Akiu is located in the western part of Sendai City. It takes about thirty minutes by bus from Sendai Station. Akiu is a famous hot spring resort area surrounded by lush mountains. Akiu Winery was established in 2015. In February, i-SENDAI staff joined a tour to learn about the food industry after the Great East Japan Earthquake. In the first leg of the tour we visited Akiu Winery. In today’s blog we’d like to introduce you to the Akiu Winery Tour.
This time, we would like to introduce a walking course around the Natori Yuriage area, where it is recovering from the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Natori city is adjacent to Sendai and is very convenient to access. Natori Yuriage is a town with a fishing port and was severely damaged by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. In this walking course, let’s enjoy a plenty of seafood and shopping while observing the state of reconstruction in Yuriage area.
① Natori City Earthquake Memorial Park In May 2019, the “Natorishi Shinsai Memorial Park” was constructed around Mt. Hiwa, a landmark of this area, as a place where people gather, relax and pass on the memories and lessons learned from the earthquake to the future. The park is composed of areas for requiescats, folklore, and relaxation. A good news for “Poké Lids” fans. There is a Poké Manhole Cover with a very cute design near this park. Please find it! Access: Take the Natorin Bus from JR Natori Station on the Yuriage Line or the Eastern Yuriage Loop Line, get off at the “Earthquake Memorial Park” bus stop. Location：5-1 Yuriage, Natori City
① 名取市震災メモリアル公園 「名取市震災メモリアル公園」は、震災の記憶と教訓を未来に語り継ぎ、人々が集い憩える空間として、この地域のランドマークである日和山を中心に2019年５月に整備されました。鎮魂と伝承、憩いを図るエリアで構成されています。 『ポケふた』ファンに朗報です。実はこの公園の近くにありますよ。とてもキュートな絵柄なので、ぜひ見つけてみてください。 アクセス：JR名取駅にてバスなとりん号閖上線または東部閖上循環線乗車、「震災メモリアル公園」バス停下車すぐ 場所：名取市閖上５丁目１
② café malta It is a café restaurant where you can enjoy seafood such as Yuriage’s specialty Shirasu (whitebait). The recommended menu is Kamaage Shirasu plate (boiled whitebait plate), on which additional whitebait is free of charge! Unless you say “Stop!”, the waiter will put more and more shirasu on the plate! The interior is bright and fashionable, so why not enjoy delicious and hearty food while feeling like you are on the sea? Acccess: right next to the Earthquake Memorial Park, about a 2-minute walk Location: 3-1-8 Yuriage Higashi, Natori City Open: 10:00am-5:00pm close：Wednesday
② café malta 閖上名物しらすを始めとしたシーフードが楽しめるカフェレストランです。おすすめメニューは釜揚げしらすプレートで、なんと追いしらすは無料！「ストップ！」と言わないかぎり、店員さんがどんどん追いしらすをプレートにいれていきます！店内も明るくおしゃれですので、海に居るような気分を味わいながら、美味しくてボリュームもたっぷりしらす料理を堪能してみてはいかがですか？ アクセス：名取市震災メモリアル公園のすぐとなり、徒歩約2分 場所：名取市閖上東3－1－8 営業時間：午前10:00−午後5:00 定休日：水曜
③ Natori City Earthquake Reconstruction Museum Natori City Earthquake Reconstruction Museum exhibits disaster prevention information such as memories of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the progress of reconstruction toward the future, and disaster preparedness. You can observe Yuriage both before the earthquake and now, reborn and changing, and you can learn about the earthquake and disaster prevention, and a simple hands-on experience of disaster prevention is also prepared. There is also a storyteller guide course for the disaster area (reservation required). The storytellers of the residents of the Yuriage area will guide a bus tour and give explanations while traveling around the disaster area. Using materials and photographs of Yuriage before and after the earthquake, their experiences are told in an easy-to-understand manner. Access: Take the Natorin Bus from JR Natori Station on the Yuriage Line or the Eastern Yuriage Loop Line, get off at the “Earthquake Memorial Park” bus stop, and about a 10-minute walk.. Location: 2-66 Yuriage, Natori City Open: April-November 9:30am -4:30pm, December-March 10:00am – 4:00pm close: Tuesday Admission: Free
⑤ Kawamachi Terrace Yuriage Opened in April 2019. There are a lot of shops selling delicious food, sweets, souvenirs, etc. When the weather is nice, the wind blowing from the Natori River feels good and you won’t want to go home. Access: About 7-min walk from Natori City Earthquake Reconstruction Museum Location: 1-E-65-1 Yuriage East
⑥ Yuriage Harbor Morning Market Yuriage Morning Market was devastated by the tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Approximately two years after the earthquake, it resumed operations at the same location and is bustling as a symbol of the city. It is recommended that you experience this atmosphere with the lively “auction”, which is a specialty of Yuriage Morning Market, which anyone can participate in from 10 am on Sundays and public holidays. You can eat the seafood you bought at the morning market by grilling it hot at the adjacent robatayaki barbecue corner. Access: Take the Natorin Bus from JR Natori Station on the Yuriage Line or the Eastern Yuriage Loop Line, get off at the “Earthquake Memorial Park” bus stop, about a 3-minute walk. Location: 3-5-1 Yuriage Higashi, Natori City Open: Sunday/Holiday only, 6:00 am – 1:00 pm
In the freezing middle of February, before the We, i-SENDAI staff joined a monitor tour, visiting a winery in Akiu, which started the business after the Great East Japan Earthquake and a sake brewery in Yuriage, which had a devastating damage and overcame the disaster. Staff M, a sake lover wrote a blog about Sasaki Sake Brewery, which has brewed sake for over 100 years. We visited them under a COVID-19 catastrophe, so we listened to a presentation with other tour members in a spacious meeting room in Sasaki Sake Brewery.
