Now that the Thailand posts are finished we can go back and add our stuff from Japan.
First, we decided to head over to our local temple for New Year’s Day. In Japan, the first temple visit of the year is very important, so there was a huge line out front.
The local mikoshi (the portable shrine) is also brought out for viewing, but not paraded around.
Traditionally, the previous year’s decorations are burned in a big fire on the temple grounds:
Finally, we decided to eat at a new restaurant that opened up in our train station. They specialize in Udon noodles and Chazuke (rice served in a hot tea and/or dashi based broth). So, perfect winter-time food.The udon broth was a bit different from what we’ve had in the past. It was spiced in a certain way that gave it a gritty texture. Maybe it had a bit of beef broth mixed in with the dashi stock.
Below is what Susannah got, which was a half and half meal, each chazuke having 150g of rice (you get to specify how much rice when you order). On the right there is the salmon and ikura (salmon roe) topping; on the left is the yuba (tofu skin), simmered baby sardines, and some greens. She loved them both, but was surprised to find she preferred the yuba bowl since it was so well balanced.
If you ever end up in Oimachi station, try the Chasuke place by the entrance to the Oimachi line! Just stick to the chazuke…