Green Stand Chu-Hi Stand in The Honch

Eat and Drink, travel

I always like keeping an eye out for fresh new local establishments. A few months ago a new chu-hi stand opened in The Honch, near Yokosuka Naval Base. Well, if you know me, then you know I enjoy a good chu-hi.

Green Stand definitely catches your eye as you walk by. The glass exterior and vintage type face takes me back to some of the little independent boutiques and pubs in the hipster neighborhoods of San Diego. The interior is cozy, and offers seating at the bar, pub tables and couches. This bar is definitely great if you just want to kick back and chill, or chat.

As I’m typing this, Green Stand has 36 available flavors of chu-hi, with your choice of syrup or juice. They also allow you to mix and match. I really like mixing pineapple and coconut. They also offer other interesting flavors such as Mountain Dew, Calpis, Lychee, and Yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit). The bartenders are friendly, welcoming and attentive.

The pricing isn’t the cheapest that you’ll find in the Honch, but still reasonable. Depending on the flavor and strength of the drink you choose, you’ll be looking at between ¥400 to ¥1000. They offer snacks at the bar, but do not have a food menu.

If chu-hi isn’t your thing, they also offer a full bar and hookah!

Here’s their Facebook page: Green Stand Yokosuka

See below for a map to their location.

 

I took these pictures with my phone on a night out with some girl friends. I promise to go back and take better photos with my big girl camera and update this post with them!

 

Advertisements

Temple Hopping in Kamakura

Eat and Drink, Great Outdoors

One of the perks of not having a regular 9-5 while being here in Japan is that I have lots of time to scope out new hiking trails, places to eat, and do extensive research for upcoming travel or events.When my husband is off on the weekends, I am able to share my new discoveries with him and play tour guide… kinda.

This weekend I wanted to share the Daibutsu Hiking Course with him, so Saturday morning we hopped on the train and headed to Kamakura. (You can see a map of the trail and get detailed directions from the Kita Kamakura Station to the trail head here.)

There were a few shrines and temples in the area that I had not yet visited, or didn’t get a chance to explore the other day on our hike.

Off of the East exit of the Kita Kamakura Station is Engakuji (円覚寺), one of the leading Zen temples in eastern Japan. This beautiful temple was founded in 1282. One of the main purposes that this temples was built was to pay respect for the Japanese and Mongolian soldiers who lost their lives during the second invasion attempt by the Mongols in 1281.

Engakuji is a popular temple to see the vibrant maples that change colors in early December. When we visited, there were beautiful white and pink ume blossoms in bloom.

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting the chance to see archers practicing kyūdō, the Japanese martial art of archery. I have seen Yabusame (mounted horseback archery) at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū in Kamakura, but there was something very intimate about seeing the archers practicing in silence on a cold, quiet Saturday morning on temple grounds.

Oh, and another highlight of my day was petting this super kawaii neko (that’s kitty cat in Japanese) at the temple. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

dsc_0083-2

^ _  _ ^

Once we got back onto the main street we continued onward and stopped at Tōkei-ji. This shrine operated as a nunnery and helped women divorce their husbands in a time where it was difficult for women to initiate divorce. This temple’s beautiful garden was surprisingly scenic even at this time of year, but offers many beautiful flowers that bloom in the warmer seasons.

We finally made it to Jōchi-ji, used the restroom and visited Hotei, the god of happiness.

After completeing the hiking course, naturally we were hungry. We took the bus from just out front of The Great Buddha to Kamakura Station and took a walk down Komachi. The weather had dropped to around freezing at this point and it looked like a storm was blowing in.

We bought 2 cups of amazake (sweet hot sake made from fermented rice) from a vendor then continued our search for food. I happened to notice a very small, modest establishment on the left side of Komachi street. I have been down that street dozens of times, and it seems like there is something new to discover every time. It’s hard to notice every single business when your senses are overwhelmed by multiple story buildings, crowded streets, delicious street food and shiny objects. I wandered over to the  inconspicuous black door and slid it open. The man behind the counter waved us inside to inhabit the last 2 seats in the tiny ramen joint. Second tiniest in Japan as a matter of fact. We both ordered the regular miso ramen, which was just a little spicy and a whole lot satisfying. Sandwiched between my husband and a very friendly Japanese man, I slurped my ramen and reflected on how simplicity sometimes transcends in such a complex word. Hirano offers only 2 types of broth, soy sauce and miso, but offers an assortment of toppings to go along with your soup if you please. Here is the TripAdvisor page for Hiranohirano

In other news, We’re on the final one month countdown to our Teipei trip. I can’t wait!