Sasaki Sake Brewery was founded in 1871. They started the business in Yuriage, which is one of three big fishery ports in Miyagi, as well as Kesennuma and Shiogama. Since then, they have handed over their brewery from generation to generation. Their main sake brand is “Hosen Nami-no-oto” (A treasure boat-a sound of wave). The brewery guide, Hiroshi Sasaki, a senior managing director, is the fifth generation, born and raised in Natori city.
Ten years ago from now, on March 11th , 2011, the whole Tohoku area was hit by a gigantic earthquake with a magnitude 9. Soon after the big quake, a big scaled tsunami gave huge damages in the Yuriage area as the same as other Pacific coastal areas. There used to be about 2000 houses, but all of them were destroyed and there wasn’t any trace of the town. When the earthquake happened, Sasaki rushed to the brewery looking at the big tsunami. And he found the whole town was flooded like an ocean. In the storm and snow falling over the night, he was worried about his hometown and the brewery, both of them had a devastating damage. “I had no idea of leaving Yuriage and giving up my sake brewing. Our sake brand is ‘Nami-no-oto, the sound of the wave’ so I couldn’t think of moving from a coast for a sake brewery. Like my sake name, I want to brew my sake near the sea, I want to rebuild Yuriage. If I could do it, ‘Nami-no-oto’ and Yuriage would be worth enough to pass down for years to come.”, Sasaki said.
Miraculously, one sake tank survived. Sasaki began a step to the turnaround, borrowing a facility of “Moritami Shuzou Honke”, a sake brewery in Sendai city and made a new sake named “Yuri”. After that, when a temporary market opened on February 4th, 2012, Sasaki Sake brewery stood up with other tsunami-damaged shops. First, they resumed as a liquor retailer. And when they thought about rebuilding their brewery, there were many complications such as brewing sake in the building like a storage. Sasaki was encouraged by support from connoisseurs and sake breweries all over Japan.
In the temporary brewery with many people’s feelings, Sasaki and his staff discussed every day to make a good quality’s sake. At last, their sake won an award at Tohoku Seishu Kanpyokai, which is known as one of the most difficult awards to get. After getting appreciation, they thought specifically about the reconstruction of “Sasaki Sake Brewery”. They took a year to rebuild their shop and brewery buildings and finally, eight years and a half later after the disaster, they could return to the place where they found on “Sake Day”, October 1st, 2019.
Their new brewery is a modern facility with a good sanitary and temperature control. Now they work hard with new staff members having many careers. At their recovery work, Sasaki thought, “I can do anything if I’m alive.” From now on, he wants to plan many events with partners and associates that would like to create Yuriage’s culinary culture and send a message of a new charm of Yuriage from Sasaki Sake Brewery, by linking stories of sake, history and reconstruction, Sasaki told.
“I’ll set a mood for the local food culture with the local partners.”, with such an idea, Sasaki Sake Brewery joins a making brewery tourism activity,“Tohoku Terroage”, which is a tour of Akiu, Sakunami and Yuriage, each site are known as a winery, a distillery and a brewery. “Terroage” is a coined word of “terroir” and “marriage”. “Terroir” means a land and climate in French and “marriage” means food and drink pairing; it is also a French word. In Tohoku, a tour enjoying the local food and sake which took a root is recommended.
*How to get: Get on Tohoku Line or Joban Line or Sendai Airport Access Line from Sendai station. Get off at Natori station (about 15 min. ride, 240 yen) Change to the city bus “Natorin-go” and get off the bus at “Yuriage chou daini danchi nishi” or “Yuriage chou daini danchi minami”. About 5-minute walk from the bus stop.
Tome City is located in the northern part of Miyagi Prefecture, 70 kilometers north of Sendai City. It has long been known as a famous rice producing area. Toyomamachi, located in Tome City, was a castle town of the branch domain of Date family and the boat transportation made it prosper as a center of politics, economy, and culture. There are samurai residences and kurazukuri (brewery) shops in the townscape of the old time, and the Western-style architecture of the time when the prefectural office was located during the Meiji era remains as it was. It is said that this area in Tome City will be a filming location of NHK’s serial TV drama. We introduce some attractive spots where you can experience the history and culture of Toyomamachi and the temples nearby. 登米市は宮城県の北部、仙台市から北へ70キロメートルの位置にあります。古くから米の名産地として知られています。登米市にある登米町（とよままち）は伊達支藩の城下町で、舟運により政治・経済・文化の中心として栄えた地区でした。そのころの町並みの中に武家屋敷や蔵造り商店があり、明治の一時期、県庁が置かれていた当時の洋風建築もそのまま残っています。登米市が舞台となるNHKの連続テレビでもこの辺りがロケ地として使われるそうです。今回は登米町の歴史や文化を体感できる魅力的なスポットをいくつかとその近くにあるお寺を紹介します。
