Nagoya and Inuyama

31 07 2009

Day 1 of our summer kansai holidays:

We took all local trains from Kisarazu (where we had to run for the bus to the station because we were running late) to Nagoya, making transfers at Tokyo, Shinagawa, Atai, Shizuoka and a couple other stops. Since we are not tourists (we have working visas, not tourist visas) we don’t qualify for the JR pass so the expensive shinkansen was not an option. We bought the seishun juhatchi kippu which is a seasonal pass for 5 non-consecutive days that allows unlimited travel on local trains for a day (i.e. you can go from Tokyo to Fukuoka for Y2300). We arrived in Nagoya around 6pm after 9 hours of travel. We picked up a map at the info centre before walking to Osu Kannon temple. We wandered down the Osu Kannon shopping streets to a restaurant called Chen Fu, but it had closed down in May. oh no! So we caught the subway to another restaurant (a little hard to find as it wasn’t on a main street) called Sorairo Magatama. It had a nice homey atmosphere and was vegan and organic. We had dinner of pasta and the fried vegetable set. It was rather late by the time we caught the train to Asahi and stayed with our awesome couch surfing hosts, Kyle and Lacey.

Day 2: After a big sleep in (needed especially since Benno hadn’t slept at all the night before we left) we caught the train into Nagoya central. We visited Atsuta shrine, but the temple itself was shut for renovations. The grounds were still lovely for walking in. Then we went for lunch at Kataron, where we had the lunch set and the fried soy set with an interesting roasted golden syrup flavoured jelly. Then we caught the subway up to Inuyama. We visited Inuyama Jo, the oldest standing original castle in Japan. The stairways were really steep. They had some interesting samurai armour on display, and the view from the top floor balcony was pretty good. We had to walk barefoot through the castle to preserve the wooden floors- just glad they didn’t break under our weight!
Walking back down the hill we passed through some shrines dedicated to dogs (inu). Then we caught the train a few stops to Tagatajinjamae station, walked the 5 minutes to Tagata shrine and saw the sacred object (a giant wooden penis). There were stones and carvings scattered throughout the grounds of balls and penises.
Then we went back to Nagoya for dinner at MosBurger where we had the vegan rice burger (the patty is a grilled rice patty), and adzuki bean icecreams from the supermarket.