Moon bridges are highly arched stone walkways that are found in many Japanese gardens and parks.
When seen over water, the reflection looks a like a perfectly round full moon.
In Nagasaki, the most well known stone bridge is not a moon bridge but a double arched structure known as Meganebashi or Spectacles Bridge.
It's one of the most famous stone bridges not just in Nagasaki but in the whole of Japan.
The Meganebashi spans a narrow part of the Nakashima River. Built in the 1600s, our Tours by Locals guide Miyuki san said that it is the oldest stone bridge in Japan.
A few centuries ago, the Nakashima had many stone bridges crossing it, each one leading to one of the city's famous chinese temples in the Teramachi district. This map in blue tile shows how this area looked like many years ago.
The best view of Meganebashi is from a hundred meters away, from another stone bridge directly across it. Doesn't it really look like a pair of old fashioned round spectacles? I suddenly remembered
John Lennon's face with his famous owlish eyeglasses.
The visit to Meganebashi coincided with lunchtime. I had requested Miyuki san to let us try
a local and traditional Nagasaki specialty -- toruku rice or turkish rice.
Toruku rice is made up of a pork cutlet with gravy served with tomato based spaghetti and rice.
Yes, it's a double carb meal! I couldn't wait to try it.
While we were taking photos and admiring the views, Miyuki san was busy on the phone making reservations at her favourite lunch place which incidentally, was just across the road.
The restaurant is incongruously called "Primrose". It's on the second floor, you walk up a narrow
and steep staircase. There is no sign except for a small bulletin board with a photo of the house specialty -- toruku rice. This is definitely a place that only locals would know about.
If you're lucky enough to sit by the window, you get a good view of the Meganebashi across the road.
The menu is in Japanese, sorry but Primrose does not have an english menu.
But you don't really need one because the photo speaks a thousand calories. There are just a few items -- it's basically toruku rice as the star dish with a few yoshoku style dishes like a cheese casserole, pasta and beef stew.
And here is toruku rice, in all its mouthwatering glory. I get hungry just seeing this photo again.
Primrose's toruku rice is awe inspiring ... there is so much food on the plate!
For 1,000 yen, I got a gigantic pork cutlet liberally doused with gravy, a ton of rice smothered
with a sweet and spicy Japanese curry sauce, and a heap of spaghetti hiding under the pork.
Fresh greens with a tart dressing complete my crowded plate.
Miyuki san said that this dish was "invented" in Nagasaki and blends Portuguese and Japanese culinary traditions.
It may look like a mishmash of flavours -- curry/gravy/spaghetti sauce and I was surprised that it all worked well together. A triumph for culinary multi-culturalism!
For those with daintier appetites, there is the "Ladies' Dish" which is a smaller portion of pork but with one piece of fried prawn to compensate. Of course this being Japan, they did have the requisite Kiddie Meal which Martina enjoyed.
From where we sat, I could see into Primrose's small open kitchen. The chef is busy at the stove
and has just one girl to help him serve the food, wash the dishes and yes -- act as the cashier.
What an efficient operation -- it's certainly an advantage when you just have a few choices on your menu.
This is Miyuki san, our Tours by Locals guide. She is an excellent resource of anything that you may want to know about Nagasaki and will definitely help you maximise your time in the city.
Thank you, Miyuki san for taking us to your favourite lunchtime place and for letting us taste the fusion fabulousness of toruku rice!
On our way out Miyuki san, who knows about my penchant for shotengai, took us on a quick visit to Hamanmachi -- Nagasaki's very own covered shopping arcade. There are more than 700 shops in a warren of streets! I barely saw a fraction of them. Zannen desu ne!
Nagasaki, I shall return!