A visit to the onsen town of Uchinomaki

Today we are visiting three popular locations in Uchinomaki, Myogyoji Temple, Sugahara Shrine and Meshi no Yamaichi for a lovely Akaushi steak bowl lunch.

If you are traveling by car, Uchinomaki has ample free parking spaces in the center of town.

Close to the center of town and close to the parking area, we started off with a visit to Myogyoji Buddhist Temple.

An impressive looking temple standing in a flourishing courtyard surrounded by grand trees and a variety of plants and flowers.


The main attraction is the towering Ginkgo tree found close to the entrance and is said to be over 300 years old.


The temple is referenced in the works of the famous novelist, Soseki Natsume, whom he wrote about his visit to the temple in his historic novel, 210th Day.


We were given a guided tour of the grounds and a brief history of the temple by the head priest, after which we were able to conduct a short interview to be included in our new summer edition of The Snoozing Red Cow.


As we were about to leave, we spotted an enchanting looking structure with leaves and hanging flowers. Unfortunately our visit to the temple was just after the flowers had been in full bloom, so we missed the chance of seeing it in its full glory.


The temple is freely open to the public and is lit up at night with candles at the entrance and in the grounds producing a wonderful glow.

Our next stop took us on a short 7 minute walk arriving at the Sugahara Shrine located on the opposite side of town.

On the way up to the shrine, we walked along the banks of a small stream with an adorable looking little bridge.


It was a beautiful day without a single cloud in the sky giving us a stunning view of the entrance and walkway up to the shrine.


What stood out immediately was what looked like the guardian statues I used to see in Okinawa all the time, Shisa. I learned that these guardians are a little different to Shisa and are known as Komainu or lion-dogs in English. A popular sight at Shinto shrines, Komainu are said to guard and protect.


Just inside the entrance is a 500 year old Japanese Bay Tree that is regarded as very special by the locals as it is unusual to survive and thrive in Aso’s harsh winter climate.


Making our way on to the main shrine, we were given the chance to make a wish and ring the shrine bell after donating some small coins.


Whilst being quite small, the shrine makes for a good stop and photo opportunity if you are already on your way around Uchinomaki.

Having worked up an appetite from all the traveling around, it was time to head to Meshi no Yamaichi for lunch.

The restaurant is located close to where we started near the Myogyoji Temple.  Famous for the Akaushi steak bowl, I had been waiting to try it ever since arriving in Aso.


The inside was very spacious with both western style chair seating and Japanese style tatami floor seating to choose from.


The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and invited us to help ourselves from their all you can eat pickles buffet.


We ordered the Akaushi steak bowl set that came with a traditional Dagojiru soup. Dagojiru is a specialty soup containing a variety of local vegetables and wheat flour dumplings.


The beef was incredibly tender and cooked to perfection being slightly on the rare side as Akaushi should be served. The flavor from the sauce they use was both delicious and unique, making it stand out from other restaurants I have tried.

Equally as delicious was the Dagojiru and although it was my first time trying the soup, I could definitely tell this would in future be one of my preferred places to eat it.

We were a little early arriving for lunch so the restaurant was quite quiet at the beginning but started to get very busy as we were finishing. If visiting at lunch time I would prepare for a little waiting time, especially at weekends.

I would strongly recommend lunch at Meshi no Yamaichi for those meat lovers and as a great introduction to the wonderful dishes of Aso.

Thank you for reading and hope to see you soon in Aso!


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