September 30, 2016

A while ago, I got the chance to meet local sushi chef, Chef Masakazu Hatadan, a brilliant guy whom I think is definitely one of the Keihoku’s gems. He has established his name in the culinary world by innovatively combining the offerings of Keihoku’s cedar forests and fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan in the form of Sugi Sushi (mackerel nigiri sushi, wrapped in paper-thin slices of local cedar that adds a wonderful woody fragrance to the sushi)...

September 28, 2016

One of the joys of living in the countryside is being close to farms and fresh produce. Kyobuan, a small restaurant serving soba and other local cuisine has an open-air terrace at the rear that overlooks a soba (buckwheat) field. Incidentally, their famous dish on the menu is also simple and delicious soba noodles.

September 28, 2016

We recently held the Keihoku Lumberjack Championships in September which was an absolute blast. Lumberjacks or kikori (in Japanese) had to compete in “tree cutting” and “machine operation” events, and winners were judged on how safely, quickly and elegantly they could complete the various events. 

The championship was organized with the objective to acknowledge the rich history of forestry here in Keihoku, to bring the local lumberjack community togethe...

September 28, 2016

Going on a hike among the giant cedars of more than 700-800 years old, you can't imagine how gigantic they are. We may be just 2 hours from the bustling Kyoto city, yet it amazes that we are in such a different world. Keihoku has been a historical supplier of wood materials to the Kyoto capital since 1200 years ago, so being among these giant, ancient evergreen trees and learning about the rich history behind them is a definitely a humbling experience. 
 

September 28, 2016

I’ve done many trips to Miyama village, and love the reaction of my guests when they first catch a glimpse of Miyama Village. It’s setting in a mountain valley and surrounding rice fields makes the village look like it comes out from a story book. 

For my guests, I think they are pleasantly surprised because it’s totally different from the modern skyscrapers they were used to seeing in Tokyo or Osaka. For me, being in that village helps me to learn about wha...

September 28, 2016

Every Friday, my colleagues and I like to grab a drink at Syu’s Bar, located in the Sushiyone ryokan. Besides having a charming female owner or okami (wearing the traditional kimono in the picture above) and the delicious Japanese bar food served, what I really enjoy about Syu’s Bar is that you can regularly find local lumberjacks to crack jokes with, and foreign guests staying at the ryokan to share stories with. It’s a cozy and convivial place to spend pe...

September 28, 2016

You see a lot of thatched houses in Keihoku, it's called Kayabuki in Japanese and is a classical style of architecture in the countryside. They are made of hay and are very cool to be in during summer, but they are also freezing in the winter. That said, my guests and I have had heart-warming times when sitting around a fireplace with family during the harsh winter. 

I stayed in there myself before and loved how spacious these houses are (They can accommodat...

September 28, 2016

When you walk in forests of Keihoku, you might bump into a forestry artisan who cuts branches of cedars or cypress to let them grow straight. These are our professional tree climbers. 

"Have you ever fallen down?" I asked him. "Of course, several times." He replied smilingly as if it was no big deal. "Though it was quite painful", he added. 
 

September 28, 2016

The Takimata waterfall has two hiking routes, one that has you hopping across a river stream, and another that has you trekking through Cypress trees and descending to the waterfall. The Takimata waterfall is located in the deep forests of Hosono village in Keihoku. You can trek around 40 mins to reach there while admiring various kinds of local trees and stream of small rivers.

The trek itself is not commercialised at all so at some parts you have...

September 28, 2016

One of my friends is local woodcraftsman in Keihoku, who specialises in making small wooden carving of musical instruments. He is also a forestry artisan who grows and sells tree logs as well as a progressive rock drummer. He is definitely one of the many interesting characters you get to see carrying out their craft in Keihoku.

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September 28, 2016

September 28, 2016

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