Enjoyed Raifuku at “Nawa Noren” after miracles


Good evening.
Thank you very much for visiting this blog.

Today I’d like to introduce an Izakaya restaurant near Hitachi Taga Station, “Nawa Noren”.


In the last blog, I wrote about double rainbows which I saw in an outdoor spa with a wide ocean view of “Yura no Sato” (Hitachi Branch).
Today’s story is about the restaurant which I visited after the rainbows.


Wander in the town of Hitachi Taga

I spent nearly an hour in the water seeing the double rainbows until they disappeared.
After that, I finished washing my body, changed my clothes, and then left Yura no Sato.

I wanted to take dinner there, but the restaurant of Yura no Sato was very crowded.
I hesitated to drink and eat at the restaurant in a crowd of people because I was alone, so I decided to go back to the station and find a restaurant around there.

It was raining when I was walking to Yura no Sato, but it had stopped by the time I returned the station.
The time was already night and the sky was dark.

There was a traffic circle in front of the ticket gate of Hitachi Taga Station, and there was a wide road to the northwest direction from the circle.
There were smaller streets in parallel and at right angles to the wide road, and some restaurants spreading among streets within a radius of 500m from the station.

First, I walked to the west from the wide road, expecting to find some good information for this website’s database.
My impression about this town was that there were not many restaurants with nostalgic-atmosphere like so-called Showa (Japan’s Showa era, 1926-1989) style.
Most of the shops looked new.

I found some places which looked good, but they were crowded maybe with the people who were back to their hometown as the time was the middle of national holidays.
It was a kind of unexpectable for me that there were many people (My apologize!).
After all, I wandered around for 40 minutes while I couldn’t decide which to try.

I finished the west side, so I went to the north side of the road next.
When I was walking along a street which was running side by side with the rail road, I found some restaurants such as Udon noodles, Ramen noodles, and Izakaya restaurants.
This restaurant below caught my eyes first.

What I liked about this restaurant, “Tsukihime”, was that it looked like a typical “public Izakaya bar”.
I could see the inside a little, and the design of the appearance was not too old nor new.
It was a kind of restaurant which I usually choose, but it was crowded.
So I gave up this restaurant.

The next restaurant I saw, “Nawa Noren”, was 2 or 3 doors away from “Tsukihime”.
The first photo of this blog is its appearance.
As you can see, I couldn’t see the inside, but I would miss dinner if I hesitated again, considering the time of the last train.

I found that I could use credit cards there, which was a good point for me in that situation.
I got interested in the signs of “Good Seafood” and “Special Sake”, too.
I encouraged myself to go for a try and ask if a seat was available.


The inside of Nawa Noren

The inside was much newer than the impression of the outside.
There were 8 counter seats at the right, and 3 Zashiki (Japanese traditional floor) seats at the left.
There were already 4 people at the counter.
The staffs were old man and woman who looked like husband and wife to me.

“Is there a seat? I’m alone.”
I asked the staffs with some hesitation.
They said yes, so I took a counter seat which was nearest from the entrance.

On the table, there were place mats made of Japanese traditional paper, and Oshibori (small wet towel for visitors served at restaurants) and chopsticks were placed on the mats.
I liked this elegant service.


“Hatsukame” for the first glass and the appetizer

First, I looked for the menu book to order a drink.
The menus were stuck on the wall over the counter.

There were so many types of Sake!
Most of them were “Junmai Ginjo” or “Junmai Daiginjo” (Both are the names of Sake’s rank, and they are the upper classes).
I thought that the prices were reasonable.

Right in front of my seat,

There were some more Sake, and one of them was “BORN Tokusen Junmai Daiginjo Migaki Sanwari Hachibu” which was not mentioned in the menus.
At the back of it, there was another type of this label called “BORN Yume-wa-Masayume” which wasn’t in the menus either.

I thought that I was lucky to find such a good place.
Maybe it was a good luck from the double rainbows!

I decided to have the local sake first.
I ordered “Inasato Junmai”, but it was sold out.

Because I’m not a religious person, I started to think that the sacred good luck got expired already.
Well, I pushed myself to decide the next one, and chose “Hatsukame Junmai Ginjo Karakara BEPPIN” instead for no reason.

The sake was served.
After a little time, the appetizer arrived.

The right one is boiled Sansai (edible wild plants which grow in mountains), and the left is deep fried asparagus wrapped with chicken.
The moderate bitterness of Sansai and simple taste of chicken and asparagus were nice.
They were so impressive that they could be served as independent menus, not only as appetizers.

I tried “Hatsukame” with the appetizers.
This “Hatsukame Junmai Ginjo Karakara BEPPIN” had a dry taste as the name (“Kara” means dry).

I felt alcohol strongly when I tasted it by itself.
It was dry, but it also had rich flavor and clear after taste which made the sake delicious.

Meanwhile, when I had it with the food, the sake became a kind of “background” of the food.
The unique taste of the sake became weaker, and it made the food’s characteristics clearer.


Sashimi plate and Hatsukame

After a while, Sashimi plate which I had ordered arrived.

This is a serve for one person. How big!
I started with whitefish which I like.

