While we did try horse meat at the Izakaya the day before, this was a planned lunch at this popular and famous chain that specializes in horse cuisines, which we requested the hotel to help us make reservations for.
Ordering was easy, because the menu came in various languages, and we opted for a 石焼ランチ Stone Grilled Lunch Set (¥2600), and an 馬握りランチ Assorted Horse Meat Sushi Lunch Set (¥3000).
The sets also came with 馬刺し Basashi Sashimi, so through this meal (and the ones the day before), we had satisfied our curiosity of Japanese horse meat cuisine 😛
While horse meat did taste a bit like beef, we still preferred beef 🙂 However, given the food quality of this restaurant, we still think it is worthwhile to come here for a good sampling of horse meat cuisine :).
Click here to view the locations of all outlets.
|菅乃屋 上通店 Suganoya Kamidori Branch:
- Location: 〒860-0846 熊本県熊本市中央区城東町２−１２ アンピールパーキング上通り２Ｆ, 2−12 Jōtōmachi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken, Japan (Google Maps)
- Directions: 1 minute walk from Kumamoto City Tram 通町筋駅 Torichosuji Station
- Website: service.suganoya.com/kamidori (Facebook)
- Hrs: 11:30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm
Today was meant to be a relaxing day in our itinerary, and we wanted to spend the day exploring 熊本市 Kumamoto City.
As 熊本城 Kumamoto Castle suffered serious damages during the earthquake in April 2016, it was closed to public, and we could only view it from outside.
However, there were signboards to guide you to various locations for viewing and also to provide more information regarding the castle.
We ended our walking tour at 城彩苑 Josaien Castle Town, located at 桜の馬場 Sakura no Baba, near the foot of Kumamoto Castle.
After a day of train-riding, and after dropping our luggage at our hotel, we went in search for dinner. Google suggested a popular Kumamoto ramen restaurant near 熊本駅 Kumamoto Station, so off we went looking for 黑亭 Kokutei in the light drizzle.
Though it was dinner time, there wasn’t much of a queue, and we got into the restaurant after about 10 minutes of waiting. While waiting, there was an English menu available for us to browse.
玉子入りラーメン (Tamago Iri Ramen) Ramen with Egg
豚そぼろ丼 (Buta Soboro Don) Rice Bowl with Pork and Vegetables
特製ギョーザ Special Gyoza
We shared a Ramen Set (¥1290) consisting of 玉子入りラーメン (Tamago Iri Ramen) Ramen with Egg, 豚そぼろ丼 (Buta Soboro Don) Rice Bowl with Pork and Vegetables, and 特製ギョーザ Special Gyoza. We thought the food was pretty decent 🙂
Note that there are 2 outlets, and you can check its website for the locations.
|熊本ラーメン黒亭本店 Kokutei Main Store:
- Location: 〒860-0051 熊本県熊本市西区二本木2丁目1-23, 2 Chome−1−23, Nihongi, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto-ken, Japan (Google Maps)
- Directions: 5 minutes walk from JR 熊本駅 Kumamoto Station
- Website: www.kokutei.co.jp (Facebook)
- Hrs: 10:30am – 8:30pm
This was a trip with quite a few train rides, and the one from 熊本 Kumamoto to 人吉 Hitoyoshi was with a very special coal-powered SL 人吉 SL (Steam Locomotive) Hitoyoshi.
We hopped onto the 8:02am Shinkansen MIZUHO 602 from 鹿児島中央 Kagoshima-Chuo for a 45-min train ride to 熊本 Kumamoto.
Upon reaching 熊本 Kumamoto Station, we dropped our luggage at the locker (¥600) and went hunting for some snacks to eat within the station. We got ourselves some yummy れんこんボール Lotus Root Balls (¥380), before we went searching for the train.
While SL 人吉 Hitoyoshi was scheduled to depart at 9:45am, it was already at the tracks waiting, at least 20 minutes earlier. This gave everyone plenty of time to get some pictures, even if you did not manage to get tickets for the ride.
We actually attempted to walk in for lunch the previous day, but it was fully booked for lunch and dinner. Lunch today was fully booked too, so we were pretty glad that we managed to secure seats for tonight. We had already pre-ordered the 霧島コース Kirishima Course dinner set (¥14742 for 2 sets) at the point of booking, so we were led to our seats very promptly as we waited for the spread.
While we were waiting for the food to arrive, we were presented with both English and Chinese instructions on how to enjoy the 黒豚しゃぶしゃぶ Kurobuta Shabu Shabu. We gotta say, the Chinese instructions were much more comprehensive 😛
The food, from the appetisers, to the different cuts of meat, to the noodles and dessert, were simply awesome! If you could only splurge on one meal in Kagoshima, this would definitely be a good option 🙂
|あぢもり Adimori (or Ajimori):
- Location: 〒892-0843 鹿児島県鹿児島市千日町13-21, 13-21, Sennichi-cho, Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima-ken, Japan (Google Maps)
- Directions: 5 minutes walk from the 鹿児島市電 Kagoshima City Tram 天文館通電停 Tenmonkan Dori Tram Stop (Route 1 / Route 2, both Stop No. 07)
- Website: adimori.com (Facebook)
- Hrs: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm (Thu to Tue)
Our main to-do list in 鹿児島 Kagoshima included taking the pretty train to 指宿 Ibusuki, and to check out the 砂むし sand bath over there!
