Paul's Travel Pics

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kanazawa - Restaurants, Budget Hotel and Transportation

As promised in the previous article, here are the reviews of the restaurants we visited and the hotel we stayed in, for those who are seriously planning a trip to Kanazawa. As I mentioned, we had all our meals inside the 280-year-old Omicho Market, a mecca for seafood lovers.

Food Review: YAMASAN SUSHI (Omicho Market, Kanazawa)
Address: Kanazawa-shi, Shimo-Omicho 68
Hours: Daily 08:00-20:00
Website/Map: From Official Site
Directions: From Kanazawa Station, you can walk for 20 minutes or take a tourist bus to get to the Omicho Market. Yamasan Sushi is near the Northwest exit of the market ... everyone knows this place.


I'm a seafood fanatic, and inside this photo shows some of the freshest seafood I've ever had -- certainly the freshest Buri (yellowtail) and Snow Crab. Overall quality was at least as good as the internationally famous and incredibly popular Sushi Dai at Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, but without the two-hour lineup. The price was very reasonable for this top quality, as this 18-topping Kaisen-don set me back only 2625 yen (CAD$26). If I had to pick one Kanazawa restaurant to recommend, this is it -- the 60-year-old institution of Yamasan Sushi.



Located just inside the Omicho Market's Northwest Exit, Yamasan was one of the only eateries open early in the morning (08:00), and thus our natural choice for a filling sushi breakfast. It's your prototypical, traditional style Sushiya with two Chefs running the show behind the counter, a couple of Zashiki rooms on the side, and the Chefs' wives doing the kitchen work and the serving. The menu prices ranged from 1365 yen (CAD$14) for a Nigiri set to 2940 yen (CAD$30) for a Tokujo (Deluxe) Nigiri. And if you want your sushi in Chirashi style, an Omakase-Don was priced at 1575 yen, my Kaisen-don at 2625, and the top-of-the-line shucked Snow Crab or "Uni + Ikura" on rice cost 3150 yen (CAD$32).



A closer look and you'll see an unmistakably Kanazawa touch in the presentation -- a sprinkling of gold leaf flakes on the centerpiece of the dish. The Amaebi was fresh as expected, but the Ikura, the Buri, the Chu-Toro, the Uni and the Kaibashira were just top notch. And last but not least, there's a whole, fresh Snow Crab pincher stuffed at the back of the bowl. To this day I still remember this as one of my three favorite crab dishes.



And my wife, being a light eater, ordered the 2940 yen (CAD$30) Tokujo Nigiri set. Again, note the light dusting of gold leaf flakes on the Ikura and the Otoro -- this seems to be the signature of Kanazawa restaurants wherever we go. I can't comment on the freshness, but according to my wife the Ikura and the Uni were the freshest she has ever had.

I must apologized that ... I forgot to photograph the MOST IMPORTANT PIECE of sushi in the Nigiri Set -- a whole half-shelled Snow Crab claw which my wife finished before I could grab the camera. But you get idea ... it was some of the freshest sushi money can buy, short of sitting aboard a fishing boat.

Bill for Two Persons
Kaisen Don2625 yen
Deluxe Nigiri-zushi2940 yen
TOTAL5565 yen (CAD$56)




Food Review: KAISENDON-YA (Omicho Market, Kanazawa)
Address: Kanazawa-shi, Jikken-machi 32
Hours: Daily 11:00-21:00; Closed Thursdays
Website/Map: From Yahoo Japan
Directions: From Kanazawa Station, you can walk for 20 minutes or take a tourist bus to get to the Omicho Market. Kaisendon-ya is located at the perimeter of the market's south end.


When a restaurant dares to name itself after a particular dish, typically I would expect something different about its interpretation of that dish, or perhaps simply superior in its ingredients or preparation method. In this case, the Kaisen-don is the cheap and common seafood ricebowl found at any fish market anywhere in Japan, so I had been anxious to come and evaluate the freshness of the Sushi Neta here after reading good reviews on TabeLog about this little joint just outside of the Omicho Market.