It was not a type of Sashimi which was so fresh and still chewy, but it was moderately soft and had rich taste.
Hatsukame made the flavor of the fish even richer.
Well, that was such a nice sake.

I got interested in one of the sashimi.
This is the one.

It was called “Hotate Tamago (scallop egg)”, and I thought that it was gonad.
It was parboiled.

It was cooked perfectly, and the creamy texture of scallop egg wasn’t killed.
The good thing about being cooked was that I could feel the flavor clearly.

Many people might have an image that sashimi is made just by cutting good fish and decorate them on a plate.
However, there are more techniques such as parboiling, salting or vinegaring, and maturing.
I thought that sashimi was deeper…… well, it’s a secondhand knowledge of “a certain cartoon”, though^^;


“Raifuku”, asparagus and Kara-age

In a while, a dish of asparagus was served.

The typical asparagus menu at Izakaya restaurants are just boiled asparagus with mayonnaise.
Their asparagus were boiled and grilled a little with butter and garlic, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The flavors of batter, salt and pepper, and the slight garlic taste stimulated my appetite.
It was perfect to go with alcoholic drinks.

The sake which I had with these asparagus was this;

Raifuku Junmai Ginjo Aiyama”.

This sake itself tasted clear and sweet, and the impression of the flavor was soft.
When it was mixed with the batter’s fat of the asparagus, the sake’s mild taste became even softer, but the clear and sweet flavor didn’t disappear.
The sake washed the oily texture in my mouth away.

The next was what I always order at Izakaya restaurants, Kara-age (Japanese deep fried chicken).

The big pieces of chicken and the thick brown color of the coating were very attractive!
I had a bite right away.

The seasoning was garlic-based, and Arare (tiny rice crackers for making the texture crispy) was mixed in the coating (the Arare was just like the small hailstones which I saw on the way back from Mt Oiwa).

The meat was moderately juicy, and it had rich flavor.
Together with the garlic taste, it accelerated my hand to take the sake.
The combination with Raifuku was very nice, so I could eat it all with no problem even though the size was big.

Actually, there was another reason why I could eat it all without getting tired.

Each of the big pieces had cuts like the photo above, and I could eat it easily.
It was a nice consideration, and when I noticed this, the taste of the food somehow became even more delicious.


“Fukukomachi” and Ara-jiru for conclusion

While I was eating Kara-age, I finished my Raifuku.
So I looked for another cup of sake for the last.
At the bottom of the menus on the wall,

There was a sake menu which looked special called “Fukukomachi Tokubetsu Junmai Namagenshu Gogai-hen”.
I decided to try this.

According to this sake’s brewery, Kimura Shuzo’s website, this sake is sold for a limited time only in early spring every year.

I tasted it.
It was a little sweet.
It was sweet, but it wasn’t a kind of sticky-sweet.
The texture was smooth and it was delicious.

On the other hand, when I had it with oily foods such as the asparagus and Kara-age, the sweet sake flavor went behind and the sake became light body refreshing my tongue.
It was nice both by itself and with foods.

And for the last dish, I ordered Ara-jiru (soup made from the stock of leftover fish parts).
This is the photo of the soup …… well, unfortunately, I cannot show it to you because I had left my iPad at home and my phone’s battery completely died as soon as I took the photo of Fukukomachi ^^;

To describe it with words, it was served in a lacquered bowl.
There were bream’s head, fin and other parts, daikon radish, shimeji mushrooms, and spring onion in the white miso-based soup.
It was a little bland for me, but it was nicely light and good for my body after drinking and eating.



I really liked this “Nawa Noren” because they had many types of sake and good foods.
Especially, for their foods, I could see their careful work on each dish.
It was one of the factors of deliciousness.

Sometimes it took a while until the ordered dishes were served instead, but it’s not nice to complain about a small delay at a restaurant which I visited on a journey in a vacation, anyway.
It’s a good thing about “sake time” to spend time while sipping nice sake waiting for good foods which are made taking time and care to arrive.

On that day, they had more interesting menus such as Tempura of Sansai plants, but I couldn’t try them all because my stomach had become smaller.
I tend to choose restaurants which I have not been to, because I run a website like this and need to collect as much information as possible.
However, “Nawa Noren” was a place which I want to visit again to try other menus in spite of it.


That day started with visiting Oiwa Shrine, and then I had the purification ceremony, climbing a mountain, thunder, hail, rain, and double rainbows.
At last, I found such a great place and enjoyed good sake and foods.

I felt the power of Oiwa Shrine which gave me many interesting encounters, and I left the restaurant for home with satisfaction…
…Well, I wanted to conclude this article with this sentence, but I can’t ^^;

The time of the last train was coming soon by the time I was about to finish the last soup.
I finished the soup and ran to the station.
I arrived 1 minute before my train came in.

That’s when I noticed that I had left my bag with the amulet which I got at the shrine in the station’s coin locker.
I ran to the locker to get the bag.
My journey ended hurriedly( ;-ω-)

Again, I really thought that “bad luck” is not from something spiritual or invisible, but it’s from the person’s lack of attention ^^;;


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