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  • So by far the most asked question I get from you guys is when is the best time to visit Japan.

  • It’s a pretty easy question for me to answer because the best time to visit by far, is

  • late September to early November in autumn in the fall.

  • But rather than just talk about it, were going to show you today what makes autumn

  • so special by going out and staying at a thousand-year old hot spring resort about thirty minutes

  • outside of Sendai.

  • Were joined as always by our incredible chauffeur Ryotaro who’s gonna show us around.

  • Chauffeur?!

  • So what, you said incredible chauffeur. Somehow incredible and chauffeur doesn’t go together.

  • Youre a good chauffeur. Youre good at what you do.

  • There’s is no good or bad chauffeur. A chauffeur is a fucking chauffeur for fuck sake all right.

  • Anyway, first were going to visit the Nikka whiskey distillery.

  • There are only two Nikka distilleries, and one of them is here in Sendai.

  • And then, after that we are going to visit a winery that is the only winery here in Miyagi

  • and just opened two years ago.

  • And I don’t know if I could

  • do that as I’m driving though.

  • See, that’s the downside of being an incredible chauffeur. No drink for Ryotaro today, but

  • we can drink and when I saywe” I mean I can drink.

  • Hot springs, whiskey, wine and yes, that’s a lot of alcohol.

  • I sense another disturbing plan to have me killed by alcohol consumption and hot springs.

  • But I'm not going to complain because that is a pretty good way to die.

  • I think my favorite thing about Nikka whiskey other than the taste is the logo which is

  • a Scottish guy with a beard. I mean I’ve met people from Scotland and they do look

  • like that.

  • But the good thing about the distillery is you can actually try the whisky

  • and we're going to be doing a tasting session in a minute.

  • So how many barrels are in here ?

  • So there are 100 hundreds barrels here.

  • 100 hundreds barrels.

  • And theyve got 25 storage buildings like this.

  • 25 .

  • Yes, 25 ! So there’s 1 here and 24 more. And 100 X 25 = 2500 barrels.

  • It’s good maths. It’s like a vault, a giant vault or something. But it has to be

  • given how long there are in here.

  • Yeah, obviously. You know many of them stay here for like 12 years. Maybe older than that.

  • It’s cool to think, all these barrels will one day in glasses around the world.

  • People relaxing over a quiet drink in the evening.

  • Are you ready for whisky tasting.

  • I’m ready for whisky tasting

  • Yes. Come on in.

  • It’s like a seminar room that looks very very good.

  • 55%

  • 55%!

  • I've only just had my breakfast.

  • It's better than morning coffee.

  • My taste buds have been ignited.

  • This is the first thing weve done today right?

  • Drinking whisky, were going to a winery, were going to drink sake during

  • dinner then were going to an onsen where I’m gonna drown just by drinking so much alcohol.

  • I’ve been on a lot of sake brewery tours over the years, I always find them very boring really.

  • They just take you into a dark room and go

  • This where we make nihonshu “.

  • But that. That was really good. The tasting session was amazing, the smelling of whisky

  • if you can’t drink like Ryotaro. And the room with all the barrels was pretty awesome as well.

  • It’s a really good tour. Highly recommend it if youre into whisky.

  • And now, it’s time for some wine which is going to be a difficult thing to do given

  • the amount of whisky I’ve just drunk .

  • It doesn’t seem like a safe thing to do.

  • Akiu winery was started in 2015 by local architect and entreprenuer, Chikafusa Mori.

  • In the aftermath of the devastating tsunami, when Chikafsua saw buildings he’d constructed

  • washed away by the sea, he felt moved to help the region recover.

  • He noticed that while the region had an abundance of great food, it lacked any good local wine,

  • and thus set about designing and building the first winery in the whole of Miyagi prefecture.

  • He chose Akiu for having an ideal climate, with the valley bringing in fresh mountain

  • air to help cultivate the grapes.

  • However, upon arrival, to my delight I discover he’s also selling cider

  • which is usually disturbingly rare in Japan and I leap at the chance to sample it.

  • So this cider actually won an award earlier this year in Japan’s first cider competition.