Even though there's no English menu outside, the colorful pictures and prices on the Japanese menu board is enough to tell you that this is a reasonably priced neighborhood place for seafood. And if you can read Japanese, you're probably already attracted by the sign that says "Kaisen-don from 850 yen" (CAD$8.5). Now that is an unbelievable price no matter where in Japan you are.



Here's the menu, no fancy Nigiri-zushi here, just seafood bowls of all types:

- Negitoro-don (chopped tuna and green onion) - 800 yen (CAD$8)
- Salmon and Ikura Oyako-don - 1000 yen (CAD$10)
- Carpaccio-don (thinly-sliced seafood) - 1000 yen
- Kaisen Bara Chirashi (mixed seafood) - 1000 yen
- Unagi-don - 1000 yen
- Omicho-Ten-don (Tempura) - 1300 yen (CAD$13)
- Tekka-don (Tuna) - 1500 yen (CAD$15)
- Large Omicho-don (variety of seafoods) - 1500 yen
- Sanshu-don (Uni, Ikura, Snow Crab) - 1700 yen (CAD$17)
- Kanazawa Crab Chirashi - 1700 yen
- And finally, the mother of all Kaisen-dons ... they've got a Kaisen-don in a bucket (called Hyakuman-goku Oke-chirashi) ... for 2500 yen (CAD$25)

Well, I figured we could afford to splurge at a cheap family-run place like this, and so we ordered two of the more expensive items.



Here's the Oke-chirashi ... certainly the most impressive-looking ricebowl I've ever had ... though technically I'd have to call it a rice-bucket. It's not really as big as it sounds -- the container was similar to the type of hand-bucket you see at most Japanese public baths. The portions were somewhat larger compared to Yamasan Sushi, though the freshness was just a notch lower. It's still exceptionally fresh compared to most Kaisen-don places in other parts of Japan though, crowned by the excellent Uni and the local Snow Crab. And of course, it wouldn't be a Kanazawa style Kaisen-don without the dusting of gold leaf on the Uni.



In retrospect I would have preferred my wife's Sanshu-don (3 types of seafood on rice), but I didn't expect the Uni and Snow Crab to be this good. The Ikura was also terrific, and this is according to my wife, who never orders Ikura outside of Japan.

So was it better than Yamasan Sushi? Not quite. But was it worth the money? Most definitely. Do I still recommend it? Yes, but only for the cheaper varieties of Kaisen-don. If you're planning to go for the bucket, I think Yamasan's Kaisen-don is a much better value at roughly the same price.

Bill for Two Persons
Hyakuman-goku Oke-chirashi2500 yen
Sanshu-don1700 yen
TOTAL4200 yen (CAD$42)




Food Review: OMICHO SHOKUDO (Omicho Market, Kanazawa)
Address: Kanazawa-shi, Aokusa-machi 1
Hours: Daily 10:30-15:00, 17:00-20:00
Website/Map: From Official Site
Directions: From Kanazawa Station, you can walk for 20 minutes or take a tourist bus to get to the Omicho Market. Omicho Shokudo is just inside the West Exit of the market.

The word Shokudo typically refers to a cafeteria or a canteen, and to market workers and lunch-seeking salarymen working in the neighborhood, this is THE place for fresh and inexpensive seafood. Whether you want your fish as sashimi, as shioyaki, simmered or baked, they've got it. In fact, in terms of quality vs price, this is probably one of the best places in Kanazawa.



This is how it works ... you pick any entree -- starting from as little as 500 yen (CAD$5) -- and then add 400 yen for a dinner set with a Miso soup with clams, a Hiya-yakko tofu appetizer, two small vegetable dishes, and a bowl of rice. So we're talking a simple 6-course seafood dinner for 900 yen (CAD$9), quite a bargain no matter how you look at it.

