This is the 4th and last day in Central Japan. We left Gifu bright and early for Nagoya for shopping. Nagoya pretty much has everything if you want to buy international brands or products from department stores. It is developed city and almost everything can be found here if you’re not looking for anything culturally specific (like stuff which can be ONLY found in certain countryside areas). The feeling it gave me was somewhat like Chicago. I would compare Nagoya and Tokyo like Chicago and Tokyo – it’s less crowded but developed enough to be considered urban.
My initial plan was to try the famous Nagoya unagi at Atsuta Horaiken. The original shop is located near Atsuta Shrine and I actually saw it on the road when leaving the shrine on day 1. They have 3 other outlets within the city area and I excitedly went to the shop at Matsutake department store in Sakae district, the Orchard Road of Nagoya only to find it closed for kitchen inspection. In fact, it was going to be closed for about 3 days. All other outlets in the city were closed too. I’ve heard that Japanese people fly to Nagoya from all areas like Hokkaido or Okinawa even just to have this Nagoya specialty. It was such a pity!
Settled for another restaurant in neighbouring shopping mall La Chic which also specialised in Hitsumabushi Unagi – Bincho. This restaurant is also available in Tokyo and Osaka.
The cooking area was visible from the entrance so you can see that they charcoal grill their eel.
English menu and instructions on eating is provided at this place.
This is the premium sized Hitsumabushi set which contains more eel than the regular sized one.
The eel was very flavourful and I did enjoy this. I wonder how much better the most popular shop Atsuta Horaiken would be. This is slightly different from Narita’s version of unagi. Narita is another town with really good unagi. Unagi lovers can check out these 2 towns.
After lunch, shopping in Sakae district resumed. Most of the shops were more towards mid and high end and you can find Chanel and Hermes even. I was happy to find HMV and happier that they have all the CDs I’ve been looking for! CD shops are almost non-existent in Singapore already, and even more so non-existent are Japanese albums, especially old releases. Very happy to find everything I’ve been wanted to buy for YEARS here!
Stayed at Hilton Nagoya for 1 night and I liked how there’s a Japanese touch to the room with the Japanese style windows. The hotel is located nearer to Nagoya Station than Sakae. Nagoya station is another good place for shopping but I did not explore the area.
Dinner was French for a change, at a restaurant in Tokugawaen, a beautiful Japanese garden in Nagoya. Sadly, night fell really early and I could not get a clear view of the garden when I arrived for dinner.
OOTD for the 5 course dinner at Garden Restaurant Tokugawaen:
Mikawa chicken served with seasonal fruits in a yogurt sauce
Works great as a refreshing appetizer.
Vanilla infused sweet potato soup
The soup was served cold.
Pan-seared sea fish accompanied with garam masala red lobster risotto
This is my favourite course for this meal. It was the lobster risotto that I particularly enjoyed most. I love the lobster stock which was full of crustacean flavour.
Roasted Japanese fillet of beef on a bed of seasonal vegetables
I would really like this one but the previous days of having Hida beef has “spoiled market” for beef. Otherwise, this beef was actually good enough. The vegetables were perfect for my liking.
Japanese pear compote with jasmine jelly and amaretto ice cream
I am not quite a pear (or rather, fruity) person so this was only alright for me.
A random view from the hotel room window. I love to keep the window shades/ curtains opened to sleep if the view that’ll great me is small city lights and if the room is highly elevated. Of course I assume that this isn’t east facing and I wouldn’t be sunburnt in the morning.
This concludes 4 days in Chūbu. I would very much love to return to Takayama for Hida beef and perhaps be in luck next time to get to try Atsuta Horaiken Hitsumabushi unagi in Nagoya.