Thursday, December 2, 2010

slow train to tokyo

after a few days spent luxuriating in the ryokans, it was time to move on to the city. tokyo will always have a special place in my heart, and i've nothing but happy memories of my time there.

oh! hang on! there is one distressing (read: cringe-inducing) memory that my darling siblings never fail to remind me of. if you know them and successfully bribe them, you just might get the full story but otherwise i'm afraid i'm not about to kiss and tell. suffice to say, i've thankfully managed to 'reclaim' tokyo and restore my long-term love affair with the city.

stayed as long after check-out as we could, then made the 5h trek to tokyo on the slowest possible train. reached asakusa after dusk and my muscle memory kicked in as i navigated us to ginza. well, it wasn't so hard, really. ginza line to ginza then hibiya line to hibiya. all in a day's work ;)

it's such a cliche and i feel a little over-indulged for saying this but i love ginza. always have and always will. everything i could possibly want from tokyo is within that tiny area. and everything else, like fresh fresh fish, is a 10minute walk towards tsukiji.

this, incidentally, is also the last post on mysterymeatballs because i've run out of photo storage space. undeterred, the swede life is moving here with the rest of the tokyo posts. please move with me? :) it's been a good run but to quote dorothy, 'toto, something tells me we're not in stockholm anymore...'

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

morning ramble honke bankyu

between my public onsen, private onsen then checkout, there was some time to kill before taking the bus to the station. made the most of the glorious autumn day and went on a ramble. oh! doesn't that sound so very english? :) the autumn colours were amazinggg and my lungs felt so clean inhaling the fresh mountain air.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

early start honke bankyu

all too soon it was time to leave the countryside and head into the city.
there was no shinkansen so the slow train it was!

but before leaving for tokyo, we went on a little ramble through the leaves.

Monday, November 29, 2010

library honke bankyu

dinner was at 6pm and we were done reasonably early. vegged out in the library, got my internet fix and started uploading photos. i may or may not have been a little tipsy when i logged onto the ryokan computer. this may or may not have been caused by a bit too much sake. and i may or may not have said some very indecent things over adium. so if we happened to have been online at the same time, and i happened to have IM-ed you in a most out-of-character manner, with salacious comments and off-colour observations, i plead intoxication as a defence and pray you don't hold it against me.

photos of the journey to tokyo up next.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

dinner honke bankyu

1. sorry the order is jumbled up! figure it'll all look the same in my stomach and hope you don't mind imagining the correct sequence of events and courses.

2. this was by far the most theatrical meal i've ever been to! was initially a little thrown off by the lack of in-room dining but when i saw the hot sand pit in the middle, it suddenly made a lot of sense!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

walk the bridge honke bankyu

the indiana jones-esque rope bridge i'd to cross to get to dinner!

didn't know we'd to cross the bridge. it was so exciting when i stepped on it and it started to sway. felt like a real adventure and the element of surprise and anticipation made dinner one to remember. quite like not knowing what's going to happen next or when i'm going, don't you? :)

photos, from the most meticulously prepared dinner ever, to come!

Friday, November 26, 2010

autumn evening honke bankyu

in the next post, you'll see the novel way i got to dinner.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ladies' onsen honke bankyu

the view from the ladies' onsen by day. it would close at 930am and i would continue soaking in my private onsen till noon. such decadence :)

more autumn colours tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

men's onsen honke bankyu

there was also a public onsen at honke bankyu and i worked out a nifty little system where i'd bathe in the public bath till it closed, robe myself then scurry back to the private onsen to continue soaking. the public onsen had the same great views of the river but with a bigger pool.

if you think this looks good, wait till you see the ladies' onsen! coming up tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

private onsen honke bankyu

this is the divine private onsen i was telling you about. there was a little wooden corridor out of the room and down the slope that led to my very own wooden hut with my very own hot spring pool. every time i got in, i'd displace water that would flow down the river bank and into the river so i understood the importance of making sure i was squeaky clean before entering the tub, as is the custom at the onsen.

for a different charm, do check back for the men's onsen tomorrow, and the ladies' the day after.

Monday, November 22, 2010

ryokan honke bankyu

keep an eye on this bridge, because little did i know i'd have to cross it for dinner on the other side of the river!

honke bankyu was a seemingly small ryokan built into the river bank. however, looks were deceiving because it actually sprawled the river and there was the dining area on the opposite bank. what was extra special about this ryokan was the private onsen that was right smack on the river bank. if i didn't look properly, it was as if i was bathing in the river! honke bankyu was also more traditional than sanraku and i really liked the rustic feel about the place. there was much attention to detail, right down to the electronic tag fridge! so much for being a traditional ryokan. then again, this disconnect between modernity and tradition is something that intrigues me about japan and keeps me coming back for more.

public onsen is great, private onsen is better. will be sharing photos of our private onsen next :)