Dusk on Uchinada beach
Dusk on Uchinada beach
The big wig at Iwakuni
Me and the girls geting our imported food fix at the Marine Mart, Iwakuni
Anyway, it was a really refreshing change, I felt as though I’d flown to the US for a weekend holiday. WOW, to eat an oversized steak and cajun prawns on an supersized BBQ and drink oversized margaritas and Bud watching the beautiful sunset . Who can complain?
Me with the supersize BBQ
Waiting for din dins
Officers walking about Iwakuni
Me with some of Leah's reportees
In the evening we set off for the Officers Club (OC) and I got talking to a colonel who flew those huge fighter jets (known as F18’s) All very exciting except for when I was trying to describe where Kanazawa was he drew a crappy map and asked me if it was north of KIYOTEEE. I was like Kiyoteee? Ahh....after a few seconds I realised he meant “Kyoto”. Oh dear and isn’t this from someone who flies jets over Japan and studies flight maps? I couldn’t help correcting him. He said “Ahh Kyoto, yes that’s right” and pegged it sharpish.
Other than us all being propositioned by some seedy Filipino hookers in a bar in Iwakuni, no other news to report from my US Marines weekend. Great fun.
Mum soaking in the culture (i.e getting her "softo" ice cream fix)
So despite having allocated a few days “rest” in our manic travelling schedule mum was keen on doing something so I got the map out and saw it wasn’t too far from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go (a UNESCO heritage site so knew there had to be a reason) and we could take the Super Rindo Forest Road (which I heard was beautiful) on the way there. So split second decision and within the hour we were in the lilac autombile (which we had now christened FUK-U-MI having crossed a bridge in Noto with the name) clutching our coffee and pastry breakfasts.
From Kanazawa it only took about a half hour heading south on the 157 Route towards Mount Hakusan until we were amongst the beautiful mountains. By the time we reached the toll gate for the Super Rindo Forest Road mum we’d already had a few hair raising “oh god we’re going to fall off the edge” moments in the car. The toll cost ￥2500 (summer special) as far as I remember but it was so worth it. The drive is absolutely breathtaking, totally unspoilt and we loved every minute. There were some beautiful waterfalls, cliff faces and stunning views from the top. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
PS Drivers beware. At one point on the road, these spacious comfy double lanes change into a single so when you meet another car coming the other way you’re only option is reversing which can rattle anyone’s nerves with a sheer 1,450 metre drop to the side of you!
The Super Rindo Forest Road is a “MUST DO” on anyone’s trip to Kanazawa and can easily done as a daytrip so don't hesitate. If you’re visiting in Autumn this would be the top of my list.
FUK-U-MI (named after a bridge in Noto)- our little lilac delight
Seeking refuge and hot tins of coffee in the tin shack, Chirihama beach
The rugged cool beach shack (corrugated roof and all), Chirihama beach
Back in the car. By this point the rain was getting heavier, so we decided to do a U turn & get back on the Noto Toll Road for fear of actually sinking us and our little lilac delight in the wet sand. When got to the junction though it was like a lake & only big beefy cars were getting through. After a heated discussion with mumma I decided sinking in sand with the tide coming in would make a far better story than breaking down on a highway so we decided to head back for Chirihama beach. To be honest, we shouldn’t have feared.
Fear not. You know you're safe driving on sand when a Japanese tourist bus coming the other way
Mum outside Flatts by the Sea bakery (next door to the B&B)
View from our room at Flatts by the Sea, it didn't stop bloody raining!
Flatts by the Sea is a bakery, cafe, restaurant and minshuku (B&B) all rolled into one. On arrival we were given a warm welcome and told dinner would be served at 6.30pm. Home from home or what? We sat and had OZZIE wine (bliss!) in their cute tatami mat restaurant. There were 2 other families staying too. It was all very friendly and cosy.
Me and mum at our table at Flatts by the Sea's tiny restaurant
Yoko, Ben’s wife gave us a fantastic lowdown of the dishes as she brought out each course, each one in some way containing local ingredients, from handpicked blueberry pie to her mothers 3 year old fermented fish (that was for breakfast) Funazushi? I can’t remember but it did taste so strong and stank.
Wonderfully presented sashimi dish at Flatts
Flatts by the Sea surf style cafe
Yep mum holding the mascot wicker kangaroo in Flatts by the Sea cafe
Boiling meat in a nabe type pot
Tadaya’s saving grace is their food. Beautifully presented and they bring each of the 7 courses to your tatami mat room. Our waitress was so lovely (in fact all of the staff were friendly) and gave us a running commentary of each dish in Japglish (half English, half Japanese) I even understood some of what she was saying. Progress!
Me in the nud in the onsen (hot spring) overlooking the sea at Wakura Onsen