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


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


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


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.

Kanazawa Station, JR Train Station


Omotenashi Dome, a big hall with a glassed-in roof top. It suggests unfolding a big umbrella. US Travel Magazine” Travel Leisure” picks up  Kanazawa Station as one of the World’s Most Beautiful Train Stations. The Station is introduced in No.7  out of 16 stations in the magazine.

Tsuzumimon Gate, a big wooden hand-drum shaped gate. Noh Play is very popular among the citizens in Kanazawa. Small hand-drums called Tsuzumi are used as one of the music instruments in a Noh Play.

Tudumi, a small hand drum for a Noh Play. You can get high pitch when you squeeze the code.

A cool fountain in front of the Tudumimon Gate attracts tourists. Welcome words both in English and Japanese, and time are displayed like a digital clock.

Bus Stop No.3 is where loop bus for Kanazawa sight-seeing leaves and arrives every 12 minutes.  One-way loop bus covers main tourist attractions.

A bronze kettle art work is displayed near Bus Stop No.3. Here is the bus stop for Kanazawa one-day loop bus. I want to start one-day no reservation tour by taking a loop bus. It is a temporary project to see the demand. No tour, when Takashi’s  schedule is booked. Contact!

A colorful midsize bus is in service  for one-day sight-seeing loop bus.

Hokutetsu Ekimae Center, where you can get a one-day loop bus ticket. A few steps from bus stop No.1 of the east gate of the station.

Forus building with a big screen depicting Kanazawa.

A coffee shop under the big screen.

Hotels around the station are as follows.

ANA Crown Plaza Kanazawa Hotel

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa, JAL Hotel

APA Hotel Kanazawa Ekimae

Garden Hotel Kanazawa

Kanazawa Miyako Hotel

Hotel Kanazawa

Hotel Via Inn Kanazawa

Post Office in the Station, where ATM is installed.


Historic City of Hida Furukawa


Colorful carps are swimming in the Seto River. White wall earthen storehouses are standing alone the river.

White earthen wall buildings are unique in Hida Furukawa.

Old-established sake brewery. Sugidama, a ball of Japanese cidar leaves is decorated as a sign of sake brewery.

Old-established Japanese candle workshop. The seventh generation explains visitors how to make Japanese candles. There are only a few workshops remain and do their traditional business throughout Japan.

The front of a Japanese candle shop, Mishima .

Work place for the artisan of Japaneses candle.

Yataigura, float storehouse for Furukawa festival.



Takayama Miyagawa River


Extremely long-arm goblin, Tenaga and long-leg goblin, Ashi-naga are displayed on the railing of Kaji-bashi bridge.  Te-naga and Ashi-naga folklore is handed down in Japan, which represents the god of immortal.  There is another folk tale about the creature. This creature was regarded as a hobgoblin,a ghostly apparition, Yokai in Japanese. The creatures with their weird long arms and long legs are said to do wrong to people. So, two different traditions about Te-naga and Ashi-naga.  There is a shrine to dedicate the creatures in Nagano prefecture.

Ashi-naga and Miyagawa river.


Te-naga, long-arm goblin sits on the Kaji-bashi bridge railing.

Te-naga and Asi-naga sculptures were made by Yoroku Taniguchi, a sculptor of the late Edo Period.

Red colored Naka-bashi bridge crosses over the Miyagawa river.

The bridge has a decoration of Giboshi, which is modeled after the shape of onion flower.

Takayama Jinya, administrative office of Tokugawa goverment is over there. The bridge connected Jinya and old merchant town in the Edo Period.

Morning markets in Takayama


Jinya-mae morning market started open about 200 years ago. The market opens every day morning until noon throughout a year selling vegetables,fruits,  flowers, processed food, pickles, souvenirs, etc.

Farmers’ wives sell long green onions called Negi wrapped with used newspaper, flowers, etc.

Rice cake called Tuki- Mochi, apple juice, pickles, etc. are sold on the stall.

Small shrine is located near Miyagawa morning market.

Miyagawa market is open along the Miyagawa river. The banner says Miyagawa morning market in Chinese characters.

Souvenirs are sold.


Snow walls in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route


Tourists are walking between huge snow walls, wich are 14 meters high at high point.

Snow walls is about 200 mters long. Sightseers enjoy walking.

Drawings on the walls will disappear soon together with snow. Maybe acceptable graffiti.

Tateyama Ropeway runs 1,700 meters long having no support pillar between the two stations.

Ropeway wires run in the air and look massive.

Snow stripes from the ropeway look artistic, but it’s the nature that makes them.

Kurobe Lake is calm and serene reflecting the emerald-green, which is surrounded with high mountains. The Kurobe dam was built about 40 years age to supply electricity for rapid industrialization at that time.


Water-filled Paddy fields in Shirakawago


Paddy fields are filled with water, ready for rice planting. Mountains over there are snow-capped Mt. Hakusan, one of the three sacred mountains in Japan, which is about 2,700 meters high, and the source of the Sho river. The Sho river runs west of the village, and supply abundant water for a paddy field. Green, water, snow and a paddy field produce a beautiful scenery once a year.

Gassho Farmhouse Iwase-ke


This Gassho farmhouse was built about 300 years ago. This Iwase-ke Gassho farmhouse is the biggest of all Gassho farmhouses reserved at present. There are about 200 Gassho farmhouses left in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama area. This house is designated as a national important cultural property.

In front of Iwase-ke, skunk cabbages, called Mizubasho are in full bloom.

One of the room is built in the shoin style of traddtional samurai style architecture. It has an alcove and staggered wall shelves. The Samurai officers from Kaga clan stayed in this house for regular inspection about the area land in the feudal period.

Broad Japanese cypress and ceder board sliding doors, called Obi-do are used to partition the rooms.

The steep ladders are installed to get to the 3rd, 4th and 5 th floors.

The third floor, fourth floor and fifth floor were use to silkwarm raising.

Paper sliding doors are installed for light.