  • The Fuji cider challenge in Tokyo.

  • This one, the Dolce, won the silver award, and the Brute won the bronze and that’s

  • pretty impressive considering you guys have only been going a year or two now.

  • What’s the secret to your cider success?

  • - The secret is we are using the best apples.

  • From local farmers.

  • - Yes.

  • It’s all about quality control right. I’m talking like I know what I am talking about

  • but I don’t. I am just enjoying the cider.

  • I am currently just full of whisky and cider which isn’t a good mix of things to have.

  • So Akiu is a hot spring resort and what you find is a lot of Japanese Ryokans

  • or traditional inns. They put a lot of effort into their gardens and this is no exception.

  • This a hotel called Ryoku Tsuite. And theyve got this magnificent sprawling garden built

  • on to the side of it.

  • Filled with bamboo forests, streams, and rivers filled with koi carps. It’s really popular

  • to come here in autumn and just enjoy the colours.

  • And also in spring as well during cherry blossom season.

  • And you can see why people are by the windows at the hotel looking out across the garden.

  • It really is a beautiful place to just walk through, relax and take in the seasons.

  • So into the hotel room. We are on the 11th storey of the ryokan.

  • So weve got some beautiful sweeping views of Akiu.

  • It’s pretty big actually, this is pretty big for a ryokan room. Usually, I just get

  • like the one room. But, todaycome in here.

  • So this is quite a rare thing for me.

  • Usually when I stay in a ryokan, I get a futon. I end up sleeping on the floor.

  • Here weve got a bed.

  • And also there are two, I’d like to point out Ryotaro has his own room so he’s not

  • going to be in here thankfully because he snores. It’s horrible.

  • A nice table here where I can sit and relax and enjoy the view and in fact, this ryokan

  • has an onsen hot spring that is built into the river down below, which were going

  • to check out later which I’m looking forward to.

  • It’s one of the best views I had from a ryokan. The views are absolutely beautiful.

  • So I am in my hotel room and Ryotaro's in his. Weve got dinner in an hour or two but I’m

  • a little bit hungry so without Ryotaro knowing I snuck out to Lawson’s.

  • And bought chicken on a skewer, hell yeah. I'm going to enjoy that.

  • To be fair I’m completely

  • full of wine and whisky.

  • One thing I forgot to show you guys earlier. The key to the room.

  • It’s massive. Look at that, it’s huge. It’s like a key out of Silent Hill or something.

  • It’s ridiculous. I’m gonna enjoy this chicken and then it’s

  • off for dinner.

  • This is the first of two skewers that I'm going to eat.

  • Don’t judge me.

  • So it’s been a long day of drinking. But here we are, finally dinner time.

  • And youre looking more stylish than I am. Although, better T-shirt.

  • Yeah, tacky crappy tee-shirt.

  • Don’t rip on the Abroad In Japan merchandise.

  • I am tired of you talking about your t-shirt. How crappy it is or fashionable it is.

  • Give us the rundown then. Weve got kind of seasonal array of dishes here.

  • There is everything. This is steamed sea bream and also shellfish.

  • The thing that stands out the most for me is the bowl of mushrooms. Seasonal mushrooms,

  • Every variety of mushrooms.

  • Were going to use this and we are going to put it into this hot pot later.

  • Weve got an appetiser box.

  • When you have dinner in a Ryokan, the thing that stands out the most is usually the appetisers

  • put before for you. Theyre usually very beautifully prepared as you can see here.

  • We have lots of tiny littles dishes in this box.

  • So have we been doing since the last few hours?

  • Actually, weve luckily been put into

  • separate rooms this time.

  • At least I don’t have to put up with youre snoring.

  • It’s like sleeping next to a fucking bear or something.

  • So we've got to get up at 4 AM tomorrow morning to go in the onsen.

  • The reason we go in so early is we can’t go and film when there are other customers obviously.

  • And they actually open at 5 AM. There’s

  • people actually going in 5 AM.

  • Yeah, there are.

  • That’s ridiculous. So we have to go in an hour early and make the most of it so hopefully I’ll survive

  • getting up that early.