As with most Shokudo type places, the daily menu is scribed on a chalk board -- in Japanese of course, but you could ask the waitress for a little translation. When we visited in May, the seasonal menu included:

- Scallops Butter-Yaki - 480 yen (CAD$5)
- Aji Sashimi - 500 yen
- Medai no Kabuto-ni (braised head of snapper) - 500 yen
- Okoze (stinger fish) Karaage - 600 yen
- Medai (snapper) Sashimi - 700 yen
- Hirame (sole) Sashimi - 700 yen
- Shiro-ebi (white shrimps) Sashimi - 900 yen
- Nodoguro Konbu-shime (blackthroat sea perch sashimi in seaweed) - 900 yen
- Buri Kamayaki (grilled yellowtail cheek) - 1100 yen
- Hotaru-Ika Su-miso (florescent squids in miso-vinaigrette) - 1250 yen
- Nodoguro Shioyaki (grilled blackthroat sea perch in sea salt) - 2000 yen (CAD$20)



Well, you know where this is going -- we tend to splurge where we could afford to splurge -- and so the two of us ordered four entrees in total, including the 2000 yen Nodoguro fish I had heard so many good things about and just couldn't wait to try.

The shimmering Shiro-ebi Sashimi (900 yen) was the first to arrive. Although literally translated to simply "White Shrimp", the Shiro-ebi is a local specialty caught off the waters of Toyama Bay and seldom sold in restaurants outside of the Sea of Japan coast. We've had the fortune of sampling this incredibly sweet crustacean once in Tokyo, and on this trip to the producing-region it was one of the items we deliberately looked for.

Just look at that shine on the semi-transparent shrimp! If you ever end up on the Sea of Japan coast, do yourself a favor and ask for Shiro-ebi ... you'll thank me for it.



Next up was the Scallops Butter-Yaki (480 yen), lightly starched, baked in its own shell and served with a salad. The scallops were perfectly done, though the size was better suited as a appetizer than an entree.



Here comes the Nodoguro we've been waiting for -- a smaller fish than I anticipated for its price (2000 yen). The meat had a silken, oily texture ... the best comparison I can think of is the oiliness of Chilean sea bass with the softness of a flounder. Sorry if I'm a little vague, but I've never had any fish like it. With a delicate fish like this the sea salt and a quick squeeze of lemon made the perfect seasoning, and it was so well-grilled that I even finished the crispy fins and tails. Was it worth it? Definitely. Would I order it again next time? Tough question ... Kanazawa has so many other famous dishes awaiting the adventurous ...



The final entree dish was the Madai no Kabuto-ni (600 yen), a whole snapper head simmered in a mirin and soy-based sauce, and served with your typical daikon radishes. The fish was fresh but overcooked, and the quality was just way below the other dishes.



We couldn't resist also ordering the 400 yen dinner course -- how could we turn down five courses for 400 yen? Just this Asari-Miso soup is worth 400 yen at some higher end sushi places.

So which were the best dishes? The Shiro-ebi and Nodoguro were definitely the stars of the meal (and appropriately priced for their excellence too). The Asari-Miso soup was also very good. We wouldn't mind coming back for dinner, if we ever end up in Kanazawa again.

Bill for Two Persons
Shiro-ebi Sashimi900 yen
Nodoguro Yaki2000 yen
Scallops Butter-Yaki480 yen
Madai no Kabuto-ni600 yen
Dinner Sets x 2400 yen
TOTAL4780 yen (CAD$48)




Hotel Review: CITY INN KOBAYASHI (Kanazawa)
Address: Kanazawa-shi Tamagawa-machi 11-1
Price: 6000 yen for a Japanese-style double room with private bathroom
Website/Map: http://www.yadotime.jp/shisetsu/28/index.php
How To Book: You get the 6000 yen price only if you book through JALAN.net, which is for Japanese-readers only. If you can't read Japanese, email them at cityinn@spacelan.ne.jp and expect to pay 7000 yen for a double room.
Directions: From the Kanazawa Station, it's easiest to: A) walk for 15 minutes, or B) take the FLAT BUS KONOHANA (costs only 100 yen) and get off at Musashi-ga-Tsuji.


I think this is probably the first ever English review on this simple budget hotel, as I tried to search for English reviews myself prior to booking this place, but couldn't find any and ended up finding tons of reviews at Japanese sites.

You can see it all in this picture: a character-less but clean 6-Tatami Room sleeping two people, a little coin-op TV, air-con, cheap Futon mattresses and blankets, but at a rock bottom cheap price too -- a measly 6000 yen (CAD$60) for a double room with private bathroom at the heart of Kanazawa. Exactly what you'd expect from a no-nonsense business hotel anywhere in Japan.