Access: Sendai Station, West Exit, Bus Stop No. 31 (in front of the former Sakurano Department Store), take the highway bus bound for “Toyoma Sogo Shisho”, and get off at “Toyoma Meiji Mura”. Ride time: approx. 1 hour and 40 minutes. We recommend the “6 facilities common admission ticket”. It is a convenient and advantageous ticket that includes 6 tourist attractions in the town. アクセス：仙台駅西口（旧さくらの百貨店前）31番乗り場、高速バス「とよま総合支所行」乗車、約1時間40分。「とよま明治村」下車すぐ 「6施設共通観覧券」をお勧めします。町内にある6つの観光名所が含まれ、おトクで便利な券です。
① Education Museum / 教育資料館 Nationally designated important cultural property building. Elementary school in the middle of the Meiji era. It is a solid wooden structure with a U-shape and an outer corridor. The old-fashioned desk, classroom with a stool organ, window glass, balconies, corridors have a Meiji atmosphere, and the “bearded” principal may appear. Bring everyone back to their childhood. 国指定重要文化財建造物。 明治中期の小学校。純木造、コの字型で外廊下を持つ構造です。昔のままの机・腰掛オルガンの教室、教室窓のガラス、バルコニー・廊下の欄干は明治の雰囲気があふれ、さらにひげの校長先生が現れることもあります。みんなを童心に引き戻します。
② Mizusawa Prefectural Office Memorial / 水沢県庁記念館 City designated cultural property building. Prefectural office in the early Meiji era. It was later used as an elementary school building and court. The office and waiting room of the prefectural office and the courtroom are recreated. 市指定文化財建造物。 明治初期の県庁舎。後に小学校校舎・裁判所としても使用され、現在、県庁時代の事務室・待合室・裁判所法廷を再現しています。
③ Shunrantei samurai house/ 春蘭亭 Shunrantei is a samurai house of over 400 years ago. 武家屋敷「春蘭亭」は、400年以上前の武家屋敷です。
④ Tome Nostalgia Museum / 登米懐古館 The Tome Nostalgia Museum was relocated to a corner of Bukeyashiki Street in September 2019. Many materials that convey samurai culture, such as armor and swords, are on display. 登米懐古館は、令和元年9月に武家屋敷通りの一角へ移転しました。武具や刀剣など武家文化を伝える資料を数多く展示しています。
⑤ History Cosplay festival / れきこす Miyagi Meiji Mura seems to be aiming for a sacred place for cosplayers, and “Rekikosu” is held twice a year as a cosplayer festival, and it is an event where you can cosplay and walk around the streets of the classical village of Miyagi Meiji Mura. If you have the chance, you can join in and experience the extraordinary atmosphere. みやぎ明治村はコスプレーヤーの聖地を目指しているようで、毎年２回コスプレーヤー祭として「れきこす」が行われ、レトロ・クラシカルなみやぎの明治村の街中をコスプレして歩けるイベントとなっています。機会があれば、参加してみて、非日常的な雰囲気を味わう事ができます。
⑥ Police Museum / 警察資料館 A cultural property designated by Miyagi Prefecture. It is extremely rare for an office building in the Meiji era, and is currently open to the public as Japan’s only “Police Museum” displaying police-related materials. The detention center of the Meiji era is also reproduced as it was. 宮城県指定文化財。 明治の事務所建築としては極めて珍しいもので、現在警察関係資料を展示した日本唯一の「警察資料館」として一般に公開されています。明治の留置場もそのまま再現されています。
⑦ Ebiki storehouse museum / 海老喜（えびき） 蔵の資料館 Founded in 1833, Ebiki prospered as a brewery of miso, soy sauce, and sake, and has been brewing only miso and soy sauce since the end of the Meiji era. Eight breweries built from the end of the Edo period to the Taisho era are preserved on the premises, and the sake brewery is open to the public as a museum. The candy Makoron made from miso and soy sauce here is crispy and very flavorful. Recommended as a local souvenir. 1833年に創業した海老喜は、味噌・醤油・酒の醸造店として栄えたのち、明治時代末期以降は味噌と醤油のみを醸造しています。敷地内には江戸時代末期から大正時代に建てられた8棟の蔵が保存され、そのうちの酒蔵を資料館として公開しています。ここの味噌・醤油を使用して作られている駄菓子まころんはサクサクでとても風味豊かです。地域のお土産としてお勧めします。
⑧ Miuraya Ryori-ryokan (restaurant-inn) / 料理旅館三浦屋 We recommend restaurant-inn Miuraya in Tome City. It is an accommodation proud of its dishes. You can enjoy authentic Kaiseki cuisine (traditional multi-course banquet with local and seasonal foods) prepared by the master who trained in Gion, Kyoto. The room with a calm atmosphere can be reserved. お時間があれば、登米市にある料理旅館三浦屋をお勧めします。 京都祇園で修行を積んだ主人が作る本格会席料理が味わえる、料理自慢の宿です。地元の食材をはじめ、厳選した旬の素材を生かし、手間ひまかけた料理には癒されます。 事前に予約すると、落ち着いた雰囲気のお座敷で会席料理をじっくり堪能することもできます。 HP: http://www.e-miuraya.com/
⑨ Yanaizu Kokuzoson Bodhisattva statue near Miyagi Meiji Mura /「みやぎの明治村」に近くある柳津虚空蔵尊 Approx. 14 minutes by taxi from Miyagi Meiji Mura to Yanaizu Kokuzoson. Yanaizu Kokuzoson is one of the three major Kokuzoson Bodhisattva statues in Japan. It is said that a famous monk Gyoki carved it here when he travelled through the eastern part of Japan in 726. As a temple of the sacred mountain of Oshu, it is worshiped by many people. There are “Seven Mysteries” in the temple grounds, so please find them. 「みやぎ明治村」からタクシーでおよそ14分、登米市津山町へ移動します。 柳津虚空蔵尊は日本三大虚空蔵尊のひとつです。 726年に行基が東国巡遊した際に、この地で刻んだと伝えられています。奥州届指の霊山・霊場の祈願寺として、数多くの人々の信仰を集めています。お寺の境内には「七不思議」がありますので、ぜひ見つけてください。
Tour in Naiwan area, Kesennuma～「3・11に学ぶツアー」気仙沼・内湾地区編
There are two breweries in Kesennuma city. We had a chance to join a sake brewery tour in “Otokoyama-honten”, which is one of two breweries. Their remarkable office and shop building faces in the Kesennuma port, what they called “Naiwan” area, and it is also designated as the national registered tangible cultural property. They started a sake brewing business in 1912. Since then, their sake has been loved by not only Kesennuma residents, but also many sake lovers in Miyagi. Actually, I visited here three times, and I remember the first visit in 2014. Kesennuma is the place with one of serious damages by the tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Otokoyama-honten is no exception, the cultural property building crashed, and as of 2014, it was still under restoration.
