Noteworthy Spots in Hamamatsu City (Shizuoka, Japan)

Last month I wrote about my aesthetic adventures to the Capybara Zoo and Planet Cafe, but here are some other noteworthy spots in Hamamatsu that are worth checking out.  If you go to Shizuoka Prefecture, you should definitely try the eel here because it’s some of the best in Japan.  In addition to that, there is also a tiny fantasy-themed village you can explore.  I’ve only been to Hamamatsu twice for music events, but I ended up stumbling into a lot of cool things on my journey.

Eel Eateries

As soon as I arrived at Hamamatsu Station, I immediately decided to go to an eel restaurant so I could finally try this city’s prized food.  I chose a small shop called 八百徳 that was about a 3 min walk from the station because they had a set meal for a nice value.  Cooked eel has a nice texture and is rich in protein so it’s a fit choice for an adventurer.  I ordered the main unagi set served with rice, a side of vegetables, and miso soup which was delicious.  You can eat eel all over Japan, but you can tell by the exquisite taste that they are farmed to perfection here.  Most eel sets will cost 1500 ~ 2700 yen here but is worth it in my opinion.

For those that are up for fishing, there is a lake in Kosai City where you can catch them yourself!  I have not been to this place, but it is somewhere I will consider traveling to in the future if I come back here again.

Nukumori Village

This fairy-like village nestled in a forest was designed by famous architect Shigeyoshi Sasaki and feels like something straight out of a Miyazaki movie!  Originally Nukumori Village was a furniture workshop, but due to its beautiful European architecture it has attracted a lot of people and expanded.  You can find small boutiques, restaurants, museums, and other aesthetic designs here.  I enjoyed walking through the miniature houses with stained-glass windows and taking photos of them.  There is an owl cafe called “Warmth of Owl here as well (I didn’t go but found it interesting).  Despite it being a tourist destination, I arrived around 2pm and found that it was serene and quiet.  It felt like less of a tourist trap and more of a relaxing day trip from the city to me.

Admission Fee: 400 yen
Please see Hamamatsu’s Tourism Website for a complete guide.

Unagi Pie Factory

From the crafty eel-shaped banisters to the one-of-a-kind unagi pie ice cream dessert served at the cafe here, this eel pie factory is truly a gem.  Here you can learn all about the process of eel pie baking and buy some fancy souvenirs for your friends (I handed out several to my friends at the club).  What exactly makes up an eel pie, you ask?

According Hamamatsu’s Tourism Website:

“Eel extract, garlic and other such flavorings are blended together with carefully-selected fresh butter to make the confection.”

The description sounds a bit fishy, but I can confirm that all of the samples I tried tasted like salted butter cookies.  In other words: Eel Pie is absolutely delicious (especially with ice cream)!  You can buy eel pie at various souvenir shops in Shizuoka, but coming to the factory is the best experience because you can order it fresh at the cafe.  As someone who loves weird food, I simply could not pass this opportunity up.

Please note that the factory is a bit far from the main city, but you can take a taxi or walk 18 mins here from Okubo Bus Stop via city bus.

Chillwood Bar

My friend and I were looking for a place to pregame before an event at Planet Cafe and stumbled upon a place called Chillwood Bar not far from the station.  Not only is this bar cozy with a wide range of cocktails and bottles of wine, but the owner looks and acts just like Sojiro from Persona 5.  We had some real-life anime going on here.  I ordered a sakura fizz cocktail and my friend and I split a bottle of wine.  Everyone was very friendly and asked me various questions about my life and travels in Japan.  I was more than happy to share my experiences with them since the alcohol was flowing.  I am glad to have made this website [Resurface to Reality] so I archive these memories and continue to create more.

Take Your Heart: Visiting the Persona 5 Cafes in Japan

One of the best perks of living in Japan and being a gamer is having the ability to attend the amazing pop-up cafes that are available here for a limited time only.  During my stay here, I have been fortunate enough to been able to dine at both the Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal Cafes held at two different locations.  Making a reservation for these cafes can sometimes be a bit difficult as they are quite popular, but I will be sharing my experience in this post to hopefully help and inspire other people to come and visit!

The Original Persona 5 Cafe at Pasela Resorts (Shibuya)

If you’ve played the game, you’ve probably seen a building called “Pasela Resorts” located on the map.  That is because ATLUS had a collaboration with the popular karaoke chain Pasela Resorts in Shibuya from 10/14/2016 – 11/23/2016 with the series.  The original Persona 5 Cafe was located on the 2nd floor of this location and required winning an in-person lottery to attend (meaning it was so popular at the time that you could not make a reservation online).

This was quite a heart-racing lottery, but I was determined to win!  I remember arriving at 10am, lining up with around 100 or so other people on a 6 floor spiral staircase in front of the cafe, and drawing a ticket from a box.  Fortunately, I drew a winning ticket!  However, many people were unable to win.  I went on a Saturday morning due to my hectic work schedule at the time, but perhaps if you went on a weekday you would have a better chance.

Even though I went alone, I had a ton of fun!  I ordered the Ann and Joker drinks as well as the Leblanc curry and dessert pizza.  Being in a room surrounded by other Persona fans filled my heart with joy.  This was one of the first themed cafes I had been to, so it really left a good impression on me.

Persona 5 Royal Cafe at SEGA Collab Cafe (Akihabara)

3 years later I made it to the Persona 5 Royal Cafe in Akihabara–but this time with friends!  Since this was a collaboration held at the SEGA Cafe, the reservation process was much easier.  Online reservation in advance was possible, but you could also look at the cafe’s available seats and walk in on the day you wanted to go if there was space.  That is what we did as a group of six, and we all managed to sit together!  Between all of us, we were able to order almost every item on the menu and swap coasters.  This time they had coasters of both the new P5 art and chibi versions of the characters given randomly with every purchase of a drink or food item.  This cafe lasted from 11/2/2018 – 12/1/2018.  Though I have not played the game yet, I am super excited to now!

If you have missed the dates for these cafes, fear not!  Whenever a new game, movie, or even musical are announced, usually these cafes pop up and you can always search for the special merchandise online.  I hope to attend many more Persona Cafes and events in the future, as it is one of my favorite series that has taught me much about how social relationships can affect you and the world around you!

Laugh of the Day

On our way up to the SEGA Cafe, we noticed a very special claw machine game filled with dozens of Anns… and one sole Ryuji!  What a lucky fellow–if only it were Morgana instead!

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Ryuji Sakamoto is in heaven.