There are 3 return trains for Limited Express 指宿のたまて箱 Ibusuki-no-Tamatebako per day, so making reservations is a must!
The interior of the train is very pretty and there are seats that are facing the windows, so that passengers can enjoy the coastal scenery in its full glory. Unfortunately, those seats are extremely popular, and we did not manage to reserve them.
It was OK though, for everyone was busy walking within the train and standing up to take pictures during the 50-minute train ride. There was also a staff who provided some props and helped everyone take pictures 🙂 This was the most lively train ride we had so far 😀
We were exploring the area near our hotel after the bus tour, and it was rather late by the time our stomachs called out to us 😮
We had wandered to 天文館公園 Tenmonkan Park, and Google search showed us that there was an 居酒屋 Izakaya just opposite us! Despite being so near, it took us a little while to find the entrance 😛
We had to remove our shoes upon entering, and were pretty lucky to get the last table. Once we settled down, we were presented with a 100% Japanese menu without pictures or food models, haha!
We poured over the menu and had a fun time trying to decipher some of the items with our limited vocabulary. The friendly staff also tried his best to explain what some of the items were, and gave us some recommendations.
We were just roaming along the streets after the bus tours, and being way past lunch time, we just randomly popped into a building that looked like there might have some food options.
寿庵 Moze attracted us over with the yummy-looking pork. After all, one should always check out 黒豚 Kurobuta while in 鹿児島 Kagoshima 😀
We were surprised to be led to a private room 😮 Having browsed the menu outside the restaurant earlier, we quickly settled for the 黒豚しゃぶしゃぶランチ Kurobuta Shabu Shabu Lunch Set (¥2484) and 鹿児島グルメMOZEランチ Kagoshima Gourmet Lunch Set (¥1944). We did not have to wait too long in the cosy room before our food arrived.
It seemed rather difficult to find a breakfast place near our hotel in 天文館 Tenmonkan area early in the morning, so we just randomly went into a place that was opened.
This Izakaya was either just opened, or had yet to close 😛 because the chefs looked “just-woken-up”.
We were the only customers, and opted to seat at the counter area to share a 黒豚キムチチーズ お好み焼き Kurobuta Kimchi Cheese Okonomiyaki (¥1200), which turned out to be really literal when the description mentioned “black (pork)”.
As the “chef” was rather busy with other stuff as well, (and at one point, we were wondering if she had indeed forgotten that there was “a piece of thing” on the frying pan) we ended up with a rather black okonomiyaki…
This was the worst meal in our entire 2 weeks in Japan… And we only blogged about it so that readers would not make the same mistake as us…
- Location: 〒892-0843 鹿児島県 鹿児島市 千日町 9-12, 9-12 Sennichicho Kagoshima-shi Kagoshima-ken, Japan (Google Maps)
- Directions: 3 min walk from 市電天文館駅 Tenmonkandori City Tram Station
- Hrs: 24 hours
After visiting 桜島 Sakurajima, we returned to 鹿児島 Kagoshima in search of the famous and popular 黒かつ亭 中央駅本店 Kurokatsutei Kagoshima-Chuo Eki Honten for some delicious とんかつ Tonkatsu Deep Fried Pork Cutlet for dinner (they have another branch 黒かつ亭天文館店 Kurokatsutei Tenmonkan Branch in Kagoshima and one branch 黒かつ亭東京駅店 Kurokatsutei Tokyo Eki Branch in Tokyo Station).
黒豚 (Kurobuta) “Black Pork” refers to the skin colour of the animal, and are Berkshire pork that were originally imported to Kagoshima about 400 years ago.
We opted for the 上ロースかつ定食 Premium Loin Set (¥1,560) and 黒かつ亭定食 Loin & Fillet Set (¥1,380).
While the meat was juicy and had a good bite, we found the breaded crust to be a tad too oily. However, the generous amount of cabbage certainly helped to give it a refreshing lift. Surprisingly, we both felt that the simple カツカレー Curry Rice with Pork Cutlet that we found at 霧島神宮 Kirishima Jingu to be far more delicious. Perhaps the curry rice far exceeded our low expectations because it was relatively away from Kagoshima; while we had much higher expectations of the pork cuisine by restaurants located right in Kagoshima.
|黒かつ亭 中央駅本店 Kurokatsutei Kagoshima-Chuo Eki Honten (Main Store):
- Location: 〒890-0053 鹿児島県鹿児島市中央町16-9 中原ビル1F, Nakahara Building 1F, 16-9, Chuocho, Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima-ken, Japan (Google Maps)
- Directions: 5 min walk from East Exit of JR 鹿児島中央駅 Kagoshima-Chuo Station
- Website: www.kurokatutei.net (Facebook)
- Hrs: 11am – 3:30pm, 5pm – 10:00pm daily