We went up to the sake brewing place first, about five minute-away from the office building. Then we listened to the brewery’s outline from Mr. Sugawara who is the brewery’s president, in a cozy old Japanese folk house building. It is also a national property and renovated in 2018. Mr. Sugawara talked about the disaster, “There is more than a 10-meter difference of elevation, the waves didn’t reach the brewery, a heart of sake making. But the bottling building in front of the brewery had 50 cm flood, so we had to change all machines in the building.” They restarted sake brewing such as a thermal management from the next day, March 12, 2011. The voice of Kesennuma people boosted the brewery staff’s motivation, such as “Don’t leave and lay what you made!” or “Be a pioneer of the reconstruction.”
We had a brief sake-making lecture here, about rice-polishing. Otokoyama-honten uses Miyagi’s rice lot for brewing. Mainly, they use “Kura-no-hana”, sake rice developed in Miyagi and “Hitomebore”, also Miyagi rice that we eat daily. Kurano-hana sake is clean and crisp, he told. To make sake, the husk of rice and outside of the rice should be removed to have clear sake taste.
Into the brewery building, the air was cold enough. Kesennuma’s cold climate is good for sake-brewing, Mr. Sugawara told. We saw a fermenting process here, climbing steep steps. Based on the yeast starter, steamed rice, koji mold cultivated from rice and ground water, are added three times, the mixture becomes “mash” in about a month. We saw the mash under fermenting in the huge tank. And we could hear a slight sound of bubbling.
＊Yeast starter: Made from steamed rice, ground water rice mold and yeast. Base of sake making.
After the tour, we went back the shop building and tasted some of their sake. There are three main brands in Otokoyama-honten, now. Their oldest brand since their start, “Otokoyama”, good pair with Kesennuma’s seafood, “Soutenden” (Legend of blue sky and sea) and the brewery’s new challenge, “Biroku” (blessing). Their sake taste is dry mainly and matches with Kesennuma’s fish dishes, such as saury, sword fish and shark meat.
We left the brewery, moved to a dinner place looking at an early time illumination in Naiwan. An authentic Japanese kaiseki restaurant, “Kanae Saikichi” stands on a hill overlooking the port. Originally, they started as seafood product business, “Saikichi Shoten” in 1912. The restaurant is opened in 2017, an old folk house renovated. Their primary product is saury fish boiled in soy, what they called “Kin-no-sanma”. A saury fish is one of Kesennuma’s big catches. And the disaster in 2011 gave a big damage to their factory. Fortunately, their family-secret fish sauce was safe. They can serve “Kin-no-sanma” to the market again. And now, they offer Kesennuma’s local culinary culture with an elaborating technique and local products.
We enjoyed dinner and listened to stories of Kesennuma food culture and other interesting talks from people who know about their hometown well. There are many attractions backed by rich natural resources and a pride as the fisherman’s town, -we realized again and went to the hotel in the illumination.
Learning Tour about the Great East Japan Earthquake in Karakuwa Peninsula, Kesennuma～「3・11に学ぶツアー」唐桑半島編
We, staff members of iSENDAI, joined a learning tour about the Great East Japan Earthquake organized by a travel agency,Tabimusubi, at the end of January. We visited a lot of spots used in some movies and TV dramas in Kesennuma City and Tome City. Kesennuma is located in the northeastern part of Miyagi Prefecture. It takes three hours by bus from Sendai City. Kesennuma is an area which features an intricate and fascinating rias coastline facing the Pacific Ocean, in addition to lush mountains. In the first leg of the tour, we visited Karakuwa peninsula. In today’s blog we’d like to introduce the attractions found in Karakuwa.
《Contents/目次》 ①Oyster Farm Tour in Karakuwa /唐桑で牡蠣養殖場見学 ②What is Karakuwa-goten Tsunakan? / 「唐桑御殿つなかん」とは？
①Oyster Farm Tour in Karakuwa /唐桑で牡蠣養殖場見学
To start, we visited an oyster aquaculture farm on Karakuwa Peninsula. Karakuwa is one of the most famous places in Japan for oyster farming. Two oyster farmers were waiting for us when we arrived. One of them is a boat’s master, Masaya Hatakeyama (nicknamed Yakkun). The day was quite cold, but we got on his boat, ”Kaiho-Maru (The Sea Treasure)” and headed offshore.
He told us the secret to Karakuwa oysters’ delicious flavor. 唐桑の牡蠣の美味しさの秘密を教えていただきました。
Karakuwa is the closest port city to the offshore area where the warm Kuroshio current meets the cold Oyashio current. The meeting of these currents creates optimal conditions for cultivating oysters. There is a lot of phytoplankton for the oysters to eat in the sea around Karakuwa, Sanriku. On top of that, the waves are calm and there are lot of inner bays in this area. The snow that falls on the mountains around Karakuwa melts and carries nutrients to the sea.
