There’s a passion for the cherry blossom and all it’s wonderful accompaniments here in Oz. Instead of being mystified by our own natural wonders, many turn their gaze abroad to the enchanting Japan. And it’s no wonder, with luscious snow fields, hot spring bathing monkeys and a perfect entanglement of old and new attractions to entertain any and every traveller. But what if you can’t get leave or you missed out on those cheap flights to Osaka? Fear not Sydneysiders, we’ve found five must dos for the origami loving, sushi shovelling Japan aficionados out there. Arigatou gozaimasu!
Tucked just shy of Central Station, Goro’s is a wonderland of cultural touch points. Sip sake or umeshu (plum wine for the uninitiated) while gazing at decor that feels like an izayaka meets arcade. Consider it the Shibuya crossing of Japanese venues, a hustle of emblems. From karaoke to karaage chicken or sake bombs to street fighter, this place is a little slice of Japan that turns up come nightfall. The bartenders are knowledgeable enough to steer you towards the right drink for your level of adventurous and the bamboo booths authentic in spades. Ideal for a lunchtime escape or a raucous night, take your pick sensei.
The Blue Mountains are known for their lush expanse of wilderness, but this bathhouse offers even more tranquility. A short drive from Sydney and you’ll find yourself submerged and relaxed beyond your wildest conception. Steam yourself or be pampered all weekend long, depending on your level of indulgence the location alone is a traditional fantasy land. Sip tea and cloak yourself like a master of the old world after a massage that will send you straight to the clouds. Green hillside and glittery water make for a phone-ditching experience for you to truly bliss out.
Anyone who’s wandered the city streets of Tokyo or Osaka knows this setup well. A neon lit building directs you upstairs to a jukebox stocked to the brim of classics and many a dress up clad singer. Mizuya brings a taste of that to the city streets, with a delicious Japanese menu to match. You’ll find classics, new hits and a foreign duet or two all while filling your gob with sushi. What’s not to love?
#4 Ryo’s Noodles
One thing you should know about Japan is the lining up culture. Many a street will be filled with orderly queues, the ultimate sign of a great restaurant or cult treat. And on Falcon St in Crows Nest you’ll find a similar line, leading to a noodle bar so small it would fit right into the Golden Gai in Tokyo. And oh boy is it worth the wait. Freshly brewed tonkotsu, brothy bowls of your dreams and a noodle that’s the perfect texture for a rambunctious slurp. If you fancy authenticity this is your ticket to Japanese dining served steaming hot.
#5 Class Bento
Want to learnt the native tongue or how to carve your name artfully in ink? Well Class Bento is to the rescue. From calligraphy lessons, screen printing, Japanese lessons to the art of Japanese sweets, there’s something right her in our fine city for you. Make your weekend a little more cultured and add a passion paragraph or two to your resume, you’ll be able to take your skills abroad when you do end up visiting the fine expanse of Tokyo and surrounds. DIY souvenirs? Don’t mind if we do.
Image source: Concrete Playground, Japanese Bathhouse Blue Mountains, Posse, Class Benton,Broadsheet.