More photos below!

 

Daibutsu Hiking Course and Okonomiyaki.

Eat and Drink, Great Outdoors

My girl friends and I try to get together at least once a month to get our hike on. We decided to take on the Daibutsu Hiking Course in Kamakura. This trail goes from Kita Kamakura Station to Kotoku-In (Great Buddha). I love Kamakura, but surprisingly I hadn’t hiked this trail yet. This is an easy hike, and would be suitable for kids. We also saw a few dogs on the trail as well. See below for a map of the course.

To start, we met at Kita Kamakura station from the JR Line and took the West exit, made a left onto the main street and then a right at Jochiji Temple. To get the the trail, we kept on the road to the left of the temple to the stairs. Head up the stairs into the hills, and you’ll be on your way to a scenic and relaxing hike. Be sure to bring enough yen for entry to the various shines and temples along the way.

DSC_0025 (2).JPG

dsc_0056-2dsc_0061-2

This hike took us about 3 hours start to finish because we stopped to take lots of photos, explore and stopped at Genjiyama Park for snacks, but it tkes most people 60 to 90 minutes. Once you get to Kuzuharagaoka Shrine and Genjiyama Park, be sure to keep an eye out for Fujisan on the right hand side of the road at the view point. This day was extremely clear, so of course we took advantage of the photo op of the majestic mountain.

DSC_0099 (2).JPG

dsc_0072-2dsc_0081-2

dsc_0083-2

Masaruishi

dsc_0086-2

From Genjiyama Park, we continued on the main road. A small detour to the left will take you to the statue of Minamoto Yoritomo. Minamoto was the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate of Japan.

dsc_0140-2dsc_0141-2DSC_0138 (2).JPG

Heading back out to the main road, you can continue straight out of the park where the statue is located and continue onto the Daibutsu Course, or take a short detour to the left. This will take you to the Zeniarai Benten Shrine. You will see the entrance to this shrine on the right hand side through a stone tunnel. Here you can wash your money to “increase it many times and come back to you”.

dsc_0145-2dsc_0147-2dsc_0160-2

After exiting this shrine, you may make a left back the way you came and continue to the left to get back onto the Daibutsu Course. From here, it’s just another 20 to 25 minutes of walking to the end of the trail. After descending a few steep stairs, the trial will put you out on Route 32 near Kotoku-In and The Great Buddha.

dsc_0193-2

We were feeling pretty hungry by this point so we continued onto Route 32 and mapped out an okonomiyaki joint on the same street as Hase-dera. Sometaro offered an English menu (which is always very nice) accompanied with excellent service. We enjoyed pork kimchi okonomiyaki, shrimp okonomiyaki, chorizo yakisoba and of course a cold draft beer (or two). You can check out Sometaro’s information on TripAdvisor here.

Heading back down 32 towards Hase Station, we stumbled upon a coffee stand… er, van. A man selling slow drip coffee to order out of the back of his adorable van, surrounded by hip decor and books called Idobata. Check out the Facebook page here. A girls gotta have her coffee, so we stopped there too then proceeded to Hase Station and took the Enoden Line back to Kamakura Station.

dsc_0247-2

My heart swells with happiness when I think about how fortunate I have been to meet the women that I have here in Japan. Whether it’s a hike, a 5K or just a good dinner, I have such a great time enjoying life with my new friends.


Be sure to check out more random photos below from this trip.

Kinugasayama and Me.

Great Outdoors

Now that the weather is cooler, I have no excuse to not lug around my camera and take more photos to share. Actually, right now is the perfect time for shooting pictures because the leaves are changing into beautiful gold, yellow and crimson. I am by no means a professional or even experienced photographer, but I do like to write about my adventures so I figure learning the basics of photography and shooting photos can only enhance my blogging.

Today I took the later half of the afternoon to myself and went to the large an breathtakingly gorgeous park nearest to our home. Kinugasayama offers dozens of trails that are sure to please any nature lover. Lush green trees and bamboo line the trails that take you atop the small mountain complete with an ocean back drop and Yokohama in the distance. On a clear day, you can see Fujisan from the observation tower. I haven’t been so lucky (even though I have stood at the summit).

Throughout the park are woodcarvings of different animals and creatures which adds even more charm and quirkiness to Kinugasayama.

The park is especially beautiful in the Spring time when the sakura (cherry blossoms) are in bloom.