  • If I get up before like 8 o’clock in the morning, I’m screwed.

  • - I’ll ring you.

  • Wish me luck. Youll be fine though. You get up at 4 everyday. And youre Japanese,

  • Japanese people don’t need sleep. Theyre magic.

  • - What do you mean? What do we do? What’s so special about us ?

  • All Japanese people I know can get by on like five hours sleep a day. And be like normal

  • functioning people.

  • I think it’s because you only know people who are like over 70 or something.

  • Yeah, like you.

  • So it’s 4 AM in the morning, and I apologise for my morning face. Fortunately, it’s quite

  • a dimly lit corridor so you can’t really see it. On my way to meet Ryotaro in the onsen.

  • I’m feeling pretty good, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the anticipation of diving

  • into a nice hot spring. It’s keeping me alive this time of the morning.

  • There he is.

  • Welcome.

  • Youre like a boss, some sort of video game boss battle.

  • Just waiting at the last stage right.

  • So this is the indoor onsen

  • Indoor onsen.

  • This is the indoor onsen theyve got. They actually have an outside, an outdoor onsen.

  • By the river.

  • By the river, yeah.

  • What are we waiting for ? Let’s go!

  • Let’s go!

  • Through this door.

  • So nice, honestly you can see all of a sudden why people get up at 5 AM to come

  • down here in the morning. Were alone now, it’s 4:30, weve got the whole place

  • to ourselves for 30 minutes.

  • It’s weird to think there’s a whole building filled with hundred rooms stuff full of people

  • and were the only ones down here.

  • But it doesn’t open for a half a hour and then at 5AM apparently lots of elderly people

  • come down because elderly people love morning onsen. Like really really early morning onsen.

  • It’s really beautiful, weve got the steam rising off the water. Weve got the sound of the

  • river just behind us whooshing past.

  • You can’t actually see it because it’s too dark, but you can certainly hear it.

  • It's just a really nice way to start your day.

  • I don’t think I could do this every morning but it is a nice way to kick things off.

  • And then after this of course I'm gonna dive into bed and sleep for about six hours

  • and not wake up until mid-day.

  • No, no, no. Not 6 hours, a few hours.

  • What?

  • Were gonna have breakfast.

  • Were not. Youre gonna have breakfast, I’m gonna go to bed.

  • Breakfast, bed

  • Youre gonna have breakfast. There’s going to be another alcoholic thing.

  • Another alcoholic thing. Another alcoholic thing! You said that was it. Whisky, wine,

  • nihonshu, onsen, Chris goes to sleep.

  • No. I’ve never said that.

  • Here he comes.

  • A beer for you.

  • A beer.

  • In the morning.

  • A beer.

  • TADAH.

  • Morning beer. I feel bit of a wreck, it feels wrong having

  • a beer this early in the morning.

  • You should feel alright, because it’s been said that in Japan being able to drink beer

  • is a luxury. It means that it’s a day off or it’s a

  • holiday.

  • Luxury.

  • It’s legal to do that. How’s that ?

  • Taste pretty good, taste weird though drinking beer in the morning.

  • It’s not something I don’t think I’m gonna get used to or intend to start doing.

  • If youre into whisky, wine or sake or just a cracking good hot spring

  • Akiu is just 20 minutes away from Sendai.

  • If you plan on visiting the region, you can find the details on where we went in the description box.

  • For now though as always guys, many thanks for watching, well see you next time.

  • You should get used to and youll truly become alcoholic after this.

  • Encouraging me to be an alcoholic. What kind of friend are you?

  • What a ridiculous man, why do we put him in these videos?

  • This video is gonna be incriminating evidence after I die, in the court this video is going

  • to be played back in front of a jury of people.

  • He wasn't even joking, he was genuinely serious. He was genuinely serious.

  • Unbelievable.

So by far the most asked question I get from you guys is when is the best time to visit Japan.

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B1 whisky onsen chauffeur ryotaro cider ryokan

Staying at 1,000 Year Old Japanese Hot Spring Resort

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/24
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