So our last day crept up upon us without us even realising! With such a busy week of activities it came round so fast and onto our last days activities. An early start to catch a train out to Koyto. A beautiful part of the Japanese countryside famous for its striking cherry blossom being produced here. We were created by the factory owner and shown around his premises and explained the process of making the soy from scratch to finished product.
From the steaming of the soy beans and roasting of the wheat to blending and the fermenting process. To the mix being pressed in muslin cloths to produce the natural raw soy. We were even lucky enough to make our own soy on the day and bottle it and take it back home with us.
After a quick tasty lunch in a local restaurant we moved onto the irie shrine. This is the most visited shrine in the whole of Japan, and famous from the film memories of a geisha. Originally a shrine visited by people to say a blessing for the gods of food to give them a good crop for the following year, and also a prosperous business. If your fortune came true you were able to erect one of the famous red gates on the grounds. Over time many of these gates were erected leading to a long snaking trail of red gates to walk under and create an almost maze effect.
Our last night dinner was a traditional Japanese open flame BBQ. With an amazing selection of scallops, mackerel, clams, chicken meatballs, garlic beef and of course the strange ones such as fish heads, chicken gizzards etc….
A lovely feast to end this amazing trip of s lifetime! Sadly time to pack and try and get some sleep for an early start to catch 2 flights back to London.
So I sit here here on the plane thinking of what a week of amazing experiences we have had. From a visit to the grand palace, seeing bonito being produced, engaging in local traditions in Toba and dining with the mayor and Vice President. To the fish markets, amazing street food and local produce, to hot spring bathing and wearing kimonos.
What defiantly stands out in my mind about Japan is the hospitality and kindness of the Japanese people as a nation and general politeness of everyone towards each other. A country that is spotlessly clean everywhere you go and with its quirky traits should be on anyone’s vacation top 10 list.
For giving us all an amazing experience of a lifetime, I’d like to thank the BHA, miki travel, ANA, all our amazing translators and relations while we were out on our trips and most of all the people who took the time out of their busy day to share with us their craft and love of what they do and letting us in.
I certainly will be coming back to Japan one day and these memories will be with me forever and hopefully the new skills I’ve learnt also will stand me in good stead going forward.
Only one word to say!