Tenjin Matsuri & Kobe

DSC_0192A couple of days ago I went to the Tenjin Matsuri Festival with my friend Yuko. The Tenjin Matsuri Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Japan, it’s a summer festival held near the Tenman Shrine which is dedicated to the patron god of arts & learning. The festival is spread over two days with the highlight being the boat procession which involves thousands of people on hundreds of boats sailing along the river. The festival draws a huge crowd who come to see the procession and also the huge firework display.

Matsuri from Paul Mount on Vimeo.

My friend and I went to Sakuranomiya Park to watch the festival, it was so busy that on occasion you couldn’t move and it was also incredibly hot but well worth it. To keep everyone happy they have hundreds of stalls setup to sell food & drinks to the public. When we arrived we got some drinks and found a nice spot to sit down and watch the firework display…. was great way to spend a warm summer evening in Osaka.

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The following day my friend Jack and I went to Kobe for a day trip… the main reason for going was to eat some nice Kobe beef! Thankfully Kobe is fairly close to Osaka and only takes about 30 minutes from Osaka station. We arrived around lunch time and decided to go for a walk to see a bit of Kobe. Everything in Kobe looks very new, this is probably because most of the city was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1995.

DSC_0217We walked up a huge hill causing us both to sweat ridiculously… ah Japanese humidity!. They have many old consulate buildings here designed in their native style spread across the hillside overlooking Kobe. Due to exhaustion and being cover in sweat we popped into a nice Belgian Beer Cafe to have a beer before our eagerly awaited dinner!.

beef1About 6pm we went to a Japanese restaurant called Steakland which specialises in the famous Kobe beef. Kobe beef comes from wagyu cattle and is renowed for it’s taste and tenderness. Having eaten a great deal of steaks in the past I was interested to see what the difference was. Upon entering the restaurant we were sat at a table surrounding a large hot plate the chef uses to cook on and were handed our menu which thankfully was in english. We both went for the Special Kobe Sirloin Steak dinner set which cost approx 5900 yen ( which is about £40… this is actually consideraby cheaper than what we expected to pay… we were prepared to pay double).

beef4After ordering we were given some dipping sauces, a fresh salad with dressing and some soup, incredibly tasty and thankfully very light so not to put me off my steak. The chef then came over to the hotplate in front of us and after prepartion began to cook, firstly flavouring the hotplate by frying thin slices of garlic which were then discarded. He then grilled a selection of vegetables before getting to the steak, after showing us the raw cut and asking how we would like it cooked he began to grill the steak. Unlike steaks we know and love back home they don’t serve the steak whole…. whilst cooking they cut it up into bite size pieces. We could see from the way he sliced through the meat that it was incredibly tender, he carefully made sure each cube was perfectly cooked before passing the pieces onto our plate. The moment had finally came to taste!

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Amazing! The meat was so tender that in some ways it didn’t even resemble any piece of steak I’ve ever had, as soon as you put it in your mouth and bit down on it the meat simply dissolved. I think I will struggle to have a normal steak again! If you ever come to Japan I recommend you give Kobe beef a try! Think you’ve eaten Kobe beef before? Prior to 2012 Kobe beef was never exported from Japan, many restaurants in the UK/USA ect were just selling cheap knock offs as there was no licensing to say they couldn’t call a piece of steak Kobe Beef!.

Anyways enough about beef! After dinner we took a walk round China town and down to the harbour to see the Kobe Port Tower. We chilled out for an hour or so before heading home. All in all a very pleasant day, please check out some of the pictures!!

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2 Responses to Tenjin Matsuri & Kobe

  1. Dan says:

    Hi there!

    Some really amazing photos here, and I loved your video of the fireworks festival! Really getting me excited for my planned trip to Asia next year!

    Dan

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