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Winter decoration in Takayama

2013年12月22日 日曜日

Straw ropes are winded around a used firework launcher tube as a decoration to ward off evil inTakayama. A launcher tube is made of a bamboo tube or a cardboard tube. Toyohashi city is well known for a tube  launcher firework. Tube launcher firework event in Takayama is taken place on August 9th every year. August 9th is pronounced ” Yaku” in Japanese meaning August 9th, which also means to ward off evil.

Hana-mochi literary means flower-like decoration of rice cakes. People in Takayama decorate short tree branches with white or ren and white rice cakes to compensate lack of flowers in winter. People bake or fry them and eat after January 15th.

Yukitsuri, protection agaist heavy snow

2013年11月2日 土曜日

November 1st is the day when gardeners start to build Yukitsuri in Kenrokuen garden. Yukitsuri is a sign that winter is around corner, winter feature in Kanazawa. Yukitsuri is a protection for branches of trees against heavy snow. Gardeners begin Yukitsuri at a a big pine tree, called Karasaki-no-matsu at first. Four cedar poles are set up at the pine tree. The highest pole is 15 meter-high. A gardener climbs a pole to the top, and throw down straw ropes tied to the pole top. About 100 to 200 ropes are thrown, and tied to branches of the pine tree in cooperation with other gardeners. 12 gardeners work together in cooperation. An aesthetic sense is also important to set up straw ropes. It is impressive to make them look circular cones like unfolding umbrellas. Please enjoy the photos I took on November 1,2013.


Shirakawa-go Doburoku festival

2013年10月18日 金曜日

Shirakawa-go Doburoku festival takes place annually at three different Hachiman shrines in Shirakawa village. Shirakawa Hachiman Shrine festival is the biggest among them, and is held on October 14th and 15th. Hatogoya Hachiman Shrine festival is held on October 16th and 17th. Iijima Hachiman Shrine festival is held on October 18th and 19th. The itinerary of the festival is as follows. 9:00am; Festval ceremony at the shrinestakes place. Procession strolls along the village streets. Lion dance is performed. 3:30pm; Doburoku sake starts to be served to visitors. 7:00pm; Lion dance performance is dedicated to the shrine. 8:00pm; Local folk dance is dedicated to the shrine.

Stalls in the shrine precincts sell Takoyaki food and so on.

Festival flags and gasshio houses.

Festival procession beside a harvested rice paddy field.

Shrine priest on a rickshaw.

Mikoshi, a portable shrine

A blue ogre and a red ogre are believed to protect villagers from a devil.

Children perform dance.

Festival procession goes on near Wada house.

Wajima-nuri lacquer ware

2013年4月7日 日曜日

The process of making Wajima-nuri lacquer ware is explained to tourists at Wajima Kobo Nagaya. Wajima-nuri is an exclusive type of lacquerware produced in Wajima city, which is located at the tip of Noto peninsula. It takes about 2 hours from Kanazawa by limited express bus to get there.

Wajima Kobo Nagaya provides visiters for having lacquerware experiment to make a pair of chopsticks. My customers, an Australian graphic designer and her husband enjoyed the experiment.

Wajima, including Noto peninsula is also well known for the huge Kiriko lantern festival. It’s a summer festival.

20 or more people join together to carry the huge Kiriko lantern.



Cherry flowers in Kanazawa

2013年4月4日 木曜日

Cherry flowers are almost in full bloom in Kanazawa on Thursday, April 4th, 2013. It is one week earlier than uasual. Here is Ex-castle moat.

Cherry flowers beautifully decorate the castle gate.

The nail hides of the castle gate make an interesting contrast with cherry flowers.

JR Train from Kanazawa via Toyama to Takayama

2013年1月19日 土曜日

I took a local train at Kanazawa station around noon for Toyama on January 12, 2013, one day before Takayama tour guide for overseas customers. The train arrived at Toyama station after taking more than one hour. I changed the trains for Inotani around 2:00pm. It took more than one hour to get to Inotani.

