A review of Thai restaurant: Ban Sabai in Mugi town, Southern Tokushima.
Located near Nishisabae Station, and famous Nishiyama Park, Sabae City Hotel is a convenient place to stay in Sabae city. In fact, it's the largest in town, and is host to numerous wedding parties. The hotel has a very nice Italian restaurant, Il Vigore, on the 8F, and a simple, homey izakaya on the 1F, Yoshimitsu. There is also a cute little shop, just off the lobby, that sells very tasty puddings. Rooms are small but clean, and reasonably priced. Service is friendly, and staff can speak some English.
As Japanese temples go, this one is fairly new - only 270 years old. The temple is small and simple, but very lovely. After climbing the steep steps, turn around and enjoy a beautiful view of Sabae. At the top of the stairs are the temple grounds, dominated by a very nice rock garden on the right. To the left, a blanket of moss covers the ground. Inside, on the ceiling of the main hall, are huge black ink paintings of Wind, Thunder, and Dragon Gods (Fu-shin, Rai-shin, Ryu-shin).
Situated on a side street in Sabae, and sandwiched in between a number of modern buildings, the Emi Photo Studio, is almost 120 years old. Established in 1905 by Mr. Yoshinosuke Emi, this elegant western style home features some beautiful architectural touches, both inside and out. The gate, a designated cultural property of the city, is charming. The building, although clearly western, features a Japanese style tiled roof. Inside, the floors are of beautiful wood. There is a strong feeling of nostalgia here, with old cameras and photos tucked into every corner and hanging on all the walls.
Known for the splendor of its main gate, Josho-ji Temple is the head temple of the Shinshu sect, and the biggest temple in Sabae. The gate is gorgeous; I felt that I could have stood there for hours looking at all its carvings, especially the dragon.
This is a lovely park, known for it cherry blossoms in April, and azaleas in May. There are also a number of festivals held in the park year round. The park also includes a green lawn zone (most parks in Japan don't have grass!), an Adventure Forest, a Japanese Garden, and a zoo. An observation deck near the zoo offers up a beautiful view of the town and Hakusan mountains. When I visited the park in early October, it was just a short walk from the Sabae City Hotel, where I was staying.
Japan is known worldwide for its beautiful traditional lacquer ware, and Sabae in Fukui prefecture is one of Japan's top lacquer ware spots. Dozens of highly respected, incredibly talented artists live and work here. Sabae Echizen Lacquer Ware Town is part museum, part gift shop/restaurant, part event space. This is the jumping off point for anyone who is interested in seeing (or trying) how lacquer ware is made. Also, tours can be arranged to visit some of the artists. I had an opportunity to do so, and it was an unforgettable experience!
Sabae's Josho-ji Temple Makoto Ichi Festival is a grand event with locals and visitors from near and far coming together to buy and sell antiques, and to eat and drink to their heart's content. Held the third Sunday of every month.
Shinmei Jinja Shrine is situated directly across the street from the Shinmei-en Hotel where I stayed in October. I woke up early and decided to take a walk. I found this shrine - the back entrance, actually. At 6AM, it was chilly, empty, and serene. The wood of the shrine building was old and dark, but there was a splash of color here and there that added beauty to everything. There were other surprises: an old beautiful wooden house, a statue of a horse, a pond, a long, long walkway leading to the main entrance. A couple walking their dog greeted me in English with a cheerful "Good morning." It was a beautiful day in Sabae, Fukui.