Day 14 - Train to Kobe
On this day I woke up early and walked to the train station. I had a plan in mind for the rest of the day that would first take me to Osaka, where I would transfer onto the high speed rail line and head west. This was a monday and so I ran into a decently busy rush hour.. and a confusing mess of rail and subway lines in Osaka..
I missed my stop in Osaka and had to go back, but then eventually made it to the high speed rail line and booked a ticket to Kobe on the next Shinkansen. The plan was to grab some lunch in Kobe, then jump back on the high speed train heading west, stop in Himeji, and then jump on again to finally end up in Hiroshima. I wasn't sure if I would be able to squeeze all of this into the day at the time.. but I was willing to give it a try...
When I arrived in Kobe it was raining quite a bit.. I left my large backpack in a storage locker at the high speed rail station, and then promptly opened it again.. and had to pay again to store my backpack in the storage locker. And it was almost noon..
I looked up the best steakhouses near the train station and found a couple options with great reviews about a 15 minute walk into the city.. I walked there in the rain and finally arrived in the lobby
Turns out they were packed full.. I was given the option of coming back in 45 minutes.. So I went outside, but due to the rain was forced to seek shelter in a nearby staircase... I walked up a couple flights and sat down on the steps... This staircase was on the outside of the building, so it was shielded from the rain, but you could still see some of the city from your vantage point.. I sat there for 40 minutes or so and killed some time.. then walked back to the restaurant.
Success! There was room for me to sit down and have a meal. My objective was to splurge a bit and eat a really good A5 Wagyu steak in Kobe, Japan, at a good steakhouse. I ordered the best steak on the menu, which came to about $120 USD IIRC. This came with a miso soup, some rice, an appetizer, a salad, grilled vegetables, and probably something I am forgetting..
A couple minutes after ordering, the chef came out and presented the cut of meat that he was going to be cooking for me
Wagyu is one of the four Japanese breeds of beef cattle.. The cows tend to be fattier due to the way they are fed, and the meat takes on a marbly quality as a result. It looks quite fatty, but most of what you see is quite edible and quite tasty..
The A represents the highest possible yield of meat and the 5 represents the highest possible grade. A5 Wagyu Kobe beef uses a specific strain of Wagyu called Tajima-Gyu that is raised to strict standards in the prefecture of Hyogo. The capital of Hyogo being Kobe...
Kobe was on my way to my other destinations and I eventually convinced myself to try to squeeze in a steak. It ended up working out and I'm really glad that it did. To this day I can still remember how heavenly this steak tasted.. It's like no other steak I ever ate before... Most of it sort of melts in your mouth.. but it's not fatty tasting at all and you get that steak experience.. The unfortunate part is that you do not get a lot of steak at all.. but the meal comes with a whole bunch of stuff so when it's all said and done you are more or less satisfied
The included appetizer arrived in the form of A5 Wagyu carpaccio