Wednesday, February 16, 2011


hagi21211 (2) The weather on Saturday was forecast to be awful and, it was.

Blustery, rain, snow. Still, we had more to see in Hagi. We had wanted to go by bicycle but the hotel staff convinced us that it was too windy.

So instead we borrowed two of their umbrellas...and went exploring.

The wind was so strong and then there was sleet, I'm sure the locals who saw us thought, "stupid tourists".

Have you ever seen someone walking in bad weather and their umbrella flips up the other way?? That was me. I swear it felt like we were in the middle of a typhoon or hurricane that day, it was THAT windy and rainy.

Our first stop was the Hagi castle ruins, which we looked at from a distance. We also peeped inside of the Hagi pottery museum which wasn't open yet.

hagi21211 (5) There is an area in Hagi with walls called kaimagari, they are built high on both sides to protect against enemy attacks and the corners are angled...neat!

hagi21211 (6) Inside of the Kubota residence there was a beautiful hina-ningyo (Girl's Day Doll) display.

In fact, a lot of these residences were showcasing their dolls.

At this point we were sopping wet and very cold. The volunteers in the Kubota residence kindly let us stand in front of their heaters (thank you!).

hagi21211 (7) We then popped next door to Seiseian to have some matcha with sweets...500 yen (about US$5)

We were still sopping wet but it was nice to get out of the sleet.

hagi21211 (10) After warming up a bit, we ran across the street to the Kikuya residence and looked at their dolls and interior.

The wooden decks around the house were quite interesting...the original deck is made of keyaki (zelkova) and are only meant for samurai and honored guests, so when lower classes were around, these decks were covered with sugi (cedar) boards.

hagi21211 (12) The area called Kikuya Lane, next to the Kikuya residence looks like you've slipped back into time.

Despite the blustery wind and sleet, we saw quite a bit and unfortunately ruined the two umbrellas we borrowed from the hotel (sorry!).

tsuwano21211 (2) After changing our socks and taking out some of the moisture from our shoes with some newspaper, we took a bus from Hagi to Tsuwano. It takes about 2 hours through the mountains and this was a slightly scary ride.

Everything was white and the roads a bit slick as we crawled along the roads.

At one point, the bus driver stopped to talk to another driver about the road conditions.

tsuwano21211 (4) I'm glad we made it safely. Tsuwano had had a lot of snow overnight and when we got there, it was still snowing off and on.

Since we couldn't check-in, we decided to look for lunch and stopped into Tsurube.

I had their curry udon & Satoshi had their sansai (mountain greens) udon with 2 musubi.

The udon surely hit the spot though our feet felt quite frozen.

tsuwano21211 Even after eating, we still had some time before check-in, so we decided to check out some of the sights.

The Tsuwano Christian church had no pews, just tatami mats. I didn't go inside because I didn't want to take off my shoes, especially since my socks were wet and feet were cold.

tsuwano21211 (6) As we walked about, many of the residents and shop owners were shoveling their store and home fronts and were chatting with each other.

One told us to check out the koi (carp) at the rice shop, Koi no Komeya.

The carp are located in their garden pond, just tell the owner you are there to see them. Boy, did they have a lot of carp!

tsuwano21211 (7) It was interesting to watch people shovel.

There are grates on the side of the road which they open up and push all the snow from their store/home fronts into.

The snow then runs into the waterway running underneath.

tsuwano21211 (8) Near our hotel was a sweet shop called Sanshodo Kashinan, there we picked up some sweets including Tsuwano's famous item, Genji maki, a sweet bean paste wrapped with a thin piece of cake...delicious.

IMG_0562 After warming up in the furo (bath), dinner was kaiseki-style and we had all sorts of dishes including this kasago (scorpionfish) which was simmered in shoyu, mirin and sake.

To tell you the truth, having a whole fish like this intimidates me, I don't know how to eat it "nicely" and tend to freak out with all the bones. But, I did my best to eat as much as I could, though I did give Satoshi a little of it to "clean-up".

Another long day and another long post. You can check out more photos on my Flickr Shimane set.

You can also see a really short video I took while riding the bus to Tsuwano.

1-27 Gofukumachi
Hagi, Yamaguchi
Phone: 0838.22.3929
Days off not set

384-1 Ushiroda
Tsuwano, Shimane
Phone: 0856.72.2098

Sanshodo (Kashinan)
197 Ushiroda
Tsuwano, Shimane
Phone: 0856.72.3225


Rowena... said...

I'm cool with snow, wind and little bit rain, but not sleet. Yikes! And I checked the bus ride...were you 2 the only passengers on there? Looks like it was an adventure to get to Tsuwano, but the food looks great!

jalna said...

I'm glad you two braved the weather so that we could enjoy the area with you. Too bad about the umbrellas . . . hahaha.

Anonymous said...

The two of you had quite an adventure! I always wonder if there is a way to keep your feet warm and dry in cold, wet weather. Plastic bags slipped over your socks before you put your shoes on, maybe? You could cinch them with twist ties, lol. Just kidding!

Take care and keep warm!

Stephanie @ The Travelling Tastebuds said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely stories Kat :) You really do make me homesick for Japan... I'd love to go back one day. Quick question... is there any way you can make your photos larger?

K said...

Oh man - looks like the weather was just not cooperating on your trip! Looks like the food was all great though :o)

K and S said...

At first there were 5 of us Rowena, then slowly one by one the others got off.

Jalna, I know those poor umbrellas!

I noticed that many locals had rubber boots on Anon, that would have probably been the best way to keep our feet warm and dry.

Click on each photo Stephanie and you can see them in the original size.

At least the food part was good K :)

Take care everyone.

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - Wow... sleet! You guys sure are troopers!

mariko said...

This is very nostalgic for me, as I have been to Hagi many times (my family is from Yamaguchi-ken, and my father was kind of a nut for hagi yaki). I haven't been for a long time, though. I'll have to go again! The weather was nice and warm when we went, and I remember running by the orange groves! Glad you survived the sleet.

K and S said...

We're crazy Kirk :)

I'm glad you visited when the weather was nicer Mariko :)

Take care you two.

Japan Australia said...

Sounds like some awful weather you guys had but you had a great adventure anyway, which is the main thing.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Wow--that was quite the adventure. You guys are very brave. It looks like you ate well too. ;-) Great pictures!

K and S said...

the weather was really bad J-A, but I'm glad we still had a nice time :)

Thanks Deb in Hawaii, eating well is important when the weather isn't cooperating ;)

Take care you two.