Friday, May 16, 2014

Miyama-cho to Ine-cho

Saturday, 12th April, 2014.
The next morning was quite chilly, with frost on the grass.  This is the view from our bedroom window.  Over to the left, you can see where the evergreen trees are being planted to screen Chisa’s house from the bus park.  I hope the trees grow quickly!  

Chisa had gone to an enormous amount of trouble to plan a trip for us.  Here is how it started:
Leave home about 9:00 to the nearest JR station Hiyoshi.
Get on JR train at Hiyoshi station.
Change trains at Fukuchiyama station.
Get off at Nodagawa station.
Drive to Refre Kayanosato ( a highly recommended restaurant).
The picture is of Fukuchiyama Castle, seen as we were entering Fukuchiyama.  The castle now serves as a local history museum.

This is how Fukuchiyama Castle looks from the station.  Can you see it?

The train passed through some very pretty country between Fukuchiyama and Nodagawa, with cherry blossoms in full bloom.

At Nodagawa, we were met by a friend of Chisa’s, who we were meeting for lunch at a special restaurant.  We couldn’t all fit in his van, so some of us walked.  After sitting in trains for so long, it was very pleasant to walk in the beautiful countryside.




The restaurant was called Refre Kayanosato.  In more affluent times, it was a part of a luxury resort.  With the coming of the GFC, many of these resorts were forced to close.  This one, with a lot of hard work by the local people, has become a centre for the disabled, with the restaurant providing employment and training for them.

The grounds were very beautiful, and beautifully maintained.




We enjoyed a delicious lunch together.

How’s this for lunch?

Through a misunderstanding, we ended up with a large beer each, instead of a small beer.  What a problem!

Chisa’s friend Mr Moro.

After lunch, we went back to Iwataki station and took a train to Amano Hashidate station, where some students were painting a cherry blossom mural.

From Amano Hashidate, we took a bus to the coastal village of Ine-cho.
Running along the shore at Ine bay can be found around 230 "Funaya" (houses built on the water's edge with a garage like space for boat mooring beneath).  Funaya developed to make maximum use of the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the sea in this locality where the tidal changes are not so great. On the ground floor is a bay for a boat, a place to put equipment, and a workshop. It is here preparations for fishing trips, maintenance of nets, and drying of fish etc. takes place. Upstairs are the living quarters.

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Our accommodation was in a funaya which had been converted into a ryokan.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Here’s the view out the window.
More pictures of our funaya ryokan:  (Yes, we’re back on the floor again.)


Heater under the table.

Look how neatly Chisa can sit on the floor!  The three of us were so ungainly.

The lower level of our building, where the boat used to be kept.

The water was extremely clear, and you could easily see the blue and orange starfish.

Other funaya around the bay.

You can see here how the funaya neatly occupy the narrow strip of land along the bay between the sea and the surrounding hills.

We went for a walk along the street around the bay.

Manhole covers in Ine-cho featured the funaya and boats.

Up the hill.


Seafood dinner in a local restaurant.  I think it was still wriggling.
Thank you Chisa for a wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Miyama Kita Village: Folklore Museum

Friday, 11th April, 2014.


Miyama-Kita village is about 60km north of Kyoto. The village was designated a Japanese cultural heritage site in 1993, because of its traditional untouched scenery and its 38 thatched-roof houses, all facing the same direction, on a gentle slope.   The original framework of the Folklore Museum was built about 500 years ago in the Edo period.  The building was destroyed by fire in 2000, but restored as a museum in 2002.

The roof is very steep so the heavy winter snow will slide off.

We arrived just before the museum closed for the day.



An Edo period style bath.  



Traditional woven household goods.



More woven household goods.



Carol in the attic, where you could see the inside of the thatched roof up close.



Chisa and Akiko in the attic.



Traditional household and farming implements.



The animals were kept inside in winter.



So thongs weren’t invented in Queensland.



As the museum is closed for the day, the step is swept with a traditional short-handled Japanese broom.

You can see three different layers in the thatch.  The materials used are hemp, rice plant and thatch plant.



Chisa under the eaves.

In the past, when people cooked with a wood-burning stove every day, the smoke from the fire helped preserve the thatch by killing the insects that lived in it, and the thatch would last for 40 to 50 years.

Today, wood fires are no longer used, and the life of the thatched roof has been shortened dramatically.  There is only one professional roof thatcher in the village, but he has seven young apprentices working for him, so the people of the village are confident that this tradition will be preserved for future generations.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Miyama Village

Friday, 11th April, 2014.

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After the “English Cafe” conversation session, the tour of Chisa’s garden and then Chisa’s delicious lunch, Chisa and Akiko took Carol to the local school, which Akiko’s children attended.  Chisa and Akiko then took all of us to see the village of Miyama, which is famous for its thatched-roof houses.  You can see one of these in the background of this picture.



Miyama Village is a lovely village with 38 thatched roof houses. The houses are all more than 150 years old and people still live there although they are sometimes inconvenient compared to modern houses. People in this village enjoy a quiet life, with almost no restaurants or shops in the village.


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Bundles of thatch drying.



Here are Carol, Chisa and Akiko walking into the village.  As usual, Frances and I are trailing along behind, taking pictures.

More pictures of the village:








The flags flying here are for “Boys’ Day”.  Frances bought some.



As it was late afternoon, the “Boys’ Day” flags were being taken down.



Field horsetails interspersed with daffodils.









The village just seemed to nestle itself into the side of the hill.


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By the end of our visit, it had grown quite chilly.  Akiko drove us to one of the few restaurants in the village where we had a very welcome hot drink.  There we met this beautiful little rosy-cheeked girl called Yuki. 


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Yuki was happy to show us a traditional dance she had been learning (with castanets).

Carol was happy to join in:






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We gave Yuki a koala, and she gave us a little beaded necklace she had made.



At the end of the day, we relaxed in front of Chisa’s fire.



Chisa gave us some Japanese jello, another new experience for me.