Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)

Hida Beef at Matsuri retaurant 「飛騨牛専門店 祭」 in Hida Furukawa 「飛騨古川」

I had searched through various websites to find a nice place for lunch at Hida Furukawa and found this restaurant was ranked #1 on one of the Japanese websites.

The Hida region is famous for its Hida Beef and the most popular dish recommended at this restaurant was the Hida Beef Steak Don (i.e. a bowl of rice topped with a steak).

It was a little difficult to locate the restaurant as I couldn’t quite figure out its exact location based on the Japanese address and the Google Map which I had printed. Thankfully there was a volunteer guide around and she pointed me in the right direction!


The current day’s menu is displayed on a board outside the restaurant. Mmm…it looks good!!

Upon stepping inside, I noticed the interior of the restaurant is relatively small but there is additional seating upstairs. One wall was covered with pictures and autographs of celebrities who have visited the restaurant.

The other wall nearer to the kitchen had pictures of the chef. It appears that the chef (or the restaurant?) had previously won several awards…

There were no hardcopy menus presented to us and the restaurant’s offerings were listed on various posters on the wall. I had initially thought of ordering 2 sets of the Hida beef steak don for my hubby and myself but I thought the beef sushi looked interesting so I decided to order one of each.

Hida Beef Sushi 「飛騨牛握り寿司」 – The beef used for the sushi is of grade A4-A5 and there are 5 pieces in one serving.

The beef was really good and wasn’t too chewy. As there are only 5 pieces, I wouldn’t recommend this as a main course if you are hungry.

Hida Beef Steak Don 「飛騨牛ステーキ丼」 – This dish uses grade A4 beef (200g). There are 2 types of beef to choose from:

Shimofuri 霜降 – the meat has much fat and is marbled.
Akami 赤身 – red meat with little fat. Typically good akami is tenderloin which is soft and you can enjoy the taste of the meat itself. One which is of bad quality would be chewy and is typically from meat at the leg area.

Only 20 lunch sets are available daily and the Shimofuri 「霜降」 steak don was ranked #6 (across the whole of Japan) in NHK’s lunch gourmet ranking (year 2011).

Somehow I preferred the texture of the meat used for this steak don over that used for the sushi and the meat was flavourful even though not much seasoning was used. The beef was very tender and though not quite melt in your mouth, it was easy to swallow.

An orange sorbet is served as part of the beef steak don set. It was really refreshing!

I had a chat with the chef after all the other customers had paid and left. He told me that besides the Japanese, many foreign tourists visit his restaurant and he felt that the French as well as Singaporeans’ eating habits are very きれい (kirei – this can mean clean or pretty) and I interpreted it to mean that we polish off all the food on our plates. He added that there were many customers from a certain country in East Asia (which was named but I won’t reveal it here) whom he felt were ill-mannered as the way they ate wasn’t きれい – I guess these people must have either over-ordered and couldn’t finish their food or perhaps they caused a mess at their tables? Anyway, he seemed pleased that we didn’t leave a single grain of rice on our plates.

Overall, it was one of the best meals that I’ve had in Japan and the beef was really good! Do give it a try if you visit Furukawa.

飛騨牛専門店 祭
Address: 岐阜県飛騨市古川町壱之町15-6
Telephone: 0577-73-7173
Opening hours: April~November 11:00~15:00, December~March 11:30~14:00,
17:30~22:00 (Reservations are required for dinner)


Seating Capacity: 50 (1st floor – 15 seats, 2nd floor – 35 seats)
Access: JR高山本線飛騨古川駅から徒歩5分 (5min walk from the JR Hida Furukawa station)

Average spending per person:
Lunch: ¥1500~¥2800
Dinner: ¥5000~¥10000

Categories: Eating in Furukawa, Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県), Hida Furukawa (飛驒古川), Japan, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Takayama Morning Market 「高山朝市」

I am so not a morning person and had to drag myself out of bed early just to visit Takayama’s Morning Market (Asaichi – 朝市)!

There are actually two morning markets in Takayama – the Jinya-mae Market 「陣屋朝市」 in front of the Takayama Jinya and the Miyagawa Market 「宮川朝市」 along the Miyagawa River.

The markets operate between 6am-12pm from April to October and 7am-12pm from November to March.

Fresh produce, plants, pickled goods and even handicrafts are sold at the markets. Some stalls also sell Sarubobo「さるぼぼ」, a popular good luck charm in the Hida region.

To-date I’ve visited the Jinya-mae market 「陣屋朝市」 twice, as I had taken a package tour on both occasions (the first time in 2009) and the tour leader had brought us there. This particular market seems to be popular with tour groups (probably because there is coach parking available nearby)!

A look at some of the stalls…

Chillies were being sold as a decorative item and not as a cooking ingredient!

Walked by this stall selling apples and the lady sliced some for us to sample – they were crunchy, juicy and sweet! Thus, I bought one for ¥100 in case I needed a snack for later. It was probably the best-tasting apple I’ve eaten to-date!

On both tours which I had been on, we only had one morning in Takayama and thus didn’t go to the Miyagawa Market 「宮川朝市」, but here’s a picture (which I took on my last trip) of its location, when I arrived at the town on the previous afternoon.

I must say that the Miyagawa river is quite picturesque and you can find various birdlife and fish in it. The water is really clear and looks refreshing.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck also known as Chinese Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha zonorhyncha):

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea):

Both the Takayama Morning Markets are a 5 to 10 minute walk from the JR Takayama Station on the JR Takayama Line.

Categories: Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県), Hida Takayama (飛驒高山), Japan, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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