| 88th night
When we go through Uji area,
We see beautiful tea field
on the hills and mountains.
May 2nd is called "hachijuhachi ya".
It means the 88th night from
the beginning day of spring.
Tea leaves picked on this day
said to be the best.
We have a song of picking tea leaves.
It is also a children's hands play song.
I learned and practiced with this youtube.
Song of Chatsumi
There is a tour to experience
tea picking with a costume of
tea picking girls sung in the song.
I want to join that someday.
This time we were on the way of
our trip, so we just stopped by
At Michinoeki(resting place for drivers).
We could try newly picked tea.
It was very bitter, but refreshing.
I got tea flavor Dango (dumpling).
It was sweet and very good!
| Shigaraki pottery market
On the way from Kyoto to Shiga,
you will be surprised to see that
there are many shops like these.
All of these are pottery.
The animal is Tanuki raccoon.
Shigaraki is a town famous
for the pottery industry,
especially tanuki figure.
A market was held around
This is a million yen tanuki
I saw in the market.
The tanuki figures are often seen
in Japanese restaurant, shops, and
home gardens. It brings you good luck.
The word Tanuki (raccoon) is
as same as ta-nuki(surpass others),
so it is preferred by people running
A tanuki figure has 8 good luck point.
Charming face to be loved by others,
A hat to avoid trouble,
Big good eyes to see the world well,
Big belly to be calm and brave,
Sake bottle(tokku-ri) to have virtue(toku).
Big testicles to bring many golds in.
Passbook to be reliable,
Big tale, to have good ending.
It became well known in Japan by a poem
the Showa Emperor read in 1951.
There were many events in the market,
and many people visited.
Japanese drums to welcome tourists.
This is an auction.
It was really fun to look around.
| Pottery tanuki making
Not only tanuki but many kinds of
Pottery sold in the market.
These are Medaka fish bowl.
I really wanted one of them.
Here are small bonsai and kokedama.
Many Japanese culture are
related to pottery.
This was my mom's favorite.
Family tanuki. Cute!
It was a little bit expensive.
I joined a pottery school.
I made my own tanuki.
An old lady taught how to make it
Kindly and her talk was very fun!
It took me almost two hours to finish making it, because I didn't ask for the teacher lady's hands for help. It was not as good as the sample one, but I am very satisfied with my tanuki.
The school will bake it in the kiln,
and send it after about a month.
I cannot wait to receive it!
| Momijigari in Uji
I went to Uji, Kyoto.
There is a statue by Uji river.
This woman is Murasaki Shikibu.
She wrote a novel in Heian period.
It was about 1000 years ago.
Byodoin is one of the world heritage in Uji.
Phoenix Hall in this temple is seen on 10 yen coin.
We walked along the river.
This couple is from the Tale of Genji,
written by Murasaki Shikibu.
It is about a romantic life of a man named Hikaru Genji.
We learned it in school this year.
It is written in a classic Japanese, so we had to learn
how to read and understand what is written.
I visited Tale of Genji Museum last summer,
and learned a lot about it.
This time, we visited there for Momijigari.
Momiji means red leaves of the trees in autumn.
Momijigari means hunting red leaves.
Kyoto is really popular for visitors in spring
for watching cherry blossoms, and also in autumn
to see momiji.
Some famous temples are too crowded to enjoy
the beautiful trees.
Uji is not in the center of Kyoto city.
Maybe that is why it was not too crowded.
It was really nice to walk along the river.
| Uji tea
Do you like green tea?
I like Matcha.
Uji is famous for green tea.
It is called Ujicha, Uji tea.
There are many tea shops on the street.
Some of them have long histories.
Here is a vending machine,
and all of these are Ujicha.
You can see some of them in convenience stores
all over Japan, but they are original here, I think.
You can drink sweet green tea in this shop.
It was only 50 yen. How cheap! and tasty!
Green tea is popular for sweets, right?
There were many sweet shops there.
Ice creams, crapes, parfait, chocolates, etc...
Traditional sweet you find there is Dango.
Dango is made from rice flour.
This is tea flavor dango.
It is so good if you drink with bitter green tea!
There are two big street markets in Kyoto.
One held on the 21st in Toji temple
is known as Kobo-ichi,
and the other held on the 25th in
Kitanotenmangu shrine is called Tenjin-ichi.
I went to Kitanotenmangu on the 25th.
And so Tenjin-ichi was open.
Let's go and look at the market!
Many foreign tourists visit the market, too.
You can find many Kimono shops.
They sell second-hand Kimono.
You can get a very fine antique
for a reasonable price if you are lucky.
These cats are good luck item.
They are piggy(kitty)banks.
You can find varíous kinds
of food stands there, too.
Takoyaki, Kaitenyaki, Ringoame...
There are about 1000 shops.
It is fun to look around.
I bought some cute buttons
to make hair accessories.
I hope you will have a chance
to come to Japan and visit there
to find a nice souvenir.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Kitanotenmangu shrine was
first built in 947.
It was built to enshrine
the spirit of Sugawarano Michizane.
Many students visit this shrine to get
good luck for their academic achievement.
This is where we wash our hands
instead of washing whole body
in the river or ocean
before seeing worshiped gods.
I wished a good luck for my cousin.
She has an entrance exam to a nurse
college next month.
We can get many good luck items in shrines.
I got a box of pencils. It smelled good
and some of them had a poem which Michizane made.
I will study with these lucky pencils!
Continue to --->>
| In kitanotenmangu shrine,
there are 50 small worshipped shrines
to give us good lucks, too.
Each shrines give you different good lucks.
Some of them are very interesting.
For example, there is a shrine of avoiding lightning.
It is popular among golf players.
In many shrines and temples,
they have beautiful gardens
in their land.
Apricot garden and maple garden
are famous in this shrine.
I hope to come back in the best season.
Above garden is free to walk
anytime you visit.
I met an old man who said he came
all the way to visit this shrine
to eat Mochi.
He told me it is so good.
Later, we found the sweet shop!
This shop is open only on the 25th
This mochi has been loved for 400 years.
When we go into the shop,
that old man came out smiling.
I selected matcha tea to have with mochi.
My parents selected Sencha tea.
The harmony of bitter green tea and
sweet anko (red bean paste) was
It made me very happy.