Nishinomiya: My Japanese Neighborhood

by | April 26, 2019 |

I arrived in Japan last week, my major stop being Nishinomiya where I’n visiting with my younger son, Gerard. Nishinomiya is between Osaka and Kobe, and I’ve been here before. I specifically requested my lodging to be Yakkoryokan. Because it’s a popular place, Gerard made reservations here for me a long time ago. Since it is my home base for the month I chose it for the title image.

Address: 5-19 Koshien Nanabancho Nishinomiya-shi Hyogo-ken

Nishinomiya: My Ryokan

Here’s the entrance to Yakkoryokan:NishinomiyaHere’s the garden:

Nishinomiya

Lobby:

Nishinomiya

Dining room:

Nishinomiya

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn. That means my room has: i) a futon; ii) tatami mats; 3) a low table; 4) storage; and 5) a sink.

Nishinomiya

Another view:

Nishinomiya

The women’s toilet is across the hall. I always stay in hotels with a bathroom in the room (!). However, for some reason here, I don’t mind going across the hall. It’s only 2 feet away. And since I think I’m the only woman on my end of a small floor, I’m not sharing it with anyone.

Here’s the view of the street outside my window:

Nishinomiya

How in the heck do they park their cars like that? It’s obviously possible, although it seems next to impossible

As for the bath, it’s upstairs … and happens to be an onsen ‘traditional Japanese bath.’

Nishinomiya

The big character in the middle of the red curtain means ‘hot water.’ The one in the lower right that looks like it’s on a drum is the logogram for ‘woman.’ Red is for women, blue is for men. You do not want to this one wrong.

Inside there are individual places to shower/rinse off – which you must do three times – before getting in the hot pool to soak. You do not use the pool to get clean. You use the pool to relax.

I do find the onsen relaxing, which is why I always choose to stay in a ryokan. (For privacy and relaxation purposes, no pictures.)

Nishinomiya: My Train Station

My train station is Koshien 甲子園 . On the building in the upper left of the image, below, the first three large characters are for Koshien. The fourth character is for ‘railroad.’ Koshien is on the Hanshin line.

Han  is another pronunciation of the second character in Osaka大, while shin  is another pronunciation of the first character in Kobe戸. Thus, the Hanshin 阪神 line is the one that goes from Osaka to Kobe.

Nishinomiya

My ryokan is a block and a half, at most, from the entrance – amazingly convenient

Once you get a hang of the train system, it’s possible to to get all over the Osaka area. Until you get a hang of the train system, you’ll likely find yourself in strange places. (At least, I have on occasion.)

Nishinomiya: My Kombini

Kombini = convenience store. This Asnas is across from the station.

Nishinomiya

Konbini is a perfect example of Japanese English, as is Makudo ‘McDonald’s’ and Famima ‘Family Mart’ (another popular convenience chain)

I often come here in the mornings to get tea and onigiri ‘rice triangles filled (with different things)’:

In order to open the onigiri you follow the numbers: #1 you pull the tab down from the top; #2 you slide the right side of the plastic away; #3 you slide the left side of the plastic away. It works!

Nishinomiya: Hanshin Tigers

in Japan Nishinomiya is synonymous with besubaru ‘baseball.’ Everyone knows the Hanshin Tigers (pronounced ‘tie-ga’). Their stadium is at most a five-minute walk from my ryokan.

Nishinomiya

Their gear is sold everywhere and worn by many. You can buy it at the stadium:

Nishinomiya

But not to worry, if the stadium shop is closed, Tigers shops abound around town:

Nishinomiya

You really need a lot of paraphernalia during a game.

Nishinomiya

It looks like Yusuke Ohyama (infield) and Hayato Ito (outfield) jerseys are popular – I had to look them up!

Of note: my ryokan is so popular because of its proximity to the stadium. It is now baseball season, and that is the reason Gerard had to make my reservation so far in advance. My ryokan is full-on Tigers devoted.

Here is example of a case from the lobby which you see when you first walk in:

Nishinomiya

I won’t show you pictures of all the baseball memorabilia in the ryokan, but I can assure you it is everywhere – except maybe in the onsen.

Need a Tigers-themed taxi? No problem!

Nishinomiya

This is a baseball town. Hard core.

Nishinomiya: My Shopping Centers

There are basically two: Corowa, on one side of Tiger’s Stadium

Nishinomiya

Starbucks has crept in everywhere. You can glimpse it in the middle right, the brown facade, with the letters -UCKS COF–E just visible. I’m sure it wasn’t there two years ago when I was last here

And Lalaport, across the street from Tiger’s Stadium

Nishinomiya

At Lalaport I had this sighting of a Tigers fan in full regalia.

I guarantee the front of his outfit is as elaborately decorated as the back. I respect his privacy by not photographing his face.

Nishinomiya: My Izakaya

An izakaya is a traditional, neighborhood restaurant. It’s not quite fast food, and it’s not quite a diner, but it has elements of both.

Mine (that is, Gerard’s) is Torisan ‘Mr. Chicken’Nishinomiya

That’s my neighborhood!

See: All Asia Blogs


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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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