How to raise oysters? One of the most impressive statements made by the oyster farmer was “oyster farming is something like child rearing”. When oysters are small, they should be raised carefully in the inner bay, and then when they get older, they should be moved further offshore to area with stronger currents in order to get good nutrients.
Oysters from Karakuwa are really large. One of the reasons is the hot-water immersion treatment. Surprisingly, these oysters take baths. After they have grown past a certain degree, they are briefly soaked in 70-degree Celsius hot water for 5 to 10 seconds. This causes the oysters to be shocked by the heat, which makes the shells widen and stretch sideways. Also, due to this hot-water immersion treatment, seaweed or other detritus is removed from the shell.
He served us fresh oysters straight from the water. The oysters were really large! We could enjoy really sweet fresh oysters! やっくんに取れたての牡蠣をごちそうしていただきました。大きくて、あまーいぶりぷりの牡蠣に大感動でした！
Two oyster farmers taught us a lot about oysters. おふたりともとても親切に教えてくださいました。ありがとうございました！
②What is Karakuwa-goten Tsunakan? / 「唐桑御殿つなかん」とは？
We visited Karakuwa-goten Tsunakan for lunch a few minutes from the harbor 牡蠣の養殖場からほど近い「唐桑御殿つなかん」にお昼を食べにお伺いしました。
“Karakuwa Goten (Karakuwa Palace)” is a large Japanese style house, evocative of the area’s unique architecture. It is said that fishermen in the area build large, strong houses to protect their family since they must be away for long periods of time to fish. These houses are characterized by gabled, hipped roofs on top and a grand Kamidana (a household Shinto altar) in the house for safe navigation and big catches.
When the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami occurred, Karakuwa-Goten had severe damage, but the basement and pillars were strong and survived. The cracks and holes in the house were covered with tarps and the house was offered as accommodation to over 1,000 people from all around Japan who came to engage in volunteer activities in this area. After that, the house was renovated and opened as an inn in 2012. Since tsunami damage causes rust, it is difficult for carpenters to renovate houses which have been hit by tsunami. There are only a few such houses that have been renovated, including the Tunakan.
Our lunch set was full of fresh seafood!!! Cod wrapped in aluminum foil and baked with liver and soft roe, oyster hot pot, fried oysters, sashimi (young bluefin tuna and whelk), stewed octopus, and stewed tuna tail meat. The oysters were harvested by the oyster farmer, Yakkun. All of the food was fresh and tasty.
The landlady, Ichiyo Kanno gave us a warm welcome. Her smile was really nice. She had a lot of difficulties through the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, but she overcame these hardships. She has a strong will and never gave up. However, she lost her family due to a maritime accident three years ago. She said that the loss was harder than the damage she suffered by the disaster. Now she must move forward. She cherishes the bonds and relationships she has with other people. She said, “it’s important to make use of what we have now and take advantage of our local community.” I was really moved by her words.
What is this? It’s a Finnish mobile sauna trailer! You can enjoy sauna in the trailer anywhere. Firewood is used as the fuel. Ichiyo-san told us her dream. Now many guests visit there to meet her, but in the future, she would like to provide a bigger sauna facility for everyone to come to enjoy sauna so that both their minds and bodies can be revitalized and refreshed. Ichiyo-san is a woman who makes good on her promises. I’m looking forward to her dreams coming true.
There is a tree house called Tsuna-maru behind the Tsunakan Inn. The cylinder-shaped house is attached to a cherry tree. This is my first time to see a tree house. I went up the ladder carefully and entered the house and I was surprised by the fascinating space that allowed me to feel like a child.
After finishing lunch, we left the inn. Ichiyo-san and the other staff waved flags to see us off. Tairyo-bata are fishing boat flags. Fishermen wave them to signify a good catch from theirs boats and when they go out fishing, family members also wave them with prayers for safety and a good catch. The flags are also a symbol of revitalization from the earthquake and tsunami. I was really moved to see them waving the flags. Karakuwa-Goten Tsunakan is a place where I want to return to sometime.
＜Karakuwa-Goten Tsunakan／唐桑御殿つなかん＞ http://moriyasuisan.com/ ◆Location:81, Shibitachi, Karakuwa-cho ,Kesennuma-shi, Miyagi-ken (if you use car GPS system and enter “Asahi Store’s phone number 0226-32-3103”, you can arrive at Shibitachi Bay) ◆Tel: 0226-32-2264 ◆Map: https://goo.gl/maps/KpTx5Q8ehangkLLW9 ◆Access: 40 minutes by car from JR Kesennuma Station ◆Lunch: Reservation required
◆住所: 宮城県気仙沼市唐桑町鮪立81 （カーナビ利用の場合、この住所に設定すると行き止まりにたどり着いてしまうそうです。「あさひ商店」（気仙沼市鮪立188-2）を設定すると、鮪立湾に到着するとのこと） ◆電話: 0226-32-2264 ◆マップ: https://goo.gl/maps/KpTx5Q8ehangkLLW9 ◆アクセス: JR「気仙沼駅」から車で40分 ◆ランチ：要予約 In closing/終わりに Karakuwa is a wonderful place. You can enjoy beautiful scenic spots such as Oraishi, Tsunami-ishi, the Camellia-Tunnel (February～April) and much more. There are also trekking courses, such as the Michinoku Coastal Trail and Miyagi Orure in Karakuwa Peninsula. Why don’t you pay a visit to this area where you can enjoy beautiful nature, a great variety of seafood, and the charming local people?
