Last weekend, I went to the Miyako Island for the first time in a year.
It was my fourth visit to the island.
So, it was something of a homecoming, I fit into the atmosphere of the island and became familiar with the town.


Of course, I like other islands of Okinawa, but I think that the Miyako Island Sea is the most beautiful. And, if you stay in a hotel in the city center, many izakayas with live Okinawan music are accessible by foot, which is very convenient.


If you want to get away from your busy daily life and relax in an island somewhere,
how about going to Miyako Island? (H.S)


Yonaha Maehama beach is well known as the most beautiful beach in the orient.
All Japan Trialthon Miyakojima is going to be held on April 22nd and it starts from the beach.
In the hotel lobby I stayed, big cartons that look like with bikes inside of the participants had started to arrive.


When I come to Okinawan islands, Orion beer first anyway!


Peanut tofu, which I like very much.


Water basin with hibiscus
Only southern islands could this.


Miyako Island’s folk song live by Miwa Yonashiro at an izakaya in Miyako Island
(taken on April 13th)



I went to Hanami with Mr. Ugyen Dorji and his family. Hanami is a Japanese flower viewing tradition. In Japan, during the cherry blossom season, we enjoy and appreciating the blooming of cherry blossoms. We celebrate it by having picnic parties under the cherry blossoms trees.


Mr. Ugyen Dorji is from Bhutan and he’s studying as a teacher trainee at University of Fukui since around October of 2017.



Mr. Ugyen Dorji and his family

His family arrived in Japan at the end of March. It had been 6 months since the last time they saw each other. They seemed very happy to see each other. He said that he was worried that his son would not remember him at all. But his son smiled at Mr. Ugyen Dorji as soon as his son saw him. Mr. Ugyen Dorji was very happy about it.


It was interesting for them to see the moving dinosaurs in front of Fukui station.



Mr. Ugyen Dorji's family is listening to Mr. Tsukihara who is a chairman of Bhutan Museum Fukui about dinosaurs
moving dinosaurs in front of Fukui station



cherry blossoms near Asuwa river

They said that it was their first time seeing cherry blossoms in real life and they were amazed by them. It was such a beautiful day so we all felt nice walking under the cherry blossoms.



We all enjoyed with Mr. Ugyen Dorji and his family viewing the cherry blossoms and having lunch

It was also their first time to have Hanami (a Japanese flower viewing tradition), they seemed to enjoy it. They brought some homemade Bhutanese food. I tried it and it was spicy and I liked it very much. It was such a great and interesting experience for me to have Hanami eating Bhutanese food, hearing Dzongkha (Bhutanese) and communicating people from outside of Japan.





Random Thoughts

Osaka souvenir "Sontaku manju"

It seems there is no English word that can directly paraphrase the word "Sontaku (see that Kanji above)" which became completely famous in Japan recently.
Such as "to care about others' feelings" or "to see things from other people's points of view", they should be idioms or sentences.
Will this become English as "Sontaku" in the near future?



The other day, I went to cafe "manimani" and I will introduce it this time. I had heard that their meal is so good and I sometimes pass in front of the shop by car but it was the first time I entered it. And I really liked the “manimani”. So it is likely to become my favorit cafe where I often want to go to.


They offer set menus with side dishes of plenty of locally grown vegetables. That day I didn’t eat dessert because I was full but I hear their homemade desserts are very popular.


After all, I am happy that they offer healthy meal and I could get plenty of vegetables. Although the cafe was pretty busy, the owner and staff served us well, in a natural calm manner with warmth and it made a favorable impression.


[Side dishes of the month]
Greens and chopped dried radish with enokidake mushroom
Spanish omelet with squash, shimeji mushroom and bacon
Deep fried freeze-dried bean curd with starchy enokidake mushroom sauce
Octopus, seaweed and onions with vinegar dressing
Twice cooked pork with cabbage and bamboo shoot
Floury potatoes with sakura shrimp -shore flavor-
Sauteed carrots (their regular menu, which is tasty that could change your image of sauteed carrots. Even those who don’t like carrots can eat this.)


