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My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.

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Entries in Kobe (3)

Thursday
Nov132014

Up and Over Mt. Rokko

In September when I was in Japan I spent a relaxing Saturday at Arima Onsen after a long work week. When evening came I needed to head back to Nagoya since I was flying home from Centrair the next day. Arima Onsen lies north of Kobe on the other side of Mt. Rokko giving me two options to get to Kobe where I needed to catch the Shinkansen back to Nagoya. I could go back the way I had come which was by a train line that went west around Mt. Rokko. The second option was to go up and over Mt. Rokko by cablecar which is what is what I decided to do.

I walked up to Arima Onsen Station (有馬温泉駅) and purchased a Rokko - Arima one-way ticket (六甲・有馬片道乗車券). The ticket includes one way on the Rokko Arima Ropeway (六甲有馬ロープウェー), on and off riding the Rokko Mountaintop Bus (六甲山上バス) and one way on the Rokko Cable (六甲ケーブル). The station was pretty desolate and only one other person boarded the aerial tramcar with me. The views as we rose up the mountain were fantastic but due to the speed we were moving the few pictures that I tried to take all turned out super blurry.

We rose from 433m above sea level to 880m, arriving at Rokko Sancho Station (六甲山頂駅) twelve minutes later.

From the station it was a short walk to the Rokko Garden Terrace (六甲ガーデンテラス) with shops and restaurants. I was intrigued by the beautifully illuminated Rokko-Shidare Observatory (自然体感展望台 六甲枝垂れ) and headed toward it.

The structure was designed by architect Hiroshi Sambuichi almost entirely from hinoki wood. In the winter the lattice structure attracts frost and in the summer ice that was collected in the winter cools down a seating area inside. It was quite beautiful to walk around inside and admire the architecture as well as the view.

While I was visiting an art installation called Rokko Meets Art was taking place on the mountain top. At various places different pieces of artwork were on display and you could walk around to see them. My favorite was Cosmic Seed by Kazumasa Taniguchi (谷口 和正) which was located inside the base of the thermal chimney of Rokko-Shidare Observatory. A metal egg shell frame was composed of words and illumated from inside casting out blurred shadows of the words. Upon looking at the sculpture up close I noticed that there were tiny birds nestled among the letters. The whole effect was really beautiful and serene.

Walking back out of the thermal chimney I took in some more of the lovely views over Kobe and Osaka Bay.

It was getting late and so I thought it was time to start heading on. I walked to the bus stop where there was quite a line waiting. When it arrived I managed to squeeze on since I didn't want to wait for the next bus. Luckily the ride only lasted fifteen minutes since I was not terribly comfortable standing up wedged in between the door and a bunch of tightly packed people.

When I got off the bus at Rokko Cable Sanjo Station (六甲ケーブル山上駅) I thought I would stop for a few last glimpses of Kobe from the mountaintop before taking the cable car down. It was a beautiful, clear night and I couldn't have asked for better weather to enjoy the view.

I headed into the station, boarded a cable car and ten minutes later I arrived at the base of the mountain at Rokko Cable Shita Station (六甲ケーブル下駅).

The view from the top of Mt. Rokko is said to be one of the best night views in Japan and I would have to agree that it was gorgeous. Although going over the mountain instead of around it took longer and was more expensive it was definitely worth it.

Monday
Nov102014

Trying Burger King's KURO Pearl in Japan 

I am not one who typically eats at a fast food chain while traveling overseas, however, I recently made an exception while I was in Japan this past September. After I had finished work for the week I had spent my Saturday at Arima Onsen and then took the ropeway over Mt. Rokko for a view of Kobe at night. I was tired and hungry, but needed to get something relatively quick since the last shinkansen train back to Nagoya from Shin-Kobe was in less than an hour. I was walking around the Sannomiya Station looking for a place to grab a quick bowl of ramen or donburi when I saw a Burger King. Normally I wouldn't have considered eating there, but I had heard that they were offering a black burger for a limited two month time and it just seemed too strange not to try.

Two black burgers were available to try, the KURO パール (KURO Pearl) the KURO ダイヤモンド (KURO Diamond). The color black in Japanese is written 黒 and pronounced kuro, so the names mean Black Pearl and Black Diamond.

The KURO Pearl featured a hamburger patty with black pepper and a black Shalyapin sauce made from garlic, soy and squid ink. The bun and cheese were also black with the color derived from charcoal bamboo. The KURO Diamond was the same with tomato, lettuce and onion added.

I decided on being a purist and went for the KURO Pearl to avoid any added color from vegetables to my black burger. The meal with fries and a soda set me back ¥750 (about $6.50 US). I chose to pair my burger with melon soda because I felt neon green soda would go well with a black burger. 

The burger came packaged in a black wrapper and when I opened it up it looked even less appetizing that the promotional photos Burger King had hanging up throughout the restaurant. I've eaten everything from raw horse to beef intestines in Japan so a little strange coloring wasn't about to deter me and I took a bite.

The bamboo charcoal that was used to blacken the bun and cheese didn't seem to me to really affect the taste. The unique flavor was primarily from the sauce (soy, garlic and squid ink) and the black pepper on the burger patty. Overall it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't say it was really great either. It just tasted like a garlicky, peppery fast food burger.

Overall, it was fun to try it but I wouldn't order it again. Although it wasn't the most amazing dinner the burger did serve its purpose of being a quick meal and I was able to get to Shin-Kobe Station with a little time to spare before the last train. 

Wednesday
Dec122012

Picture of the Day: Closeup of Lights at the Kobe Luminarie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kobe, Japan
12.03.2011