Results tagged “Sake”

Trip to Nagahama part.2

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Got to explore Nagahama with Molly DeDona! We found some real gems on our day out!

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First, we went to make our own blown glass cups.

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It was a little scary at first, but they were so nice and guided us through every step.

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They were professionals and made me feel like I was in good hands.

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Next, at the same shop, we made our own designs on cups to be sandblasted.

Sandblasting basically adds a cool, frosted effect to your class.

We both decided to do it the difficult way so it took some time, but the result was worth it!

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After all of our hard work, we got some food that is a specialty of Nagahama.

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It's a kind of udon soup. It was deli0cious! The broth was thicker than most and it had a giant mushroom in it! :)

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Next, we walked around Nagahama. We looked at a few shops, including the shop of the figure museum in Nagahama.

It seemed like a cool museum and I wouldn't mind checking it out next time I go!

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We visited also visited a temple as we walked around. While they didn't have an English brochure, just looking at the temple's structure and beautiful shrine inside was worth the visit.

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There were also shops nearby that looked like they sold Yukata. I'll have to stop by and check them out some time!

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Also, the animal that represents that temple or the area is a fox. So, there were lots of cute pictures of foxes on our way to the temple.

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We eventually made our way over to the Plum Blossom exhibit on the other side of the tracks to make our Plum Sake! It was a once in a lifetime experience and I enjoyed every minute! We had visited the Plum Blossom exhibit before, however we had no idea that there was such an event held there.

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Japanese people can make sake in their own house so they had this class.

There was a taste test before where we tried 11 different kinds of sake.

Then, they explained why each sake was different and showed us how to make it.

There was even a company sponsoring the event, so we got a free can of plum juice and sake that we could drink right away.

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I have to shake the plum sake glass jar everyday, but I'm excited to try my own homemade sake when it's ready! :)

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Still, we saw some goodies back in the shopping area that we had to buy so we stepped out for a minute.

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However, when we got back, they lit up the garden out back and it was beautiful.

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After drinking some tea and enjoying some mochi, we took some pictures and said farewell.

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In the end, I honestly never would have thought there would be such gems in Nagahama. I loved exploring and getting to learn more about the opportunities in Shiga. I can't wait to choose another city and explore again!

Trip to Nagahama kurokabe & Bonbai Exhibition

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This is a little overdue, but here is an overview of my super fun Saturday in Nagahama!

Me and Kate had the chance to go to Nagahama, a bit North of Hikone and try out some of the activities and specialties of the region.

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So, the first place we went to in Nagahama was Kurokabe Glass House.

While we were there, Kate and I had the chance to make our own glass cups.

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While the glass artists did most of the work, we did get the chance to shape the hot glass a little bit. It was difficult to do, the glass was molten hot!

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It was really fun though, we got to choose what colors were added to the glass, but we did not get to take it home right away, since it has to cool.

However, the cup arrived in the mail today, and it looks great! I am excited to get to use it!!

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At the same business, you can decorate a cup or plate, and have it sandblasted permanently with a design.

I made mine represent Lake Biwa, and I marked out Hikone and Ootsu in relation to it.

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It was really fun, and it is not very expensive (about 15 dollars). I would totally go again; and I would really like to sometime this semester, I highly recommend it.

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We got to eat Noppei udon, which features a huge Shitake mushroom in with the noodles.

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The broth is really thick, almost like thick cornstarch gravy. It was delicious though!

We ordered a lunch that also came with a rice bowl, which had salmon and soy sauce drenched rice, which was also delicious.

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Lunch was really close to Kurokabe Square, a great shopping center with a wide variety of stores in the arcade style mall, as well as many places to buy souvenirs, mostly of glass figures and tableware.

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There were at least three really nice stores to buy a wide variety of glass cups, plates, hina masturi (For the national Girls day holiday, displays of Heian era court figures are popular to display) figures, and jewelry.

