We were looking forward to breakfast. Since when we went at 6:30 yesterday there were already people finishing eating we figured the restaurant must have opened earlier than it stated. We headed down at 6:15 and was sure enough there were already people there.
The dishes were similar to yesterday but with some variations, different pickles and fish and meatball. The curry and miso were still there which I immediately went for.
The day’s schedule was also another key event, Adachi Museum. I had contemplated which order to put things, Izumo Taisha or Adachi first. I ended up putting Adachi later, making it a Monday to avoid the crowd. Adachi Museum was a place to be enjoyed in quiet and peace.We check out and leave our luggage at the hotel. The night we would stay in Okayama but when we get would be flexible, depending on if my parents wanted to spend more time in Matsue or not.
The schedule was the same as last time. Train to Yasugi, immediately hop on the shuttle bus to Adachi. The difference was there were already several others on the bus this time. Felt like I really came at a low season last time.
Adachi Museum is both a museum and a garden. Ranked as the no 1 Japanese garden 12 years in a row, its garden was perfectly groomed and maintained to its founder’s vision. A picturesque living painting, postcard from every angle, a view and landscape that shifted and changed, giving different look and feels as one moved through the museum. It also held a large collection of early modern Japanese paintings that the founder hoped visitors by being amongst the tranquil surroundings could gain deeper insights.
Entree fee was 2300Y, half price for foreigners. 500Y for audio guide, which are a must have which provided talk on both the gardens and selection of paintings.
The trees were turning red, giving a different feel to the gardens from last time. More lively, a little less serene, in place it felt more wise, as though the summer rains taught the gardens how to embrace the coming winter and it was now content.
We sat in the tea room Midori facing the dry rock and pine garden. I felt this side had the better view compared to the light restaurant by the pond garden I had lunch at last time.
Drinks were 1000Y each, no exception. I had coffee while dad ordered their special, matcha kuzu with chestnut, kind of gelatinous and very sweet with a bit of bitterness.
My parents were even more impressed by the garden than I had been the first time. Not just the sight, as someone with a gardening background mom knew how much effort and care was needed to maintain the garden in such pristine state.
Mom loved the place so much she sought out and bought from the souvenir shop the dvd recording the gardens’ sights through the four seasons.
We left after 12, taking the 12:20 bus to Yonago. While waiting at the bus stop I got a nashi soft cream from the nearby shop.
There were a few options for lunch. Either head out for some eateries near the station, grab some bento in the station. Or try the eatery upstairs. It was not too highly rated from what I could remember but still acceptable for its price. In the end we decided it was too much trouble to go elsewhere and settled on the eatery on the second floor of Yonago station.
It’s another ticket machine, running into a lot of these on this trip. Purchase the meal ticket then find a seat, the staff will come around with water and collect the tickets.
Mine was marinated raw squid on rice with soba. The taste was… interesting, not terrible but I would not recommend it either. For the price though as long as one wasn’t too demanding with one’s food the place is definitely worth considering, just don’t be too adventurous.
And of course, since we’re at Yonago it won’t do to leave without getting some Gozaemon sushi, old style sushi where thick cuts of fish is pressed against the rice instead of the modern style of gently placing fish on rice.
Once we’ve returned to Matsue my parents were feeling a little tired, so I decided to head on to our next stop. Leaving now meant we would get there around 6pm, and Okayama was an urban city so we would be able to get a proper dinner for once on this trip.
I went to pick up our luggage from the hotel while my parents checked out the Ichibata department store. Apparently there was some kind of Hokkaido fair happening and my parents had a bit of fun trying out various foods.
The Yakumo express winded through the mountains and rivers, a journey of about two and a half hours. I think I fell asleep not long afterward, unaware that I was also dead tired.
I woke up about half way and began thinking of dinner choices. There was a set meal place about a block from the station, but I’m not too sure about dragging our luggage there so we would need to go check in first, except our hotel in Okayama was a few stop out by the tram, going there would mean some back and forth and very time consuming.
Again, my experience with the area came to use. I had stopped in Okayama 4 times previously and knew the station as well as one could be. I remembered that there was a tonkatsu place in the station itself. It always had a queue each time I passed through Okayama but since we were arriving before 6pm this time, we should be fine.
I raised the idea to my parents and they agreed it was a good idea. The place was called Shinjuku Tonkatsu Sabaten, a fairly common tonkatsu chain. It would only be later that I had already tried it in Taiwan a few years ago without realizing since when it branched to Taiwan they picked an incredible and clever translation that made it seemed really high class when it was just your average tonkatsu place in Japan.
Back to dinner. The staff that greeted us was a cute friendly girl. Most Japanese get abit frozen when interacting with foreigners but she seemed comfortable and was on top of everything. Even though my Japanese was good enough by now that I was able to convey most meanings across, including that mom was a little car sick and don’t feel like ordering anything, the girl was quite happy to repeat her Japanese in english in explaining that for our meals we had a choice of mixed grain rice or plain white rice.
The tonkatsu was good, and the shredded cabbages fresh with a really great sauce. Dad went a bit over on grinding his seasame seeds. Mom also felt better after having some cabbages and sharing some of dad’s tonkatsu. The girl came over mid way and asked if we would like more cabbages, which I enthusiastically replied “Hai, Okawarikudasai!”.
After a filling dinner we head for the hotel. The tram was 100Y for 3 stops to near the Okayama castle. Our hotel, again a Comfort Hotel was just across the road from the tram stop.
There weren’t that many hotels near the train station, I figured if I had to walk a few hundred metres I would rather take the tram. Comfort Hotel for some reason was really cheap, maybe it’s an off season in Okayama? It was one of the reasons I decided to stay two nights in Okayama instead of staying 3 nights in Matsue and coming over on the morning train.
After check in I went out for a tour of the city. Each time I visited Okayama it had mostly been kept to the main street and the station, and I liked to check out a city’s backstreets away from the glamour to get a feel of what the city is really like.