The Tunisian Restaurant Cafe Chameau in Kobe

Did you know you can find a tiny piece of Tunisia in Kobe?
One of the things I love about conversation with my friends in Kobe is that our topics are far and wide. It goes from toddlers to Irish law…and in this case, couscous! I happened to mention that I’ve only had it once and didn’t know how to prepare couscous. Apparently V’s sister makes an amazing couscous dish and one thing led to another and we ended up having lunch at Cafe Chameau.
How much do you know about Tunisia?
I personally didn’t know very much about Tunisia, except that they have a soccer team that Japan has played in a past World Cup. So I did a little research (i.e. google) and learned that Tunisia is a North African country that sits snug between Algeria and Libya. Previously part of the French colony, they became independent in 1956. And despite political turmoil at times, their gorgeous beach resorts seem to remain a favorite destination among many Europeans (I can see why!). Obviously, this is like saying Japan is an island and Tokyo is the capital city…but we all have to start somewhere, right?
The friendly Tunisian owner of Cafe Chameau welcomed us into the restaurant. Because my friends are French, that is what they spoke. Later he switched over to English for me and showed me pictures of his daughter who also already speaks Arabic and Japanese. So many languages…I love it.
For lunch, I of course chose the couscous set, which was full of delicious spice and vegetables. So good! Also, perfect dish for a vegetarian (especially if you have a friend like V, who ate the meat for me!). Oh and can I tell you how much I loved the sweet mint tea? Mmm! I’m definitely coming here again next time I’m back in Kobe.
Have you ever tried a Tunisian dish before? What do you think? x
Look for the Tunisia flag and this restaurant sign!
Loved this little corner filled with various Tunisian goods, some of which you can buy.
This is the lentil soup and pita bread with a bit of mechouia, part of the couscous lunch set.
The flavorful couscous dish! It was super filling, too!
Not only is the food delicious, the dish itself is gorgeous as well.
My first time trying the sweet mint tea…I’m still craving it right now!
There are two table seats as well as counter seats…so stop by when you’re in Kobe!

Yale Yamate Bldg 104, 2-13-9 Naka-yamate-dori, Chuo-ku Kobe-shi, Hyogo JAPAN
兵庫県神戸市中央区中山手通2-13-9  エール山手ビル104号
TEL: 078-242-0807
OPEN: 11:30am-10:00pm
CLOSED: Mondays (unless holiday)

The Fun Rainy Day in Kobe

Well, that didn’t happen. Not that I’m complaining though, I love a good typhoon. And there will always be another high school baseball Koshien tournament. Maybe even my own high school will make it there someday! (You’d think with me attending two high schools, the chances for this would multiply…)

Best of all, the typhoon gave me a chance to just relax indoors with my amazing friends who braved the weather and came out to see me! Nothing beats that!

As often as I get on and off airplanes, it’s rare that someone is waiting for me at the airport. I usually quickly get on a bus or train after I’ve gone through baggage claim. But this time, I got off the flight at Kobe Airport and my lovely friends were there waiting for me! Isn’t that the best surprise?


We’ve mostly gotten together when they’ve been in Tokyo (here, here, and here) so it was fun getting a chance to get together in their beautiful city of Kobe this time. Well, we mostly just talked a lot while walking around or eating. But in all honesty, that’s all I really need when I’m in good company!

Here are some photos:

I can’t get enough of this handsome little man, he’s grown so much!
Starting off the day right with Kobe coffee and waffles at UCC Cafe Plaza…YUM! 
We walked through Ikuta Shrine, exploring a bit of the city once the rain stopped.
Ikuta Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in the country, founded in the 3rd century.
Isn’t this building so quirky? Shows us how to fold…the building? 😀
For lunch I had this delicious couscous dish! Loved this Tunisian restaurant!
My lovely friends…best hosts ever! x
Once it started raining again, we headed to a shopping center. Specifically this gelato shop!
Here I’d just asked little A if he was ready to eat gelato…I think that smile says he was!
It took forever to choose but we adults settled on this!
How do I say delicious in French? It was so good!
A pretty sunset outside of our dinner restaurant.
The Hawaiian flavored coffee was delicious, especially this latte!
Had an amazing time because I got to spend the day with my favorite family in Kobe! x