You can also buy Shiga-prefecture specific food specialties.

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We also made plum sake, which was really fun.

I didn't understand everything that was being said because it was all in Japanese, and since I was tired and it was warm in the room, I almost fell asleep for a minute!

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We got to try various umeboshi sake, they were all a lot sweeter than I expected, but I definitely want to try to buy some and bring it home to share.

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I had been to the bonbai exhibit once already, (like bonsai trees, but blooming plum trees instead)

but this time we went closer to sundown, and we got to see all the special lights on both inside and outside the exhibit, it was really pretty at night.

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so,when we went to the bonbai exhibit, it was nearing dusk, and we excited to se the light-up of the exterior garden that wold happen after dark.

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Even through I had been there once before, it was during the day, so we missed the light-up part of the exhibit. The plum trees themselves were rather amazing,some are nearly 400 years old!

They are given constant attention and pruning from their caretakers, and only the best are selected to be displayed in the exhibit.

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One of the great parts of the exhibit is the interaction you can have with the flower blooms, you can lean over and smellthe blooms, and they sure do smell good!

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There are two floors of the exhibit, and the upstairs has a little place where you can sit down and have tea and light snacks. I had matcha tea, and a small sweet, and as we were drinking and eating, we could look out the window as the lights were turned on out in the garden. There is also a really nice gift store on the way to exit the exhibit, you can get a variety of sweets, teas, and other local food products.

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It was a really fun exhibition, it would recommend it to anyone.

Hyakusaiji& Fuji Honke part3

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On November 26th, I had the opportunity to visit Hyakusaiji temple, as well as a sake brewery to taste sake and see how it was made.

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First, we went to Hyakusaiji temple. Hyakusaiji is one of the oldest temples in Japan.

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We saw the garden first, and it was beautiful! Because it was fall, there were beautiful maple leaves with vibrant colors. So we sat and enjoyed the peacefulness of the garden and the beauty of nature.

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The main temple is on top of a mountain, so after climbing for about ten minutes, we reached the main temple.

There, we went inside, and then outside of the temple, where a large bell was, we each rang the bell and then prayed for something.

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After our temple visit, it was lunchtime. So, we ate Omi Chanpon near Hikone station.

It was my first time eating chanpon, and it was delicious! I also found out that it was a special food to Shiga, which was also interesting.

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After our lunch, we headed to Inae station, and after a train ride, took a short bus ride to a sake brewery, where we learned how sake was made.

Before that, we played a game where we tasted different kinds of sake and had to match them to their bottles.

Needless to say, I couldn't tell which sake was which.

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After the sake-making tour and the sake tasting game, we had a chance to look around the market area that was inside of the main building.

We tried many local Shiga foods, and drank amazake as well as plum sake. Amazake is not only good for your health, but it is also delicious and great for a cold day!

I don't like alcohol very much, but the plum sake was pretty tasty!

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After a long, fun-filled day, we headed home. I learned a lot about Shiga and its' local foods and culture during this trip, and I am grateful for the chance I had to explore Shiga. It was a great day!

Hyakusaiji & Fuji Honke part2

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At 8:00am Saturday morning, I woke up with Mina and took a bus to Hyakusai Temple to see the fall maple leaves (Momiji).

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It was my first visiting this temple along with viewing momiji. I was really able to appreciate the beautiful scenery I was surrounded by.

The actual temple was quite a hike, but during our journey up the mountain we came across a Japanese garden which settled well into the season perfectly.

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When we got to the top of the mountain we reached Hyakusaiji temple and purified our hands before entering inside the temple. As we entered it felt like we entered into whole different area.

The atmosphere was different and you could tell that temple had a lot of history and stories behind it. I watched people rub the head of a Buddha statue and pray for good health as the smoke of incense filled the room.

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Outside the temple there was a tree that has survived for more than 1,000 years. Next to a tree was a large bell that people ranged after they prayed so that that gods can receive their prayer. I found it mesmerizing and decided to join in as well.

