Nyapan visited a new place, which takes about 80 minutes by train from
Tokyo.”Tochigi City” in Tochigi Prefecture is a place that you can enjoy
a short trip from Tokyo to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
There are some places called”Ko-edo(*)”,which means little Edo(current Tokyo).Tochigi City is one of these.One of the charms is that this city still has a rural atmosphere even more than Kawagoe, the most famous “Koedo” city.
Uzuma River, which flows through the city, was used as a transportation route to Edo. Tochigi City was also placed on the Reiheishi road that imperial messengers went through to bring the dedication clothes papers alcohol and weapons, etc. from Kyoto to Nikko Toshogu shrine.This place enshrines Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo shogunate.This is because Tochigi City prospered as a town for messengers or tourists to rest during the Edo period. The old warehouses of this era still remain there and show the historical atmosphere. used an accommodation system called”Kurano-machi Yadokari no ie(hermit crabs house)” for my trip.Thismeans you can stay at a traditional Japanese house at a low price.It is 2,000yen for a night regardless of how many people!! What’smore,full facilities are available,such as a bath, kitchen, tableware,cooking tools,appliances and futons(4sets).It is possible to stay for a longer time if you want.This special service,which leaves nothing to be desired, is actually a project of Tochigi city, that they offer as an experience, and a trial living arrangement that encourages people to have an interest in the city.According to the city,there are people from overseas who decided to immigrate through this experience.Staying in a traditional Japanese house impresses even younger generations who say ”This is my first experience, but it feels like home”. I of not the younger generation, cast my mind to the good old scenes of the novels or films set in the Showa period (1926~1989).Sunbathing in the Engawa(Japanese wooden veranda) and lying on Tatami,brought back memories of visiting my grandparents house during vacation when I was a child.
When I was walking through the streets, I was welcomed by something like a
scene from the old movies. The impressive thing is that among the lines of
traditional Japanese warehouses, you can also see European style houses.These are traces of the Meiji period(1868〜1912) when western-style became popular.You can see what it was like from the streets.This city is a good size for strollingaround.
First, I went to”Yokoyama kyodo-kan(Folk museum) which is along the Uzuma River.The Yokoyama family were wealthy merchants who ran a wholesale hemp business and a bank.You can see the residence,stores and historical materials of the Meiji period.After that, I got on board a “Pleasure Boat Ride”. While I was looking at the traditional houses from the Uzuma river, I felt comfortable with listening to the songs of the boatman and fed the carp in the river.The passage fare is 500yen to ride for as long as you want for a day.What a good deal!
I got off the boat and walked slowly for about 20minutes.I got to Kauemoncho district,which is designated as”Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings”This area has Japanese traditional architecture, warehouse buildings made by piling up stones and warehouses surrounded by earth walls,which all seem to naturally exist on the street.So, I felt as if I had traveled back in time. I really recommend you go to the restaurant “Abuden miso”,which a historical Miso maker established in 1781.This restaurant has a historical and classy atmosphere,and offers the extremely tasty“Miso dengaku”:A type of Tofu,or some Japanese vegetables, -kebab covered in miso. Honestly, this was the best Miso dengaku I’ve ever had in my life.
I also found a good restaurant called “Yaki-soba(stir-fried noodles) Sakurai” that is popular among locals. You can eat Yaki-soba containing potato,which is a local specialty. The owner,who used to work in a Kimono store,
makes it with wholeheartedly, so the taste is nostalgic and warm.I can’t believe it’s only 350 yen!
Since I was full, I started strolling again.Don’t miss Okinajima pavilion in
Okada Memorial Hall. The Okada is a family of pedigree in Tochigi City.The
traditional Japanese elaborate design shows the expert technique of a miyadaiku (a specialist in construction of shrines and temples).The 22th head of the family was particular about using precious wood and making it without nails. A 10meter corridor made by a single plane of wood is the ultimate in luxury! And the bamboo grove in the wide ground is very beautiful too. I understand that this place is often used in movies and TV dramas.
I fully enjoyed the atmosphere of Edo, I lastly visited “ Iwashita new ginger
museum”,which takes 12 minutes to walk to from Tochigi station.
Iwashita is a company that makes ginger products, and the melody of its commercial song ”Iwashita no shin-shoga♪” is well-known to Japanese people.You can experience pop & sub cultures of Japanese style in this interesting museum.It is the museum of the ginger by the ginger maker, for the ginger lovers!Everybody was into taking pictures in the original pink world.There also is a Ginger Jinja(Jinja means shrine) to pray for the prosperity of descendants there.If you want to have a rest, you can
enjoy unique meals in a “ginger cafe” and the souvenir shop is also fun.The gingertheme park is really innovative!
I want many people from many different countries to visit the Koedo called
Tochigi City.I assure that you will find a lot of new things about Japan.
●Hermit crab house
●Iwashita new ginger museum