Kobe Kotsu Center 2F, 1-10-1 Sannomiya Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo JAPAN
兵庫県神戸市中央区三宮町1-10-1 神戸交通センタービル2F
TEL: 078-391-4057
OPEN: 8:00am-9:00pm
1-2-1 Shimo-yamate-dori Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo JAPAN
兵庫県神戸市中央区下山手通1丁目2-1
Hankyu Nishinomiy Gardens, 14-2 Takamatsu-cho, Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo JAPAN
兵庫県西宮市 高松町14−2 阪急西宮ガーデンズ
OPEN: 10:00am-9:00pm

Hankyu Nishinomiy Gardens, 14-2 Takamatsu-cho, Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo JAPAN
兵庫県西宮市 高松町14−2 阪急西宮ガーデンズ
OPEN: 11:00am-11:00pm

The Day Exploring Nasu

I really had no idea Nasu-kogen (那須高原) was so close to Tokyo.
This was over two months ago, but I was in Nasu (那須) for the weekend to attend a friend’s wedding! I was really excited about this weekend because I hadn’t been to a wedding in a while (love feeling the love!) and technically this was my first time stepping into Tochigi prefecture, which is where Nasu is located.
Nasu, along with Karuizawa (軽井沢), are the top two summer resorts for people in the Kanto area because of the cooler weather, due to their location in the highlands. We call these places hishochi (避暑地) in Japanese, which translates to “land evading heat.” And I can definitely vouch for that. The weekend we were in Nasu, Tokyo was apparently hit with the first heatwave of the season but we didn’t feel any of it, especially up in the mountains.
I would recommend a rental car if you’re ever in Nasu. Everything is located pretty far from the main shinkansen/train station and it makes exploring much easier. But since the main reason my friend and I were there was for the wedding, we stuck with trains and buses to explore a bit of Nasu.
We took the bus from Nasu Shiobara station to Nasu Yumoto (那須湯本), a place that has been famous for their onsen (hot springs) since they discovered the very first one, Shika-no-yu (鹿の湯), over 1,380 years ago in year 630 (read more about the history in Japanese here). They also established the Nasu Onsen Shrine (那須温泉神社) close by around the same time. 
We took a short walk through the Nasu Onsen Shrine premises and then down below to take in the amazing sight of hundreds of jizo standing along the mountain side. They are called Sentai Jizo (千体地蔵), which means one thousand jizos, but in reality they still have a bit to go to reach that number. A local craftsman started handcrafting these jizos in 1978 and continues to do so today with prayers for peace.
I noticed that this whole valley was mostly rock and sand, even though the surrounding mountains were lush with greenery. You could say the fault lies on a large rock that sits there called Sessho-seki (殺生石), which translates to “rock that kills the living.” People in the olden days believed the rock had a spirit within it and named it Sessho-seki because they saw many plants and even animals that came near it suddenly die. There’s even a famous legendary story regarding Sessho-seki (read here).