City Inn Kobayashi is housed in its own three-storey building located near the Musashi-ga-Tsuji intersection at the centre of Kanazawa's urban core. A 10 minute's walk to the Northwest brings you to the JR train station; the shopping district of Korinbo is 15 minutes to the south; and most importantly for us, it's just 3 minutes walk away from the Omicho Market for the freshest seafood. Bus stops for both the LOOP BUS and the FLAT BUS are just a few minute's walk away, so it's also very convenient to reach all the main tourist attractions. And since central Kanazawa isn't really that big, a 20 minute walk would bring you to the front gate of Kanazawa's number one attraction -- the Kenroku-en.



Like most family-run business hotels, its main clientelle are salaryman-workers and budget-conscious young Japanese travelers. The friendly, 50-ish-year-old owner didn't seem to speak any English, but knew exactly what we needed when he took in our backpacks when we arrived at 11:00, four hours before the check-in time. When we returned after a long day of sightseeing, our backpacks were waiting for us in our own room -- just what you'd expect from higher-priced hotels and Ryokans. Do note that they impose a curfew at midnight, so make sure not to get too drunk at the neighborhood Izakaya.



TRANSPORTATION


Kanazawa is a major train station on the western coast of Japan, just 2 hours away from Kyoto by Express train (nicknamed "Thunderbird"). If you come from Tokyo, the quickest way is to take the Shinkansen train to Echigo-Yuzawa, then transfer to an Express train to Kanazawa, taking a little over 4 hours in total. If you want to save on hotel costs, there's also an overnight bus leaving around 23:30 from Shinjuku Station and arriving at 08:00 at Kanazawa for only 4100 yen. Check out http://www.123bus.net/ if that's your preference.



Once arriving at Kanazawa Station you'll see these huge wooden spindles outside the station. Besides being a symbol of the city's modernization, they also conveniently mark the location of the main bus station for self-serving tourists like us. With the areas of major tourist interest scattered on the outskirts of the old castle grounds, the several tourist-focused bus route are probably the best way to cover the sights in a time and stamina-efficient manner.



The easiest way is the LOOP BUS (also see official site in Japanese), which departs from the Kanazawa Station at 12 minute intervals from 08:36 to 18:00, snakes around most of the major sights and back to Kanazawa Station in 40 minutes. Major stops of interest include:

- Baba Jido Koen (1 minute walk to Hakuza)
- Hashiba-cho 4 (2 minute walk to Higashi Chayagai)
- Kenroku-en Shita (just outside Kenroku-en garden)
- Korinbo 7 (2 minute walk to Nagamachi Samurai District)
- Musashi-ga-Tsuji (1 minute walk to Omicho Market)

A single trip costs 200 yen (CAD$2), so the 500 yen (CAD$5) Day Pass probably makes more sense for most tourists.



But we didn't take the Loop Bus -- there's another alternative called the FLAT BUS, which has three different routes going around different parts of the city for 100 yen (CAD$1) a trip. The Official Kanazawa Tourism Site has a fairly good explanation of these routes.


MY WIFE'S CORNER


One of Kanazawa's famous attractions is the Myoritsu-ji, also known as the Ninja Temple for its unusual architectural features associated with Ninja activity. This Hello Kitty cellphone pendant is called the Kanazawa Ninja-Yashiki Edition. Kitty is dressed in a Ninja suit and hidden behind the revolving door. It was bought just outside of the Kenroku-en for about 450 yen.

40 comments:

t0fugurl said...

Great post as always! Too bad we didn't know about Kanazawa's fresh seafood before our Japan trip a few weeks ago... otherwise we definitely would've visited even just for a day trip!

Just thought I'd drop a line to say thank you for your wonderful and detailed blog. My boyfriend and I really enjoyed Shirakawago! :)

Sadao said...

Great photography! The fantastic shots of seafood are making me miss my home country.
I see you managed to take a picture of the rabbit hole bathroom. This is expected with just about any budget hotel in Japan. Turning around in the bathroom is not an option.

Paul said...

Hi T0fugurl:

Glad to hear from you again and see that you've had a good time Japan! Which Minshuku did you end up staying at Shirakawago?

