Friday, 5 March 2010

visiting Japanese Sake breweries

Sake brewing is one of the oldest industries in Japan. Some brewers have given up the business over the years, but some claim to be 400 or 500 years old. Nada in Kobe has the biggest number of breweries and the largest production of sake in Japan. Fushimi in Kyoto ranks second.

The photo is of the Gekkei-kan Brewery, one I haven’t visited.

I had read about the process of making sake a couple of times before but could never really imagine it. Looking round and hearing the explanation it became much clearer. Different kinds of sake were served after the tour and it was the first time I thought sake was nice. I also felt the smell of koji was kind of nice when I left the brewery.

Friday, 19 February 2010

potted plum trees

It’s about 1 hour train ride from Kyoto station to Nagahama located at the northern end Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan, in Shiga Prefecture. Just one hour ride takes us to snow-country... but it wasn’t when I went there.
At least I saw Mt. Ibuki covered with snow, it looked beautiful but it wasn’t close enough to make me feel that I had come to snow-country.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

a snowy morning

We hardly ever have snow in central Kyoto nowadays, it might lie briefly a couple of times a year. I seem to remember it used to be more often when I first started living here. Global warming? It could be.
I went out to take photos when I saw the snow on the neighbour’s roof. It wasn’t enough to cover the ground, but it gave slight colour to the scenery.

I went to Nijo Castle and Shinsen-en.

At Nijo Castle only a little snow remained.

Friday, 1 January 2010


In the last hour of the year 2009 I visited a temple to participate in the ceremony of ringing the bell 108 times. Because of the crowds my friend and I along with the four others took our turn as groups of six were allowed to ring the bell in turn. The idea being to get rid of so-called “worldly desires” in 2009 before the start of the new year.

After that we went drinking until 5 o’clock. I’m not sure how successful I was in getting rid of “worldly desires”.

(left: a new year's ornament at Sanjusangen-do
/ right: a new year's ornament in Kyoto style)

A Happy New Year to you all.