OCTOBER 10th 2019
Our final destination in Japan was Shizuoka which is 143km from Tokyo and is on the coast. It is well known for scenic views of Mt Fuji and for it’s green tea production. Our journey from Osaka took two and a half hours and we found our hotel was next to the station, and in the city centre as well. We had two nights booked and the rugby game was against Georgia. Unfortunately a typhoon warning was out once we arrived and it soon became obvious that there would be no transport anywhere for the next few days.
Undeterred we walked into the city and explored the area and especially the tea shops where I bought a packet of powdered green tea which is a speciality of the region.. The other speciality is fish and so we took advantage of the fact that trains were still running and jumped on a local train to the fish market at the port. Here we found a wonderful market with little cafes and restaurants serving all day.
Everywhere we have been in Japan the market has beautiful fish roe and it is plentiful and really delicious.
Oysters are also a speciality here and they are really huge – of course Eva had to try!
We found a little cafe and had a sashimi lunch which was delicious. We were highly amused with the signage…
More delicious food awaited us that night as we found a very typical restaurant in the town where there were no foreigners, no English and only one other woman inside! It seems Japanese men call in to restaurants for a meal after work and before they go home. This place was no different, the men all in business attire and carrying briefcases and most smoking heavily! However, the sashimi there was excellent.
The day of the match dawned windy and wet – clearly the typhoon was on track but nothing was cancelled. Although we had tickets for the game, we opted to watch the game from a bar close to the hotel and with other patrons – both Japanese and European – mostly barracking for Australia. A tasty meal at the bar with new friends created a very convivial atmosphere. Seems we made the right decision as the rain increased and it was uncomfortable for those at the stadium which wasn’t under cover.
All our future travel plans had to be cancelled and revised as no one was going anywhere the following day. All trains, buses and road transport were cancelled and everything was closed, fortunately the restaurants at the hotel were serving food so unlike some, we didn’t have to worry about stocking up with dried noodles and anything else the corner shop had in stock! We had an extra two nights in the hotel, frantically trying to find accommodation in Tokyo and a flight out – to anywhere! Eventually we found a room in a small hotel at Hanaeda airport and managed to get a flight to Hong Kong so we could hook up with our original return plans. Another night and day in Hong Kong was organised and sadly our plans to go to Macau and drive across the new bridge had to be abandoned. The typhoon didn’t impact on us in Shizuoka apart from wind and rain but it was quite devastating in other areas closer to Tokyo.
A final lunch in Tokyo at the station and a meal at Hanaeda brought the end to our fantastic five weeks in Japan – we love the country, the people, the culture and the food. We will definitely return.