We now know that the real reason this happened is due to toxic gas, such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, which sprouted from the ground surrounding Sessho-seki. You can still smell the odor quite distinctively and even to this day, certain areas around Sessho-seki are blocked off due to the harmful fumes. Isn’t that scary? Although if you got a whiff of the smell like I did, you’d know right away that it can’t be that great for you. It smelled worse than the onsen mud pack in Kagoshima!
Speaking of onsen, my friend and I didn’t have time for that but we did manage to relax in an ashi-yu (足湯), which is an onsen for your feet. It’s the perfect way to rest your feet after walking around for awhile. We also ate soba before heading off to visit Nasu Alpaca Farm, because who doesn’t want to hang with Alpacas? (Blog post to come soon!) We really had a great time getting to know Nasu. It’s on my list of places to revisit…I bet late fall in Nasu is gorgeous!
Here are some photos:
It’s been awhile since my last Shinkansen ride…they really are fast.
Nasu-shiobara Station is where most people get off to go to Nasu Yumoto.
I forgot what they are called but they were handing out these fish in front of the soba shop!
We had lunch at Nasu Yumoto…nothing like cold soba in the summer!
This was the entrance to the Nasu Onsen Shrine (那須温泉神社).
This was the path leading up to it…and silly me, I forgot to take a photo of the main shrine!
Apparently even the famous poet Basho Matsuo (松尾芭蕉) passed through Nasu.
Steep stairs leading up to the Atago Shrine (愛宕神社) located by the Onsen Shrine.
The view of the valley below…we could already smell the sulfur odor from here.
The creepy Sessho-seki that kills everything that comes near it.
Even today there is a fence blocking us from getting closer.
The story of Sessho-seki.
One of the handmade jizo…many people place coins at the feet of the jizo for their own prayers.
Many of the Jizo had crocheted hats and scarves wrapped around them.
My omikuji from Nasu Onsen Shrine…it said that change was coming. Hmmm.
Nasu is also known for their fresh fruit and vegetables. These dips were on sale.
The ashi-yu felt amazing, even though the water was really hot at first.
Located at the foot of Nasu Onsen Shrine, it’s free for anyone to dip their feet into.
We ended the day near Kuro-iso Station (黒磯駅).
I had soba for dinner even though I had it for lunch, too. So good!
182-22 Yumoto Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi JAPAN
栃木県那須郡那須町湯本182-22
TEL: 0287-76-3230
OPEN: 11:00am until noodles sell out (closed Tuesdays)
ZARU SOBA: 700 yen
182 Yumoto Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi JAPAN
栃木県那須郡那須町大字湯本182
TEL: 0287-76-2306
OMIKUJI: 100 yen
KONBAIRO NO YU (こんばいろの湯)
182-14 Yumoto Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi JAPAN
栃木県那須郡那須町大字湯本182-14
TEL: 0287-76-2619
OPEN: 9:00am-6:00pm
4-4 Honcho, Nasushiohara-shi, Tochigi JAPAN
栃木県那須塩原市本町4-4
TEL: 0287-62-0007
OPEN: 11:00am-8:00pm

