Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Holidays in Japan

After a lovely three week holiday in Japan I'm back in Bangalore. I finally made it to Hakone - the famous hot spring town south of Tokyo for some delightful soaking at Tenzan Onsen. Afterwards we stopped at Baird Brewing in Numazu on New Years Eve for a tour and enjoyed both, Bryan's hospitality and his beers.

This trip gave me the chance to get much more familiar with Tokyo and especially Asakusa - which I just love. This part of town, with Senso-ji temple, Kappa bashi street (all kitchen ware / restaurant supply shops) and plenty of great places to eat & drink makes for a really pleasant place to wander around (and buy a santoku). Asakusa has historically been the entertainment district of Tokyo going way back to the Edo era. Sadly Senso-ji was destroyed in WWII but it's current incarnation does impress. The Jakotsuyu sento (public bath house) that I discovered there was the icing on the cake but it is somewhat difficult to find.

Lucky for me that there was a sumo basho going on and I found my self down at Kokugikan twice! Of course I made my way over to Popeye (Tokyo's best beer joint) afterwards each time for some Swan Lake Beer and Saruga Bay IPA. It was great to meet more Japanese brewers, drink some killer sake again and add a couple of more guinomi (sake cups) to my collection. I don't think I could have had a better trip (thanks Mutsumi) or have brought any more sake back to Bangalore!

Places I like:
* Tenzan Onsen in Yumoto, Hakone - Link
*A great sento in Asakusa - Link
*The Japan Traditional Craft Center in Ikebukuro - Link
*Popeye in Ryogoku - Link
*Swan Lake's Kura-rin Ginza Lounge - Link
B1F Kumo Bldg., 7-16-21 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo - Map
Open 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm; Closed Sun. & Holidays
Near the Higashi-Ginza subway station (Hibiya Line). Great beers and food from my friends in Niigata!

Brewery Update: Things are progressing slowly at Craftworks in Bangalore but hopefully in another day or two we can start on the steam and glycol piping.