depart.

Next we went to Kobe to get some Kobe beef for dinner. We chose a famous Moria restaurant this time.

Moria restaurant
For some odd reason, they have a lot of signs in Russian over there. We asked and they said the owner just likes the characters, but there is no other connection to Russia.

Additional oddity is that the name is actually misspelled in Russian too.

Moria starter
A starter.

frying garlic
Preparations start with frying some garlic to make garlic chips.

Kobe beef
We ordered a bit of sirloin and a bit of tenderloin.

Beef frying

Tenderloin

Sirloin

Very nice dinner. I wish we could have such ones more frequently.

Moria Restaurant
Since we visited a bit early fearing the crowds, we were the only guests at the restaurant Wink

Traditional seasonal sweets
And this is some sort of a traditional seasonal sweets that Ksusha had back at the hotel.

This concludes the two interesting days in Kansai region.

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