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Monday, January 18, 2016

Nine Days in Japan - 17 November 2015

Ochiai Village
On 17 November, we took a last look at the Iya Valley, with a visit to the Higashi Iya Ochiai Village. Higashi Iya is the less developed East Iya; and the hamlet of Ochiai has has been marked for preservation due to its collection of traditional homes, terraced gardens and ancient walking paths.We didn't actually get to enter any village houses but just took in the scenic valley:

Higashi Iya or East Iya
The Iya gorge, named after the Iya River

Hirome Market
Our next stop is the Hirome Market in Kochi. Malaysians and probably Singaporeans, will find this place oddly familiar. It will remind you of the huge hawker centres cum food markets which used to be common in our country a few decades ago. Food was good, especially the Gyoza (we order Gyoza everywhere we eat!)

The Hirome Market was packed with customers and it was not very easy getting a table...

Ino-Cho Paper Museum
After lunch, we paid a visit to the Ino-Cho Paper Museum. The museum opened in 1985 for the purpose of promoting hand-made paper called tosa-washi. Kochi is renowned for its fine quality tosa-washi, which has a history stretching over a thousand years. During the Edo period, sets of seven coloured tosa washi were given to the Shogun as tribute. However, it was during the Meiji Era that the foundation for the large scale development of the paper industry was laid by Genta Yoshii. With his patronage, Kochi soon became known as 'the Kingdom of Washi.'

Tosa washi is made from the inner bark of kozo (mulberry), mitsumata and gampi.

The first thing we did when we visited the museum is to learn the trade; each of us took turns to make our own paper by hand, the traditional way. The result was extremely thick and brittle paper...

After the visit to the Museum, we had an interesting time exploring the streets of Kochi...

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