Paul

Paul said...

Hi Sadao:

Thanks for the compliments. The seafood is really one of my favorite reasons to keep visiting Japan.

Yeah we run into these "Unit Bath" type bathrooms everywhere we go, and I want to give my readers a real sense of what to expect. It was almost impossible to get a picture of the bathroom even with my 17mm lens.

Paul

t0fugurl said...

We stayed at Yokichi near the Deaibashi. The lady who runs the place is extremely hospitable! She waited for us until almost 8pm to make dinner! ... Well that's because we didn't get there until after 7pm and it was all dark so it took us a while to find the place. And the reason why we didn't get there until late was because I lost my JR pass in Tokyo but it was eventually found - 4 hrs later! But all's well that ends well! We had a great time! I'll upload some pics to my blog soon...

vinh said...

Hi Paul,
Thanks for posting. Your blog has been really informative and sometimes mouth-watering. :)
I am going to Japan in March, and trying to book the cityinn you guys stayed at but have not had any response from them. Is there anywhere else you recommend. Thanks.

Cheers,
Vinh.

Paul said...

Hi Vinh,

Try Dormy Inn, located almost next to the train station and only about 8000 yen for a double room. Pretty convenient too as you can take the Loop Bus to all the major sights.

http://www.hotespa.net/business/en/inquiry/index.html#4

Paul

Yvonne said...

Hi
just got to kanazawa tonight and saw your review so went straight off to yamasan sushi for dinner. It was exactly as described. Although the restaurant was completely empty apart from us, we had beautifully presented and fresh nigiri and chirashi sushi exactly like your photos.With a small bottle of sake, the bill came to just under 6000 yen which seemed like very good value. thank you so much for the recommendation.

Paul said...

Yvonne,

Thanks for letting me know how things went for you. Yes this is really a gem of a sushiya. I would definitely return the next time I visit Kanazawa.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
I posted some ques yesterday but it didn't appear. Anyway, my parents (60+) are coming with my husband and I to osaka. I plan to visit Kyoto and Kobe and somewhere nice with Ryokan, Onsen & nice food. Is the trip to Kanazawa, Takayama, Shirakawago too much for them? is it worth going to just Kanazawa as thr's direct train from Kyoto? what i'm worried about is the length and cost of the trip and our big and small luggages. Please advise.
W

Paul said...

W:

Your question did appear -- I just need to publish it. Please refer to my response at the bottom of the following page:

http://paulstravelpics.blogspot.com/2008/12/takayama-restaurant-and-hotel-reviews.html

If you're worried about both luggages and cost, just stay within the Kansai region as it has Ryokans, Onsens, and great food too. Arima Onsen is famous, but if you want a Ryokan with great food and an Onsen as well, then it's going to be relatively expensive. A cheap way is to get your Ryokan experience at one place (eg.Uji), great food at another place, then Onsen at yet another place.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

Thanks for your replies. I think we've sort of decided to go to Kanazawa, Takayama, Shirakawago and probably stay overnight at each place (hope to stay at the ryokans/ inns that you've recommended). I'm trying to find out the total transport costs from Kyoto to these places and find a way to store our luggages before we make the final decision.
I think the accom. and food costs sound reasonable, it's the transport costs that seem quite expensive. Did you use the JR Pass or etc to get there?

W

Paul said...

W:

Central Japan is a spectacular region, and I think your family will appreciate the sights and the cuisine. We didn't use any JR Passes since that was a waste of money given our itinerary. If you're going from Kanazawa to Shirakawago to Takayama, you'll find out that the two links are connected by local buses, so you can't use the JR Pass. If you get the 28300 yen JR Pass, it would mainly be good for Kyoto to Kanazawa (6200 yen) and Takayama back to Kyoto/Osaka (10000 yen or so). Add up your itinerary for 7 days, and you'll see that the JR Pass isn't for every trip.

Paul

Anonymous said...

HI Paul,

Thanks for your advice. I didn't think the JR Pass would be worthwhile. I've tried to book Hanaoka (didn't have a rate yet) and Minshuku Hisamatsu has increased their price to 8100yen (it's still a good price).