There is a daruma doll sitting on a Shinto altar in my house. He looks over the house with his big eyes. His color is not red, a typical daruma doll, but has a deep blue face. I have wondered why my daruma is not red, a familiar color as a daruma seen on TV or picture books. Then I found my house daruma is called “Matsukawa daruma”, moreover a kind of a traditional art craft in Sendai, “Sendai Hariko” (paper doll), which is designated by Miyagi prefectural governor. In this episode, I will write about “Sendai Hariko” through a short study trip.
First, I will explain about “daruma” doll. Daruma was an existing Buddhist priest missionized from India to China. He kept Zen sitting for nine years, facing on the wall. Daruma doll is an ornament depicted as “Daruma Daishi (honorable priest)” Moreover, a roly-poly doll has been passed on in Japan from foreign countries since ancient times. In later eras, on roly-poly toys, pasting paper on a cray or a bamboo mold, Daruma figures were depicted. Roly-poly toys fall and rise many times, and Daruma kept sitting for a long time. Two spiritualities were linked together in people, lead to an idea, “Never give up.” and daruma dolls were established as auspicious ornaments. Red daruma without eyes are sold because an eye disease was prevalent at that time, many people bought red daruma dolls with big eyes. Red color was believed a protection from harms. Soon, people wanted to draw eyes on daruma dolls by themselves. Nowadays, red daruma without eyes are popular in Japan.
Now, our Sendai’s “Matsukawa Daruma” has a blue face. I studied about it, and found a name “Sendai Hariko”. I need to ask about the daruma doll visiting a studio making “Matsukawa daruma” for generations,” Hongo Daruma-ya”.
“Sendai Hariko” means mainly “Matsukawa Daruma”, started by Matsukawa Toyonoshin, one of the retainers of the Date domain during the 19th century. The beginner of Hongo’s studio,Mr. Hongo became an apprentice with Mr. Matsukawa and took over his skill of making, continues to this day. The doll’s indigo blue represents a sky and ocean. Other Darumas in Japan have no eyes though, the Matsukawa Daruma has already big eyes. It is said that be thoughtful of one-eyed lord, Date Masamune. Also, the blue used to be a distingue hospitality color and loved by samurai at that time. The doll has gold leaf sprinkled and plum flowers on its red back, which is the daruma’s original color. On its bottom, an auspicious treasure boat or the God of Good fortune are depicted. The entire figure is thinner than other daruma dolls. “Matsukawa Daruma” looks very gorgeous, reminds us of the Lord Date Masamune, known as a dandy man.
When I visited the studio in December, the studio master was painting white darumas by red, a base color. There are many people who buy a lucky charm, daruma in the end of a year, the busiest time. I was humbled to listen to the master’s wife about the doll. Only Hongo family took over the mold of Matsukawa Daruma by Matsukawa Toyonoshin. The doll’s decoration, such as treasure boats and Lucky Gods are made of small parts, and making processes are all hand-made, that pasting washi (Japanese paper) on the mold which was taken over from Mr. Matsukawa. It is a very elaborated handmade work. Drawing eyes on the daruma is a role of only the master for generations. “Even when we are busy and the time goes by, we can’t change our tradition. We are sorry for our ancestors.” It was impressive that the master’s wife repeated.
There are other masks and small dolls in “Sendai Hariko”. From their wooden molds take over in Hongo family for generations continues to this day, local toys such as, “Tawara Ushi (Ox carrying rice bales)”, Black horse and Tiger, Sparrow as a part of Date Clan’s crest, Black mask as an amulet, Fukusuke doll as a lucky charm for family happiness. The year of 2021’s zodiac is “Ox”. There is an original Tawara Ushi doll, with a modern styled chubby ox doll. The process of making the daruma takes a whole a year. Between the process, they make other paper dolls in spring, they said. “Two year later (in 2022) is the Tiger year, so I need to collect the ingredients for the dolls from now on.”, the master’s wife said when I visited last year. “Getting ingredients are so hard because people making the parts get fewer.”
Putting darumas in our house means not only for praying for luck but also for warding off bad spirits. We are still in the Covid-19 catastrophe. For the daruma getting up many times from difficulties, may people in the world stay healthy. Wishing for the daruma, I bought a 12 cm daruma with a dandy man, I left the studio.
It’s been really cold this winter. Today we’d like to introduce you to one of Sendai’s local winter delicacies, “Sendai seri hot pot”.
《Contents/目次》 ①What is “Sendai Seri Hot Pot”?「仙台せり鍋」ってなに？ ②Sendai and Miyagi’s Connection to Seri 仙台・宮城と「せり」のつながりは？ ③“Seri Shabu” Experience in Inaho 有名店「いな穂」で「せりしゃぶ」体験 ④Restaurants Where You Can Enjoy “Seri Nabe” 「せり鍋」を楽しめるお店
①What is “Sendai Seri Hot Pot”? 「仙台せり」鍋ってなに？
“Sendai Seri Hot Pot” is a new staple during the winter season in Miyagi. Seri is a Japanese vegetable like parsley or cilantro. This hot pot allows you to enjoy the crunchy texture of seri with other vegetables and chicken or duck in a soy sauce-based soup. Seri hot pot is characterized by the fact that you can eat all the parts of seri, including the roots. Sendai seri hot pot is rather ecofriendly, isn’t it?
②Sendai and Miyagi ’s Connection to Seri 仙台・宮城と「せり」のつながりは？
In fact, Miyagi is the largest producer of seri in Japan. Natori City, located in southern Miyagi Prefecture, accounts for 50~60% of Miyagi’s seri production. Thanks to the constant temperature of the spring water in Natori City, the area is well-suited for the production.