The Garden Cafe in Kagoshima

I fell completely in love with this cafe.
Wind No Mori is located on the property of a lovely couple, Mr. and Mrs. Nagase, who opens their home as an outdoor cafe on the weekends. And what a cafe it is.
Everything from the entrance sign, park benches, and garden deck were all handmade. Mr. Nagase even showed us the DIY pizza oven he made outside (which I forgot to take a photo of). Their property is vast and you can tell that they really enjoy their time there. I loved all the country home details.
The three of us chose a pretty blue picnic table to lounge while we had our cakes, coffee, and tea. Everything is self-serve here, so after giving our orders, we sat around the main house chatting with the owners while they got everything together. We were also introduced to their very shy but adorable dog!
Once everything was ready, we took it all back to our picnic table and enjoyed every last crumb and sip! Yum!
Here are some photos of the quaint garden cafe:
GARDEN CAFE – WIND NO MORI (ウィンドの森)
1576-4 Kirishima-taguchi
Kirishima-shi, Kagoshima JAPAN

鹿児島県霧島市霧島田口1576-4
TEL: 0995-57-3721
HOURS: 10:00am-4:00pm (open Saturdays & Sundays)
CAKE & DRINK SET: 500 yen

The Day in Kagoshima

After our amazing trip to Yakushima, we came back to Kagoshima and I got to spend the whole weekend with S and her husband before heading back to reality (aka Tokyo). 
Kagoshima is a really beautiful prefecture surrounded by many volcanic mountains (most of which aren’t active anymore). This means that they also have many onsen (温泉), or hot springs, to enjoy. Kagoshima is famous for many things including Sakura-jima (桜島), the still active volcano, and Kuro-buta (黒豚), the Kagoshima black pig (which I’ve never eaten because I’m vegetarian…but I hear it’s really good!).
They also seem to be very proud of the rich history they have, such as the Satsuma-han (薩摩藩), and you will see statues of various scenes from history all around the city. You can even listen to a recorded explanation of each scene. If you’re into history, you’ll love it.
The city of Kagoshima also has a very convenient tram system. One of the things I noticed was that every tram station had grass growing on the tramway. Apparently this is one of the city’s countermeasures for the urban heat-island effect which they started in 2006. And according to data regarding these areas, not only has the temperature gone down but so has the noise level. Isn’t that great?
I have a few more Kagoshima posts coming up, but until then, here are some photos of our day hanging out in the city! x
The beautiful tram station in front of the JR Kagoshima-chuo Station.
The statues of a scene in Kagoshima history…my friend said they are life-size statues!
Heading to the organic chikyu-batake cafe for lunch!
I got the delicious korokke set, which also included a salad bar.
We had a choice of regular, brown, or black rice to go with our set menu.
The tempura set looked delicious, too. You can see we were pretty happy with our lunch!
Kagoshima is also known for their Shiro-kuma shaved ice. Yum!
S and her husband are always fun to hang out with…love them both!
The prestigious Hotel Shiroyama has a fantastic view of Sakura-jima.
It also has a great view of the city below…and it’s all free! 😀

CHIKYU-BATAKE CAFE (地球畑カフェ 草原をわたる船)
3-17-1 Shimo-arata
Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima JAPAN
鹿児島県鹿児島市下荒田3丁目17番1号
TEL: 099-201-7000
HOURS: 11:00am-10:00pm (closed Tuesdays)

HOTEL SHIROYAMA
41-1 Shinshoin-cho
Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima JAPAN
鹿児島県鹿児島市新照院町41番1号
TEL: 099-224-2211

The Cafe Jurin in Yakushima

On our first day in Yakushima, we stopped by this quaint cafe for lunch.
Cafe Jurin is located close to Yakushima Airport and we both fell for the outdoor seating behind the old building. The interior was mostly made of sugi wood and 
826-31 Koseda Yakushima-cho Kumage-gun, Kagoshima JAPAN
鹿児島県熊毛郡屋久島町小瀬田826-31
TEL: 0997-43-5454
HOURS: 10;00am-5:00pm
CLOSED: Mondays

The Afternoon at Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee

Did you know that ‘bestie‘ is now officially a word in the Oxford English Dictionary?

 I use it all the time and I know some people cringe over the word…but I like it! It’s so easy to say. Although that could just be my Japanesey side taking over. You know how we love to abbreviate everything! ;D

Well, I mentioned all of that to say…I went to eat pie with my bestie!

M loves apple pies something fierce so we decided to stop by Granny Smith Apple Pie & Coffee, a small cafe in Aoyama. And when I say small, there are literally only 4 tables-for-two and 1 table-for-four. But the store concept is take-out pie and coffee, so I guess they don’t need as many tables.

The pies all looked delicious! There were so many choices that it was hard to decided (see menu here). Very hard. But I had absolutely no problem deciding that we were just going to have to keep on coming back until I’ve tried every one of their pies. Every. Single. One.
I ended up ordering the Apple Cobbler (because you could only get it when you eat inside the cafe…I really AM Japanese. Ha) and a cappuccino. M got the Dutch Crumble and a latte. It was scrumptious and we had a great time chatting in the cafe, surrounded by the lovely fragrance of freshly baked pies in oven. I’m already pondering over what I’ll order next time I’m there!
Here are some photos:
My Apple Cobbler.
M’s Dutch Crumble
Isn’t my bestie gorgeous?
5-8-9 Minami Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo
東京都港区南青山5-8-9
03-3486-5581
Hours: 10am-9pm