Shibamata - Lunch & Taishakuten Temple
Let's go for Shibamata's famous tempura-don and enjoy a stroll around the beautiful Taishakuten Temple!
If you want to read about where we went, please read Part 1 for more introductions and details of getting there.
So our first stop for Part 2 is lunch.
We heard about how famous 大和家 (Yamatoya) is for their tempura so we knew we had to try that out
When we were about to go in, the shop lady double checked with us if we are okay because there are only two items to choose from. One is the てんぷら丼 (Tempura Don - deep-fried ingredients placed on top of rice) and the other is てんぷら定食 (Tempura Teishoku - deep-fried ingredients on the side, separate from the rice).
Even from outside, the fragrant smell of oil wafted into our noses. Be prepared to smell like tempura when you leave the shop.
It was really interesting to see the shop run entirely by the family. Some would do the cooking and some would do the serving or clean up.
Just like the area, the shop too wasn't too tourist-friendly. Don't get me wrong, the people were really nice but if you can't read Japanese, you might have a little difficulty ordering because the menu was only written in Japanese.
I picked the regular Tempura Don at JPY998. There was one prawn, a fish and one little green veggie. My friend picked the special Tempura Don at JPY1650. There was a prawn, anago (salt-water eel), a fish and a green little veggie. Both rice bowls came with pickles and miso soup.
However, the pickles between the regular and special menu were slightly different.
Instead of the usual drizzle of sauce over the tempura, this was actually dipped directly into the sauce. So it was really salty.
It's probably strange to say this, but instead of the tempura, the rice was REALLY good. There was something very fluffy and absolutely delicious about it. The pickles were really yummy too. It went very well with rice.
I won't recommend going for the special one because the oil might be too much for your stomach to take it.
My friend was so full after that. The regular menu was just nice for me. And I guess the trick is to divide the rice and tempura properly so every bite has the rice to balance out the saltiness.
Now that we are full and happy, let's head to the Shibamata's famous Buddhist temple: Taishakuten
We were recommended by this lady outside the station to pay for the admission fee because it's totally worth it and you can even enjoy a cup of tea in there.
But we didn't. If you do go in, do let me know how was it!
When we reached Taishakutan, we were greeted by the Nitenmon Gate which was built in 1896. That's a whooping 124 years!
Taishakuten was established in 1629 but the current building was built in 1929 and managed to survive the bombings of World War 2. You have to take off your shoes when you go up to the building.
The pine tree in Taishakuten apparently resembles a dragon and it is at least 500 years old. And if you have ever been to the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, you will notice some similarities in the wooden carvings here. That's because it was made by the same artists.
We only walked around the area that is free so I can only tell you about that. However, one amusing thing I found was that there was part of the paid area that is closed off with glass windows which works as a protective measure against the seasons. So you can actually see some of it from the outside.
Look how beautiful the autumn colours are starting to appear. And that's a wrap for part 2!
If you are not a fan of tempura, Shibamata is also famous for their Unagi (eel) dishes so you might want to try that out. There will be another round of attractions (and food of course) in the final part. See you there!
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