Kobe & Nara, Japan November 2015

While in Osaka we decided to make a half day trip to Kobe and Nara (on separate days) since they are only 40ish minutes away by train.

To Nara
We took a train from Namba Station to Kintetsu Nara Station, you have the option of using either the limited express or express line, both are fine. We took which ever was available at the time of travel. Upon reaching Nara Station there is a tourist inquiry office at the exit next to the station, you can grab a map here. You have an option to rent a bike at a nearby shop, the trek up hill to the park is a challenge, most just push their bike up but once on top the bike is a blessing as you can cycle your way from one temple to the next  as they are spread all over the park. You can inquire the bike shop location at the tourist office.

The park is a great place for family outing, even on a weekday there are a lot of people at the park with a good mixture of tourists, school outings and locals having a stroll.

To Kobe
While researching for a place to try the famous Kobe beef we found La Shomon. There were plenty of restaurants serving Kobe beef nearby the main Kobe station but where is the fun in that? We took a train from Kobe station to Tarumi station, and with our trusty Google map we managed to find the place within a short walk from the station. Upon reaching the restaurant we were told they do not have Kobe beef in stock but what they have is the next best, if not better beef, Miyazakigyu.

You have the traditional top 3 wagyu beef in Japan, Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef and Ohmi beef. The top grade for these beef is Grade 5, now imagine a beef that some say is even higher than Grade 5, that’s Miyazaki beef. It is not mere hot air blowing, Miyazaki won the “Wagyu Olympics” in 2007 as the top Champion Cow in Japan and in the more recent 2012 National they took home top honors in 5 of the 9 categories available. Worth a try? Surely!

We were also introduced to La Shamon’s signature dry aged wagyu, I must say it’s the most sexy cube of meat I’ve ever seen! The meat was seared on both sides and left to rest for a few minutes and this process was repeated a few times to get good caramelization on the outside but still medium rare on the inside. If I were to compare the taste and texture, I’d say it’s as good as Matsusaka beef. You can really taste the beef thanks to the aging process and, as they always use this term to describe Kobe beef, as soft as butter when you bite on it. Big thumbs up!

As for Miyazaki itself the adulation so far is not unfounded. After tasting Matsusaka the night before, I can confidently say Miyazaki does taste better in comparison. I didn’t snap much pictures as I was the one grilling and took extra care not to overcook the beef, not to mention busy gobbling the beef down immediately off the grill. At the end of the day you can feed me either Matsusaka, Miyazaki or even the dry aged wagyu and I’m one happy puppy!

La Shomon
Address: Japan, 〒655-0027 Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe, 垂水区神田町4-10
Hours: 11AM to 1AM

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