Day 3: Dinner in Gifu
For dinner that day, we had plans to meet with the whole family in Gifu, a smaller city located northwest of Nagoya, where a friend of Yasuko's father had a traditional Japanese restaurant.
After our visit to the Expo, we had lunch and then we decided to start driving north and stop for a couple of hours at Meiji-Mura, an open-air architectural museum park.
The museum preserves historic buildings from Japan's Meiji (1867–1912), Taisho (1912–1926), and early Showa (1926–1989) periods. Over 60 historical buildings have been moved and reconstructed onto the rolling hills alongside Lake Iruka.
The most noteworthy building there is the reconstructed main entrance and lobby of Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark Imperial Hotel, which originally stood in Tokyo from 1923 to 1967, when the main structure was demolished to make way for a new, larger version of the hotel.
Unfortunately, in the winter the park closes at 4PM, which meant that when got there it was almost closing time, so we didn't get a chance to visit the entire park. Among other buildings, we visited the Imperial Hotel, the Kureha-za Theater, from Osaka, built in 1868, and the St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral, from Kyoto, built in 1890.
We reached Gifu by dinner time and when we got to the restaurant everybody was already there. The restaurant owner and chef was a very friendly person, good friend of Masao, and he treated us to a series of amazing dishes. We sat at the counter, so that I could take some pictures of him while preparing those delicacies.
Needless to say, everything was prepared to perfection. The food was not just delicious, but beautifully presented in very nice plates. At the end of the dinner, the chef opened one of the glass cabinets behind him and took out a couple of wooden boxes which contained some precious antique handmade dishes, so that we could all appreciate the exquisite design.
After dinner, Yasuko's parents took the train back home, while Yasuko and I drove back with Jutaro and Rie, and we went to their place to chat and have a cup of green tea.