From a historical viewpoint, seri is a vegetable native to Japan and appeared even in stories and waka poems written in the 9th～11th century . Records show that seri was harvested in Miyagi in 1620, with full-scale seri farming starting in the 17th century . Date Masamune, a feudal lord of Sendai Clan, was a bit of a gourmand who put consideration into the food served to him and his guests. It is said that seri was used in the dishes that he chose.
③“Seri Shabu” Experience in Inaho 有名店「いな穂」で「せりしゃぶ」体験
I visited Inaho, a famous izakaya known for “seri shabu”. Here, seri hot pot is referred to as “seri shabu”. They use seri produced without agricultural chemicals at the Maeda Farm in Natori City. When we ordered, the owner, Mr. Ito served us a heap of seri and a pot with some slices of duck meat in soy sauce-based soup. He taught us how to cook properlyseri shabu.
The key to enjoying seri shabu is the boiling time. The seri is cut into the roots, stems, and leaves. You just boil the roots for 10 seconds, whereas the stems and leaves should be boiled for only 2～3 seconds in the soup. You can enjoy the textures of each part of the plant. Compared to the seri I usually buy at supermarkets and cook at home, it was less bitter. The crunchy texture is addictive!
After finishing most of the hot pot, we Japanese usually enjoy putting rice or noodles in the remaining soup. We call it ”shime”. At Inaho, you can choose from rice, udon, rice cake, or even ramen. For ramen, they order the noodles from Dashiro, Sendai’s famous ramen restaurants. If you order seri shabu for over two people, you can choose two items. We chose ramen and rice. The noodles went well with the soup and were really good. Next was the rice. The point is to put rice in the soup and wait for some time until it gets boiling. After that, add beaten eggs and the rest of the seri, turn off the heat, put the lid on the pot and wait for 40 seconds. You will be able to enjoy delicious rice porridge. This was my first time to visit Inaho and I was really satisfied with the seri shabu.
④Restaurants you can enjoy “Seri Nabe” 「せり鍋」を楽しめるお店をご紹介
＜Izakaya Wabisuke／居酒屋 侘び助＞ http://wabisuke.style.coocan.jp/ ◆Location: 6-16, Tachimachi, Aoba Ku, Sendai Shi ◆Tel: 022-217-8455 ◆Map: https://goo.gl/maps/425JoCcMYopBoCFK6 ◆Access: 4 minutes’ walk from Omachi Nishi-koen Station on Sendai Subway Tozai Line 10 minutes’ walk from on Kotodai-koen Station on Sendai Subway Nanboku Line ◆Hours: Monday～Friday 5:00pm～11:00pm,Saturday 5:00pm～10:00am ◆Holidays: Sundays
If you have an opportunity to come to Sendai, Miyagi, by all means, give Sendai seri hot pot a try. Seri is a nutritious and healthy vegetable that contains a lot of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Our local delicacy, Sendai seri hot pot, will provide you with nutrition and warm you to the core so that you’ll be able to get through the cold winter!
With the popularity of Goshuin tours and power spots visiting, “Hand-copying sutra” is in the spotlight. This time, I would like to introduce “Hand-copying sutra”. 御朱印巡りやパワースポット人気と共に、今「写経」が静かなブームになっています。今回は、「写経」について紹介します。
■What is “Hand-copying sutra”? “Hand-copying sutra” is called “Shakyo” in Japanese. It uses a brush to copy the sutras.
■Meaning and purpose of “Hand-copying sutra” It is said that “Hand-copying sutra” was actively practiced as a way of training by Buddhist monks. Today, “Hand-copying sutra” is being practiced not only for the purposes of training but also for prayers and memorial services, in which the precious teachings of Buddha are copied onto paper as well as reflected into our own hearts.
■Contents of “Hand-copying sutra” The current “Hand-copying sutra” is often copied from the sutra called “Hannya Shingyo”. This is because the number of characters included in this sutra is as small as about 300 and it can be completed in a short time, so even beginners can easily work on it.
■Where you can practice “Hand-copying sutra” Some people may feel that it is difficult to practice “Hand-copying sutra” in temples, but in reality, it’s much easier than you think. This time, we will recommend some temples in Sendai where you can experience copying sutras. Let’s try sutra-copying experience!