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After our trip went near Hikone station and went to Omichanpon and tried spicy chanpon which is a noodle based soup with a variety of vegetables.

It was my first time having omichanpon and it was delicious! It wasn't as spicy as I thought it was going to be, but it's definitely good to have when you are sick. I wondered why it took me so long to actual try.

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Once we finished eating we went to Inae and visited the Fuji-sake brewery.

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We received a sake cup and had to try out 5 different types of sake and compare which ones were the same. I tried sake for the first time and i didn't find it to appetizing.There was a variety to taste some were sweet, most were bitter, and one had no taste at all. Most of the time sake is drunken when it is warm.

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I had a chance to try Amasake which was really good! It is made hot and sweeter while containing only a small amount of alcohol compared to most sake beverages. We got a tour of the brewery and got to see how it is process. I enjoy Japanese sake a lot more than American alcohol. I think the taste isn't as overwhelming compared to American alcohol and it doesn't burn your throat!

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At the end we met the manager of "We Love Shiga" who purchased plum-flavored sake for us which was sooo good! Along with the appetizers we had with it.

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All in all this fun a fun experience and I'm glad I was able to go. Thank you for this opportunity!

Hyakusaiji & Fuji Honke

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I am trainee from Hunan Province of China. I joined a trip program of Shiga. Plase read my trip report.

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Last month, I had a Momijigari trip to one of the temples in Koton Sanzan which is one of the oldest temple in Omi, called Hyakusaiji Temple.

In autumn, Japanese people enjoy hanging out to have a view of autumn leaves, and they called this activity as Momijigari.

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The "Kotoh Sanzan(3 mountains on the eastern part of Lake Biwa)" is wonderful area to enjoy the beauty of Momiji.

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The approach to the main hall is very long. It's said it's the longest one in Kotoh Sanzan. Though, surrounded by lots of aging trees, you can still find the site to image a castle once stood here. There are lots of fallen leaves on the footsteps and rocks with moss, which let me sense the depth of history and time flies.

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On entering the Kikenin Garden, I was fascinated by the scenery. It's a typical pond style Japanese garden. The pond, falls, hills, trees, stones and so on are layout in a unique balance. Walking around the pond, I found the gradation of red, yellow and green leaves is changed from different views.

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Climbing to the top of this garden, a view of the Koto plain, Mt. Hiei and Mt.Hira is very wonderful.

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In a good weather, and introduced by NHK of the Momoji Report last day, many visitors came here this day. Although the color of leaves is a little fading, Hyakusaiji's fallen leaves carpet is very beautiful, just like what to be said.

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In the afternoon, we arrived at Fujii Honke, a sake brewery since 1831. The 5th Sigitama Festival is held on this day. It's the season for the new sake, so many kinds of new sake can be tasted in this Festival. What's more, we had a visit to the SakeKura(sake brewery). The owner made an excellent introduction of the brewery for us, and his preference for rice and water which moves me very much.

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The owner said that without richness in water, nature and environment of Shiga, Fujii Honke's Sake cannot be made, and only using the local rice for sake brewing, the sakekura can find the way it lives.

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Fuijii Honke's Sakekura is a place for make an old fashioned handmade style brewing. The brewery has high ceiling and earthen wall for suitable aging condition without air condition, which keeps perfect temperature and humidity, designed by the owner's mother. I was fascinated by the special design of this architecture, and had to admire Japanese people's wisdom.

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I don't like alcohol, but the amazake is so delicious that I drank 2 cups. What's more, a friend of us bought plum liquor for us, so we had a great plum liquor party in day. It's fortunate that I was not drunk.

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I bought the sake lees at last. It's so awesome I can enjoy yummy amazake and kasujiru in home.

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At last, show you a picture of Omichanpon which I had eaten that day. The restaurant is near Hikone Station, and I ordered a spicy one, of course it's delicious.