They also sell lunch boxes and take-out dishes. (H.S)


The entrance of manimani




Beef filet steak set meal (1800 yen)


Roast beef plate (1580 yen)


The appearance



a new sake festival was held at Phoenix Plaza in Fukui City
a new sake festival was held at Phoenix Plaza in Fukui City

On March 21st, 2018, a new sake festival was held at Phoenix Plaza in Fukui City.

sake barrels stacked in a triangular pyramid at the venue
booths for snacks

24 sake breweries from Fukui Prefecture and 6 restaurants and stores participated in the event. The number of the visitors had been increased. There were about 1,600 visitors came to the event, and about 2,000 visitors came this year. The venue was full of people enjoying the sake.



the venue was full of people 10 minutes before the event was started

10 minutes before the event was begun, the door was opened, and visitors rushed into the venue and they lined up in front of their favorite sake booths.


there were long lines in front of popular booths

Right before the event was started, the people in front of the sake booths seemed very excited for the event to be started. Staff members of each sake breweries were standing quietly and being ready to serve their sake. Somehow, by looking at the staff members with traditional uniforms and beautiful sake bottles lined up in front of them I felt both solemnity and excitement.



the sake was poured into the visitors’ cups one after another

a woman with a sake cup, she is getting her cup filled with sake at a booth

As soon as the event was started, the sake was poured into the visitors’ cups one after another.



a man brought his own sake cup

Some visitors had brought their own cups like the man in the photograph above. He put the belt around the cup with perfect balance, so the sake would not be spilled from the cup. I was amazed by how he has so much passion toward sake.



three smiling women are serving sake

After the visitors had a few cups of sake, they started being more relaxed and chatty. The atmosphere of the event had been raised more and more.



a woman serving sake
a man serving sake

Even it was very busy from beginning to end, the staff members of each sake breweries were serving sake politely and elegantly. Each sake brewery had brought a few of their recommendation, the visitors enjoyed sake tasting and asking staff some questions.




There were some snacks which go well with sake, so the visitors could also enjoy them as well. Some of them felt very nice after having some cups of sake, and then they started chatting with people around them, even with strangers.


I would like to visit next time as a visitor and try different kinds of sake.


If you have a chance, how about visiting the new sake festival in Fukui City?





Festivals & Events

On April 8th (2018), I watched the "Onomai-dance" (Dance of the King) held at Uwase-jinja Shrine in Wakasa Town, Fukui Prefecture.
"Onomai-dance" (Dance of the King) is the traditional ritual dance which is performed at the 16 shrines in Wakasa region, and most of the shrines hold that in April or May.


It is the same as the Onomai-dance I saw at Mimi-jinja Shrine in Mihama Town two years ago,
that a male dancer wearing a red costume, a red mask with high nose and a bird-shaped hat repeats a simple choreography constantly in accordance with flutes and drums.

However, there are some differences such as dancer's gestures, costumes and bird-shaped hats.

If I watch the dances of other shrines there may be a lot of differences, but I am interested in that the same events have been inherited for hundreds of years throughout Wakasa region, regardless of the difference in details.


Onomai-dance at Uwase-jinja Shrine


Onomai-dance at Mimi-jinja Shrine

The striking movement of protruding a pike forward from a low posture is the same but the other behaviors are different.


Bird-shaped hat at Uwase-jinja Shrine


Bird-shaped hat at Mimi-jinja Shrine

The bird shape of the hat of Uwase-jinja Shrine is stylized, and in contrast, that of Mimi-jinja Shrine is concrete and ornate.


Places to visit

The restoration of the Yamazatoguchi Gate in Fukui Castle Ruins was completed the other day and opened to the public. A traditional method of construction and wood from Fukui are used for the gates and the stone walls. It is worth seeing. In the past, Shungaku Matsudaira, who was the lord of Fukui Domain, used to pass through the Yamazatoguchi Gate to go to the keep of the Fukui Castle. In the NHK period drama “Sego-don” currently on air, an actor, Kanji Tsuda from Fukui City plays Shungaku, so I have a sense of closeness with Shungaku again.


Ascending a little steep stone steps, it is the castle tower ruins and a cherry blossom viewing spot. Looking inside the turret, go through another wood gate and go over the Oroka-bashi bridge. Then, right before is Fukui City Central Park. Going straight the park and you will find a place to rest which has a public bathroom. This is the season of cherry blossoms, so it’s nice to stroll the historical route with viewing cherry blossoms. (H.S)


Inside the white plaster wall was turret(arm storage)at that time.
Now you can enter it and materials related are on display there.


The stone wall facing the moat viewed from the inside the wood gate.


“Fukunoi” (well) has been restored in the castle tower ruins.
It is said that it is the origin of Fukui, the place name here.


