Saturday, November 01, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, we went to Sakai. At that time, we found out that there would be a special showing of various artifacts at different temples from October 31 to November 9.

Since Satoshi had the day off yesterday, we went back to Sakai to explore. We started from Takasu-jinja and worked our way down the suggested route on a pamphlet that Satoshi got the last time we were in Sakai.

This was the 2nd year for the special showing of various artifacts. Many of the people explaining the history were volunteers and they were very times I felt like I was in history class.

Apparently the highlight is on the 9th (the last day of the event). This is when you can view an actual sword maker demonstrate making a sword. Also, some temples were not going to open their doors until the last day.

I think one volunteer had said that there were about 1000 temples in Sakai, more than Kyoto. Many of them are not open to the public, but once a year during this event, they open their doors and let you view some of their treasured artifacts. One temple, Hongenin, had a nehanzu (a scroll of the Buddha at the time of his death). This scroll was over 300 years old and it was so well preserved that it looked new.

We also went to check out the Sakai knife museum. There are so many different types of knives to cut different types of fish, even to cut different types of sweets. We were amazed at all the different types.

We also went into a knife maker's shop, Mizuno Tanrenjo, his family's shop has been in business since 1872 and originally made swords. His grandfather made the decorative scythe atop the pagoda of Horyuji in Nara.

Lunch was at a small shop called Suzu, we had their omusoba (yakisoba (fried noodles) enveloped in an omlette) 550 yen (about US$5.50), and ikatama--this is like okonomiyaki except it is not as thick (300 yen about US$3). We liked the omusoba best. The ikatama was mostly cabbage not much squid.

We also tried several wagashi (Japanese confection)...From Tenjinmochi--mont blanc daifuku (chestnut paste and some whipped cream enveloped in a soft mochi (rice cake) 180 yen (about US$1.80) and bilella (a soft pie crust filled with white sweet bean paste) 130 yen (about US$1.30). Bilella was apparently associated with a missionary who lived in Sakai. And from Yaogenraikodo--nikki mochi (210 yen about US$2.10) Nikki is the Japanese word for cinnamon. Cinnamon mochi envelops sweet bean paste). This one reminded us of the confection in Kyoto called yatsuhashi. We also tried their keshi mochi (210 yen about US$2.10) This shop has been in business for a long time and the 6th generation is now in charge...Satoshi enjoyed the mont blanc daifuku and keshi mochi. I was glad to try all though none were my favorite.

The whole day was overcast and kind of cold. We did a lot of walking. I think it was a good thing we went on a weekend day too, we got to see most of what we had planned to see and with no crowd. All in all it was a good day.

1-1-27 Sakuranomachi-nishi
Sakai, Osaka
Phone: 072.229.3253
Call for days off

Sakai Hamono Museum
1-1-30 Zaimokunishi
Sakai, Osaka
Right in front of Hanadaguchi station
Free admission/Closed Tuesdays

3-1-1 Kurumanocho-higashi
Sakai, Osaka
Phone: 072.233.0987
Closed Mondays

2-1-11 Kurumanocho-higashi
Sakai, Osaka
Phone: 072.232.3835
Closed Sundays


Anonymous said...

Hi Kat - Thanks for always sharing your traveling advertures with us...I really enjoy them.


Tamakikat said...

Fabulous Kat.

Sakai is now listed TWICE on my places-to-go-to!

It makes me happy to know there are so many things here in Kansai to enjoy:)


K and S said...

Glad you enjoyed them Kirk :)

Hope you enjoy Sakai too, Tamakikat :)

Take care you two.

Phoebe said...

cinnamon and red bean paste? yum!! Looked like you had a lot of fun and no crowd is a bonus at times! =)

Deb in Hawaii said...

What an interesting day. Love the pictures--especially the top left one. (although he doesn't look very comfortable!) ;-)

K and S said...

Thanks Phoebe, I love no crowds, rare in Japan though :)

Thanks Deb, he was in front of the Honganji and is actually one of the "legs" of a very big heavy container...thought it was interesting :)

Take care you two.

mendicellis said...

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Anonymous said...

Knives to cut different types of that is interesting, and would explain how they get their cake slices to look so perfect and neat!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on being selected for the blogs of note! True for sure Japan would def. be an adventure and I've always wanted to visit but always been shy of it for some reason. These posts have sparked an interest in me though. So maybe soon. Thanks!

* internetstatic * said...

I recently discovered your blog and as a Japanophile I really love reading it. Hopefully someday I will visit Japan and see all the places you have mentioned here.

Blog On!

Anonymous said...

I was just reading about omusoba this week. Do you like that or omuraisu better? Both sound good to me! :)

Dave said...

That's a huge freakin' knife!

That trip seemed like alot of fun, I must take lots of pictures if I ever go to Japan.

I had no idea Japanese used cinnamon for Mochi.

K and S said...

Thanks Mendicellis, I'll check it out.

They even had different knives for different fishes, Rowena, amazing stuff!

I hope you come to Japan soon, QuirkySF and Internetstatic.

Since I like noodles, I like omusoba better Lori. Sometimes omurice has too much ketchup in it. :p

Thanks Dave, I hope you get a chance to visit Japan soon :)

Take care everyone.