Ok, I'm about to talk shit about Utsunomiya, the major hub city 2 hours north of Tokyo (1 hour if you spring for the bullet train). But let me say forth write, I don't want to talk shit about this town. Funny thing about Utsunomiya, if you meet someone from Tochigi, follow up with "Are you from the city of Utsunomiya by any chance?" and relish in their happiness that you have heard of their hometown. For some reason everyone seems to be from there. By talking shit I might offend. Good thing no Japanese people read my blog!
By the way, this trip is from like 5 months ago, but I lost the pictures. Moving on...
Yep, it's the famous gyoza statue near the station. The reason I feel OK talking shit about this town is that they bring it upon themselves. There is so much hype about god damn dumplings. "You gotta travel hours away to eat the best gyoza in the land!" "Every cabbie in town has a favorite shop!" "Utsunomiya people have more stamina because of the garlic in Chinese dumplings!"
So you trek up here, wait in a two hour line,
And eat a ton of gyoza.
Yes, it's so awesome and delicious, but it's the only draw sung by the tourism board. And gyoza ain't no ramen, it ain't worth a full day trip. It's just a gimmick.
You can get this stuff anywhere!
On the other hand, the gyoza from this town is so famous in Japan. And now I have a nice ice breaker if I ever get a chance to bring up gyoza in casual conversation. Yes, a lot of people are unreasonably impressed that I have eaten gyoza from Utsunomiya, uni from the famous place in Hokkaido, cow tounge from Sendai, okonomiyaki from Hiroshima, etc.
It's just how I'm livin, eating food and what not.
I was actually here with a friend who was writing an article about things to do when travelling in Utsunomiya. We decided to hit up a local amusement park. It was hella sad! In a funny way!
Kitty corn dispensary.
The view, as told to me first hand, was of a giant hole in the lot next to the amusement park.
God damn fucking gyoza... in a crepe.
We were going to go to some big Buddha, but missed the last bus. Anyways...
The main city center is akin to every main city in Japan. Department stores, random temples, soaplands, and busy busy folks in suits. It might be a cool city to drink in; on the way out I found an Utsunomiya Cocktail Map.
So the verdict is highly favored on the "Armpit of Tochigi" side.
Then you bring in the ringer, the epic monkey izakaya, and I gotta say, Utsunomiya is a rad tourist spot. You should go there!