Exploring Wakasa: Kyoto’s Influence on Fukui’s Obama City and the Wild Monkeys at Hibiki Terraced Rice Fields

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “GAH! MONKEYS!!!” I stopped dead in my tracks as I stumbled into a group of wild monkeys at Hibiki Terraced Rice Fields. I think I surprised them as much as they did me,…

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Exploring Tajima Part 1: My Soba Eating Tour in Izushi Castle Town

Article originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “Itadakimasu!“ With my stomach already dangerously at capacity, I dove into my last order of soba (buckwheat) noodles in the Japanese castle town of Izushi (出石). As my favourite go-to cold noodle dish during the summer months in…

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Exploring Tamba Part 3: A Stay in the Traditional Japanese Home of Umetan FUJI, Hyogo

Originally written for Voyapon / Part of a 4-day trip to mainland Japan exploring Kyoto, Hyogo, and Fukui prefectures in January, 2020. “Watch out for those deer!” I whispered, as a herd suddenly skipped across the road in the dark. It was a moonless night in Hyogo prefecture’s Tamba Sasayama (丹波篠山) as we headed to our accommodations at Umetan Fuji for…

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Into the Mountains of Nakatsu, Oita for Vegan Curry and Coffee

If anyone is looking for a Rastafarian inspired Japanese restaurant, look no further than Satta Yard in Nakatsu. About a 40 minute drive from the city and into the quiet hills of Nakatsu will bring you to some of the healthiest (and tastiest) curries around. It might feel like a bit of a trek, but…

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Fukamido Cafe

On a Saturday morning, we head to a cafe called Fukamido, after being invited to their opening the previous night at an English conversation meet-up. Our ears perk up when they mention coffee, and we don’t want to miss the opportunity to try out good cafes. It’s pouring out, a perfect day for a coffee indoors.…

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Grape Picking in Ajimu

Oita is lush with various fruits, and one in particular are grapes. A 30 minute drive from Usa takes us to Ajimu, an area famous for grape growing and award-winning wineries. Within this district is 歩くように (Able to Walk), a grape growing house, that we (myself and other English teachers) decide to visit one rainy…

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Haruru Cafe

It’s another balmy, summer day in Oita, and another Saturday to go exploring for a cafe. Just off of Highway 10 is Haruru(はるる), a cafe that we’ve been eyeballing on Google maps. From photos, it has a “classic” Japanese-style cafe interior, with an emphasis of wood paneling and coffee bar. Entering Haruru feels like entering…

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Sora (Dog) Cafe

Since I’ve arrived in Usa, it’s been a goal to find what I would call “My new favourite coffee shop”. On the hunt on an early Saturday morning, Jesse and I take the car out in search of Sora Cafe, one of the closest spots we find on Google maps to our apartment. While driving…

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