With the train from Kyoto to Takayama, bus to Shirakawago and Kanazawa, train back to Kyoto, is there space for big luggages in the trains and busses?

W

Paul said...

W:

There should be a small luggage rack at the top of the train seats, but you could also just leave your luggages at the side ... the trains should be very empty. And on buses as I recall there are spaces where you can put your large luggages.

Cheers,

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

How do i reserve the seats for the trains and buses (train from Kyoto to Takayama, bus to Shirakawago and Kanazawa, train back to Kyoto) about 2 wks before we get to Japan?

Is there a toilet in those trains and buses to those places above?

Sorry to ask so many ques :)

W

Paul said...

W:

I don't think you can reserve these train tickets, until you get to Japan. And unless your travel coincides with some local holiday, you'll find the trains quite empty.

Most buses from Takayama to Shirakawago do not need reservations -- just buy the ticket when you get to Takayama. However the ticket from Shirakawago to Kanazawa does require reservation. Refer to the English site of Nouhi Bus (http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/). When you've arrived at Kyoto, ask the concierge at your hotel/ryokan to call Nouhi Bus and make the reservation for you. That's probably the easiest way.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

We only have one day in Kyoto before we go to Takayama and it's a public holiday on that day. So, hopefully we won't have any trouble reserving the train tickets just one day before.

Is there a toilet in those trains to Nagoya, Takayama and from Kanazawa to Kyoto and buses between Takayama, Shirakawago & kanazawa?

I've also booked Hanaoka.

W

Paul said...

W:

Train can get quite full around public holidays. You'll have to wait and see what happens as there's no way for you to book these seats outside of Japan. And you said that you'll be in Takayama during a public holiday -- then there's a possibility that tickets to Shirakawago and subsequently to Kanazawa will be in hot demand. Be prepared and be flexible with your schedule -- use taxis in the worst case.

"Express" trains (eg.fast trains between Kyoto and Kanazawa, between Kyoto and Nagoya, between Nagoya and Takayama etc) generally have toilets. "Local" trains generally don't. Buses between Takayama/Shirakawago/Kanazawa probably don't -- but the bus rides aren't very long anyway and the bus stations have toilets so you can go before getting on.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your replies.

I just thought of an idea. I have some friends going to Osaka about 2 wks earlier than us and will be back before we leave for Jap. Do you think they will be able to buy from Osaka our train tickets (Kyoto - Takayama) and reserve the train seats without us being there?

Do they just go to the JR Office in Osaka and do that? I haven't decided to take the Shinkansen & LTD.EXP (WIDEVIEW)HIDA 25 or just the Ltd. Exp HIDA.

W

Paul said...

W:

Yes, your friends should be able to buy your JR tickets for you at any of the "Green Window" counters at any JR station. At Kansai Airport, Osaka or Kyoto station there should be something who can speak minimal English. Just provide the exact date and time of the trip, and number of tickets needed to the counter, and they'll issue the tickets. Then you'll just need to get those tickets from your friends.

That still doesn't get you the bus tickets to Shirakawago/Kanazawa though -- the bus company is based in Takayama, and the easiest way for non-Japanese speakers to pre-book is to ask a hotel concierge to call ahead and do that work.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's good to hear. I'll have to ask them then.

I'll book the bus tickets as you've suggested unless the Hida Tourist Centre will book it for us.

Thanks for all your help!

W

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

I've just read on the Kanazawa tourism website that 'A ban on crab harvesting is lifted on November 6 in Ishikawa Prefecture and crimson crabs are seen at shop fronts in the Omi-cho Market.' Does it mean that the snow crabs are only available from Nov 6?

W

Paul said...

W:

You may still see crabs from other regions. I've seen crabs in many places in Japan even in summer, when crabbing season has surely ended.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

We just came back from our trip. We went to Yamasan Sushi (took a while to find it) and the Kaisen don was very delicious. It's the best chirashi that we've ever had. We ordered the deluxe nigiri and omakase don too.

Kenrokuen Garden was beautiful. There are quite many shopping centres there but we didn't have time to shop there..unfortunately.
W

Paul said...

W:

Thanks for your feedback. I trust you did get your fill of snow crabs?

