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Japan

Hiroshima – Cheap Seafood Pancake to Michelin-Starred Restaurant

With only 36 hours in Hiroshima City, we carefully hand-picked three of its most representative restaurants for a well-rounded sampling of regional flavors. We would start with the originator of world-famous Okonomiyaki pancakes, Hiroshima’s greatest contribution to the Japanese culinary…

Omakase Lunch at Hiroshima’s Tempura Master Chef

Cheap dinners and upscale lunches has always been our golden strategy on any Japan trip, taking advantage of significant lunch discounts at exclusive restaurants normally outside our budget range. That was the case when we visited Hiroshima’s premier Tempura specialist,…

Memories of War – and Peace – in Hiroshima

We postponed our visit of Hiroshima until the end of our 16-day slow trip of West Japan, for obvious reasons. Months before our trip a colleague of mine had already warned us about the depression that would inevitably follow a…

Miyajima – Japan’s Best Oysters and Broiled Anago Eels

Parma and prosciutto. Peking and roast duck. Some destinations have become so synonymous with their culinary inventions that no serious foodie would pass through without indulging too much. And that was our main focus as we planned our visit to…

Miyajima in Glorious Autumn Foliage

Everyone’s number one reason for visiting West Japan, and we finally arrived on Day 14 of our 16-Day Circle Route. Climaxing with one of Japan’s most iconic sights was a deliberate choice, but timing our arrival with the peak of…

Advanced Japan How To: Hop-On Hop-Off JR Trains Using Cheap Regular Tickets

This short article is for non-Japanese speaking travelers looking to hop-on hop-off JR trains without any rail passes. Note – if you’re looking for info on Japan Rail Passes, refer to the official JR Pass site here. Or if you’re…

Iwakuni – 300-Year-Old Ryokan and 160-Year-Old Restaurant

After eight days of relative peace along the exotic and sparsely populated San’in Coast, we dropped ourselves smack dab in the middle of Japan’s beaten paths. Mentally we should have been better prepared for the culture shock, as we’re visiting…

Annual Street Festival at Historic Yanai

By mere chance we arrived at one of West Japan’s most attractive towns on the day of her autumn harvest festival. We’re on the final leg of our 16-Day Circle Route from Hiroshima, moving from remote but gorgeous Hagi towards…

Remote Feudal Town of Hagi – Part 4: Impossibly Cheap Seafood to Exquisite Kaiseki

At Hagi we came across the absolute best value for seafood, anywhere in Japan. Ever seen Abalone Sushi for 100 yen (CAD$1.2)? How about a plate of Poisonous Fugu Sashimi for 150 yen (CAD$1.8)? Or 300 yen (CAD$3.5) for a…

Remote Feudal Town of Hagi – Part 3: Poisonous Fugu at Cheap Hotspring Ryokan

Consumption of deadly poisonous Fugu, the infamous Japanese delicacy often dramatized in Western pop culture, has its strongest following in Yamaguchi Prefecture. So when we booked our Ryokan at Hagi during Fugu season, our number one criteria was not the…

Remote Feudal Town of Hagi – Part 2: Samurai Quarters

Day 2 at this little-known enclave of potters and former Samurai clans, and we saw why Hagi may just be the most underrated destination in West Japan. After all Hagi boasts perhaps Japan’s best-preserved feudal town aside from Kyoto’s Higashiyama…

Remote Feudal Town of Hagi – Part 1: Birthplace of Modern Japan

Unknowingly we did save the best for last on our 8-day excursion down Japan’s rugged San’in Coast. The seafood capital of Matsue was appetizing as promised, and the unfamiliar Yunotsu and Iwami Ginzan surprised us with 1300-year-old hotsprings in addition…