North Korea Border @ Hushan Great Wall

The morning after I arrived in Dandong I rose with a small Shou Ju hangover and found myself determined to make a visit to the Great Wall at Hushan. This section of the Great Wall is the furthest east, it dead ends into the Yalu river on the border with North Korea after crossing over Tiger Mountain. The walk to the top of Tiger Mountain was a bit strenuous, at one point going up a nearly vertical stone stairway before you can reach the final stretch. The view from the top was worth it, from one side you can see the curvy path of the wall below, and from the other is a wide view from above into a North Korean military base. Sorry about the dirt on the lens...

Looking toward Tiger Mountain
Dead end trail near top

Dandong North Korean Restaurants

I was a bit behind schedule as I woke up on Saturday morning, to make up for my sleepiness I set a limit of 1 hour before I would have to have my bags packed and my tickets + hotel room purchased. After some hemming and hawing over a map of China I zeroed in on a city called Dandong, about 900km northeast of Beijing. I met my goal and 4 hours later I was in the air.

The main drag on the Yalu river is a tourist haven, dotted with hotels and North Korean restaurants. I dropped into many of the restaurants to get a feeling for what they had to offer, most had walls of aquariums from where you could select which fish to eat. I chose to focus in on the more land-based restaurants. 

Bombed Iron Bridge to North Korea
North Korean water park?

Wanto Burger @ Kobe

My second day at Kobe I decided to track down a Kobe burger for breakfast, after a bit of googling I was drawn toward Wanto Burger, located close enough to Sannomiya station to justify a walk from my hotel. Inside the place was laid out like a cramped 70s diner, complete with rotating bar stools and an open view of the burger stove. For 2,700 yn (23 usd) I was able to get a Kobe burger loaded up with egg and extra pieces of steak to top it off, for an extra 10,000 yn they will use Kobe beef for the steak slices also. The texture of Kobe meat felt very at home when greased up, inside of a sandwich, and followed by a swig of cheap beer. Out of the three chances I had to eat Kobe Beef while I was in Kobe, this was by far the most successful meal.

Outside Wanto Burger

Ryu-En @ Kobe Waterfront

There is craft beer in Kobe, however with my limited resources and time I failed to find it during my visit. I tried to find two places listed on a Japanese beer blog, Cafe De Brugge and Sandaya Steak house. However upon visiting Brugge, I found no Japanese craft beer to be drunken at all. Sandaya was located on a waterfront area known as Harborland, after a short subway ride I managed to locate the mall and even find the restaurant, however they were closing by the time I walked in. In retrospect I should have been searching for a place called the Rokko Beer Garden, but maybe next time...

After failing to find any of the craft beer I'd been craving all day, I gave up and decided to checkout my options for dinning at Harborland. Not too far from where I'd located Sandaya, I found a restaurant called Ryu-En where I grilled some Kobe steak while drinking a bottle of hot sake. 

View off of the balcony at Harborland

Shin-Kobe Ropeway

Shortly after my arrival in Kobe I decided to get to business with some sight seeing. The biggest one to get crossed off of the list was the Shin-Kobe ropeway, a gondola which takes you up the Rokko mountains to the Nunobiki Herb Garden. The base of the ropeway is right outside of the Shin-Kobe subway stop, after exiting just head south and you'll eventually find a misplaced stairway built into the side of a shopping center which leads up to it. At the top you can find a draft beer, I found it difficult to enjoy the garden part, but soaking in the surroundings while enjoying a fresh beer was great.

Looking up the mountain from the gondola

Kyoto to Kobe

This morning before I caught the train from Kyoto to Kobe, I dropped by the Kyoto Tower to get a final view of Kyoto fro above. It was nothing too special, however it's always healthy to get a good view of your surroundings.

Kyoto Tower
View in a direction, not sure which one