The train arrived at Inotani station, and passengers change trains for Takayama. Inotani is the border station between JR West and JR Tokai.

The local train for Takayama is waiting for the passengers from Toyama. About 10 minutes later, The train started for Takayama.

Snow covered Jinya, administrative office of Tokugawa government in the Edo period was impressive. I guided overseas customers here on Jan.13, it was really fine day,and very much beautiful.

Iron chair displayed in front of a gadget shop draws strong attention from overseas customers.

Omicho market crowded with year-end shoppers

2012年12月31日 月曜日

Red-skinned kamaboko and white kamaboko are typical ingredients of New Year’s dish. Red and white are considered to bring good luck.

Kamabo is translated as fish paste, minced fish, fish sausage, fish cake, fish loaf,  or fish minced and steamed.  But, I don’t think whatever English name can express the delicious taste of kamaboko.  So, kamaboko is  kamaboko.

Various kinds of kamaboko for New Year’s food are sold at kamaboko shop, Omicho market.

Omicho market has about 270 years history, originated as the Kaga local lord’s kitchen. Shoppers are crowed in the narrow alley, and snatch food for New Year’s dish .

Kuwai is translated as threeleaf arrowhead. Kuwai is considered as an auspicious food. It has a arrow-like bud. People belive that good luck will visit when you eat kuwai. So, it is one of the ingredient of New Year’s food.

Tochi-mochi rice cake, a souvenir of a local sweet

2012年12月1日 土曜日

Tochinoki is translated into English as Japanese horse chestnut Aesculus. Aesculus seeds were traditionally eaten by the Jomon people. The Jomon people lived in Japan about 4 millennia ago until 300 AD. Aesculus seeds become edible after complicated processing of leaching. The seeds have acrid taste and can’t be eaten without processing.

I found crushed seeds in bags being soaked in a running water at Shirakawago village on September 29 and November 8.

A high degree of technique such as soaking the seeds in a running water and boiling them in a water mixed with ash is needed to extract bitter taste. Tochinoki seeds saved people from famine during the Edo and early Meiji period. There are many places which have the name related to Tochi throughout Japan. Tochinomi is used as an ingredient for Tochinomi-senbei, Tochinomi rice cracker and Tochi-mochi, Tochimochi rice cake.

Tochinomi is rich in starch and bigger than acorn, and was regarded as the seeds for longevity. Tochinoki seeds are reviewed as a nutritious ingredient at a time when people are eating to their hearts’ content.

Yew Tree Carving in Hida Takayama

2012年11月11日 日曜日

Yew Trees grow thick in the mountain area in Takayama. In England, Yew tree was used to make a bow. Yew tree bow was so strong and pliable that an arrow shot from Yew tree bow was able to penetrate iron armor of enemy soldiers. It is said why England defeated foreign army.

The seed cones are bright red berry-like fruits.

The end of the fruit is open.

This Ichi is designated as a preservation tree of Takayama city. Male strain and female strain, so dioecious plant. Some effort to find female strain was needed for me.

One of the old-established carving workshop, Tsuda chokoku which has a 170 year history and is situated near Takayama Jinya. Yew tree is called Ichii in Japanese.

Many differen types of chisels are used for carving.


Owl carvings. Fukuro is the name of the bird in Japanese,  and it means that hardship will not come to you. It is a good luck charm. As time passes, Yew tree carvings turn black. Newly caved yew tree is plain color.

Netsuke and other carvings.

Hawthorn in Kenrokuen Garden

2012年10月23日 火曜日

Hawthorn in Kenrokuen Garden bears red fruits.The tree is called Sanzashi in Japanese. Haw means hedge and thorn means sting or spine. In the UK, the tree is used as hedge surrounding home. It is also called may tree.  In the language of flower, the tree signifies hope. The tourists from the UK say that the fruit is smaller than here in Japan.

Hawthorn is the state flower of Missouri, USA.

Hawthorn blooms start after cherry flowers. It is also called white thorn.

I took these photos on May 19,2013.