The turret opened in the evening as well with illumination of cherry blossoms.
(Usually, it is open until 6 p.m.)


The Oroka-bashi bridge viewed from the castle tower ruins.



On January 27th, 2018, farewell party for Ms. Sonam Wangmo and Ms. Chedon who had studied in Fukui University for about one year, and welcome party for Mr. Ugyen Dorji who started studying in Fukui University since October, 2017 and Ms. Sonam Choki who was invited to Fukui by Genji Nosaka, the former president of Bhutan Museum Fukui.



Ms. Sonam Choki

Ms. Sonam Choki who is the image girl of Bhutan Museum Fukui.



Mr. Ugyen Dorji is giving a speech

Mr. Ugyen Dorji talked how he wants be helpful as much as possible for Bhutan Museum Fukui during his stay.



Ms. Sonam Wangmo and Ms. Chedon

They will return to Bhutan soon.

Right: Ms. Chedon 

Left: Ms. Sonam Wangmo 

Ms. Chedon was saying that the sceneries of Fukui and Bhutan are smilar.

Ms. Sonam Wangmo likes the Japanese pancakes called "Okonomi-yaki".



enjoying a meeting in a friendly atmosphere
enjoying a meeting in a friendly atmosphere

We all enjoyed talking about Bhutan and Japan.



Ms. Sonam Wangmo is giving a speech

The Bhutanese people seemed quiet but they spoke confidently in front of everyone. They talked about how they were surprised that there is Bhutan Museum Fukui in Fukui. They all said that they were grateful to be in Fukui and they liked the scenery in Fukui which is like Bhutan’s and kindness that people have.


I started being interested in Bhutan more and more, so I hope to learn about the country and its culture.





Enjoy our previous blog!

A Girl from Bhutan -Miraculous Reunion-

The girl in the Bhutan Museum Fukui's poster visited Fukui!! -January 22nd, 2018-

The girl in Bhutan Museum Fukui's poster visited Fukui!! -Visiting NHK in Fukui on January 23rd, 2018-

The girl in Bhutan Museum Fukui’s poster visited Fukui! -Visiting Fukui TV on January 26th, 2018-


At Bhutan Museum Fukui, you can see many interesting things from Bhutan!

Official Website of Bhutan Museum Fukui


Life in Fukui

Fukui-joshi Daimyo-machi stop

I noticed that the name of this tram stop had changed, walking in the center of Fukui city this afternoon.
It has been renamed to "Fukui-joshi Daimyo-machi"(Daimyo-machi town of Fukui castle ruins) on 24th March from that was "Shiyakusho-mae"(Fukui City Hall) for many years.


Fukui castle ruins Yamazatoguchi-gomon gate

On the same day, the "Yamazatoguchi-gomon gate" which was under restoration at the Fukui Castle ruins was completed, and you can now take a walk from the "Orokabashi bridge" to inside of the castle ruins through "Yamazatoguchi-gomon gate".
It is a few minutes on foot from the "Fukui-joshi Daimyo-machi" stop to here. Even if walking from Fukui station, it takes at most about 10 minutes.


Looking into the moat at the corner of the "Orokabashi bridge", the big carp were swimming slowly.


Sakura-dori street in Fukui city
Today it was announced that cherry blossoms in Fukui city are in full bloom from meteorological observatory. The picture above is of the "Sakura-dori street" which is close to our office and also close to Fukui castle ruins. Fukui is now full of cherry blossoms.


Festivals & Events

I went to see the spring-time special exhibition at Fukui City History Museum “Edo, Kyoto, Osaka and a castle town Fukui”, which began on March 24th.



Major exhibits of this exhibition are a commanding view of the castle town Fukui, a landscape of Edo and a panoramic screen painting of Kyoto and Osaka etc. Of course, there was no aerial photography at that time but the purveying painters to the government drew such detailed pictures. I have respect for their remarkable ability.


From the Edo bird’s eye view screen painting, I noticed that Edo developed around rivers. Actually, there was “Nihonbashi Bridge” for real. If Tokyo had been developed utilizing more these canals, part of the city might have been a tourism district like Amsterdam or Venice.
It’s fun to imagine like that. (H.S)


*Some exhibits are replaced in the middle of the exhibition.


This year marks the 150 year since the era changed from Edo to Meiji.
In Fukui, many events are coming up with the title of late Edo and Meiji Fukui 150 year Expo.