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

The only snow crab we had was in our meal at Yamasan Sushi. Didn't see a restaurant that specialises in crabs at Kanazawa.

We had more crabs at Kani Doraku in Osaka - went twice :). Are they snow crabs too? The way the crabs were grilled, cooked differently, sushi, etc were all delicious. Btw, crab's one of my favourites.
W

Paul said...

W:

If the shells of the crab legs are long and smooth, they're probably Zuwaigani (snow crab). If the shells are spikey they're probably Tarabagani (king crab). I think the pincher my wife had at Yamasan was from a Zuwaigani. We love crabs too, especially king crabs and shanghai crabs.

Paul

Anonymous said...

I think we had both types of crabs and they're both very good especially the king crab which had more flesh. Have you tried Australian mud crabs? They're really good in Chinese style cooking and a lot of flesh.

Paul said...

Oh yes mud crabs! I've never had Australian mud crabs though ... I'm guessing larger and sweeter than those from SE Asia? I've had those in yellow curry and that was really good.

Paul

jing said...

I've been meaning to ask... how do you pack your stuffs? I really appreciate your travel posts as it covers basic info (and much more tips) which future tourists would need. Since I'm city-hopping for the first time, I don't know how to go about this. I'm used to lug around a huge suitcase, but it won't be possible when commuting in buses/trains.

I'm going to Kanazawa early May for a concert. This makes me even more excited because I get to see what's in your fabulous photos.

I'm no raw fish lover... maybe this is the time I should try it out. If I still don't like it, then the problem really lies in me.

Paul said...

Jing,

I use backpacks, which gives a lot of flexibility in terms of mobility options. It works extremely well when traveling through Central Japan's remote villages and Europe's cobblestone towns -- luggage wheels would have fallen off after a week.

But in Japan, there's the option of Takkyubin, or luggage delivery, if money is not a big issue. Japanese tourists are used to using Takkyubin to send large luggages to the hotel in the next city, often ahead of their own arrival. This usually costs around 2000 yen isn't too far away. Then you can keep the daily supplies in a small daypack, which is what many Japanese tourists do.

Check out Yamato's website to see the latest prices and determine whether this works for you.
http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/english

Paul

jing said...

Thanks Paul. I think that takkyubin is an excellent suggestion. It might really come in handy.

Any suggestions on backpacks?

Paul said...

Jing,

Any well-constructed pack would do, but I usually try to keep the weight within 8kg or so, even for 3 week trips. When you have done it once you will know exactly what you do not need next time.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

My husband and I are planning a visit to West Central Japan next Feb and we are also going to Kanazawa. I have a question about Omicho Market. Do they sell other food types apart from seafood for example ramen or yakitori? I know it's a really weird question because if it's anything like Tsukiji, then we might have to give it a miss. You see, my husband does not consume fish of any type in any form. He can marginally accept crabs and he likes prawns cooked.

Inez

Paul said...

Inez:

From memory Omicho Market has a number of non-seafood restaurants such as a deep-fried skewers place, a ramen house etc. But if your husband doesn't like seafood of any kind then you might as well give it a miss, unless you're intending to go shopping for foodstuff.

Paul

Stefan said...

Hi Paul!

We love your website and thanks for the great information on seafood in Kanazawa! We will check out some of the places you had mentioned during our upcoming trip to the city.

Thanks again and all the best from Vienna, Austria.

Stefan

Paul said...

Stefan:

Wilkommen! If you're seafood fan I'm sure you'll love the freshness and variety in Kanazawa. Let us know if you find any cool places and great dishes in your travels.

Paul

Sasah Allport said...

Food and Travelling are my two biggest passion. On my last trip to Japan, it was difficult to find authentic places to eat and impossible to order from the Japanese only menu. Thanks so much for your restaurant reviews, especially in the western rural region. I am going to follow your footsteps and try the ones you recommended. I absolutely love Japanese food, especially seafood. I will definitely try the ones your mentioned in Kanazawa on my next year's trip back to Japan, which is 13 days around Western Alpine region. Good work and thank you again.

Paul said...

Sasah,

You're welcome. The Japanese Alps is one of the most beautiful regions IMO. Good luck with your trip planning.

Paul