① Hoshunin保春院 Location 場所：https://goo.gl/maps/YPwPb5jKfqaVtLsF8 Access：1-minute walk from Sendai City Bus stop “Wakabayashi-Kuyakusho mae” Experience date and time：Twice a month -Saturday: Reception hours 2:00pm～5:00pm end at 6:00pm -Sunday: Reception hours 10:00am～11:00am and end at 12:00 アクセス：仙台市営バス「若林区役所前」で下車、徒歩1分 写経体験日時：毎月2回 ー 土曜：受付時間 午後2:00～午後5:00 午後6:00終了 ー 日曜：受付時間 午前10:00～午前11:00 午後12:00終了 TEL: 022-256-0486 HP : http://www.hoshunin.or.jp/
② Rinouji輪王寺 Location 場所：https://goo.gl/maps/CdVDVZDWmFjQT8xr8 Access：1-minute walk from Sendai City Bus stop “Rinouji-mae” Experience date and time：Second Tuesday of every month 10:00am ~ 11:30 am アクセス：仙台市営バス「輪王寺前」で下車、徒歩1分 写経体験日時：毎月二回目の火曜日 午前10:00～午前11:30 TEL: 022-234-5327 HP : https://rinno-ji.or.jp/
③ Kouganji 江厳寺 Location 場所：https://goo.gl/maps/XM3DrEF9CCq3KB548 Access：4-minute walk from Sendai City Bus stop ” Shihemachi Ryuunin mae “ Experience date and time：3rd Wednesday of every month 1:30pm ~ 3:00pm アクセス：仙台市営バス「子平町龍雲院前」で下車、徒歩4分 写経体験日時：毎月第３水曜日 午後1:30～午後3:00 TEL: 022-234-2905 HP : http://kouganji.or.jp/
④ Joginyorai Saihou Temple定義如来西方寺 Location 場所：https://goo.gl/maps/uDWgQsviTfC2 Access：5-minute walk from Sendai City Bus stop “Jogi” Experience date and time：Every day 9:00am ～ 4:00pm アクセス：仙台市営バス「定義」で下車、徒歩5分 写経体験日時：毎日午前9:00～午後4:00 TEL: 022-393-2011 HP : https://jogi.jp/
⑥ Mutukokubunji陸奥国分寺 Location 場所：https://goo.gl/maps/nQbC46RYrVk Access：3-minute walk from the subway Tozai Line “Arai Station” Experience date and time：Even-numbered third Saturday 2:00pm～ アクセス：地下鉄東西線「荒井駅」下車、徒歩3分 写経体験日時：偶数月 第3土曜日午後2:00～ TEL: 022-256-1883 HP : http://www.08943.com/
⑦ Zuiganji 瑞巌寺 Location 場所：https://goo.gl/maps/SCr8fSajxr2Phjo67 Access：5-minute walk from Matsushima-Kaigan Station (JR Senseki Line) Experience date and time：Every Thursday 10:00am～11:00am, 2:00pm～3:00pm アクセス：ＪＲ仙石線「松島海岸駅」下車、徒歩5分 写経体験日時：毎週木曜日午前10:00～午前11:00、午後2:00～午後3:00 TEL: 022-354-2023 HP : https://www.zuiganji.or.jp/
※Note ① Due to the influence of the Covid-19, a hand-copying sutra experience may be canceled, so please be sure to call the temple once before going. ② Depending on the temple, first-time visitors may need to contact in advance.
※注意点 ① 新型コロナウィルス感染症の影響で、写経体験が中止する場合もありますので、行かれる前に必ず一度お寺へ電話でご確認ください。 ② お寺によって、初めての方は事前連絡が必要な場合もあります。
On Part 1, I introduced my trip in two islands of the Urato. My trip report is continued to part 2. 前編では浦戸の2つの島での小旅行をご紹介しました。前回に引き続き、後半の2つの島々を紹介します。
I called a free boat at the pier of Sabusawa island, got across to Nono-shima island. Nono-shima is a center of the Urato island and has an only school and an only clinic. In Nono-shima, you must go through a camelia tunnel in spring, see lavender flowers in summer and go to Unehama beach to cross a sand bar in a low-tide, moreover, land on a small island over the sand bar. Talking of the island, you can see a unique island called “Oiran (geisha) jima”, the real name is Kageta jima island from Unehama beach.
One more island is left in Urato. “Katsurashima island”, the nearest island to the main land of Shiogama city. A free boat stopped at the pier this time, I got on the little bigger fishing boat to Katsurashima island. Katsurashima has the biggest population of four main island, which 170 people live. When I walked about Urato islands, I often met cats walking with deliberate steps. Here, in Katsurashima, a cat walked along the coast, leading me, and saw the head of a unique shape of island. It was Nioh jima, which is Matushima Bay’s prominent landmark. The island was in the late season of daffodils. Enjoying flowers and an ocean view, I walked and walked then I felt thirsty. Urato islands don’t have shops, but there is only “convenience store” in Katsurashima. The store name is “Wasene deya”, which is Miyagi’s dialect, “Don’t forget.” It used to be a liquor shop before the tsunami hit in 2011. Now it was reopened as “Convenience store in Urato islands” with a help of many people in and out of Urato. It sells minimum daily necessaries for the islanders. There was an ice cream quenched my thirst. I needed to buy it. 浦戸諸島ウォークはあと一つを残すのみ。本土の塩竈市に最も近い桂島です。今回は渡し船が桟橋に泊まっていました。ちょっと大きめの漁船に乗って桂島へ。桂島は浦戸4島では最も人口が多く、170人の人が住んでいます。浦戸を歩いた時によくゆったりとした足取りで歩く猫を見かけました。ここにも海岸を歩く猫ちゃんに先導されました。そして変わった形の島の先端部分が見えました。松島湾の島々で最も有名な仁王島でした。桂島では水仙の季節が終わりかかっていました。花と海の景色を楽しみながらどんどん歩き続けのどが渇いてきました。浦戸には店がありませんが桂島にただ一つ、「わせねで屋」という名前の「コンビニ」があります。宮城の方言で「わすれないで」という意味です。震災前、店は酒屋さんでしたが、現在島内外の多くの人の協力で島のコンビニとして再開しました。島に暮らす人々の必要最小限の日用品等が売られています。ここで喉の渇きをいやすソフトクリームを発見。これは買わねばなりません。
The time flies quickly. I felt the breeze got cold in the evening; I went back to Shiogama main land by City Ferry. I enjoyed a chilly sea breeze on the deck to see the sunset. The beauty of flaming sky color was indescribable. One-day trip to remote island gave me a relaxed time in the islands’ time with a slow tempo. When you feel worn out with busy days, why don’t you get on the boat to the Urato islands?