Old Japan Experience with Locals

(A day trip with a fun American couple)

Hi, there! I’m Nanako, a Tomodachi Guide in the Yazu area!
This time, I had a great day in Chizu with this sweet American couple.
We had some unexpected events, but they all became nice memories in the end!
I will share some parts of our day through pictures.

We first visited the Ishitani Residence, a traditional Japanese house in Chizu.
This house was used for Daimyo (Lords in the Edo period) to take a rest during Sankin Kotai (a historical system from the Edo period where Daimyo were required to go to Edo, better known today as Tokyo, on foot! )
When we arrived, a gardener at the residence, Ideguchi-san, warmly welcomed us and showed us around the house. He shared the history of the house and his thoughts as a gardener, and we felt old Japan from his stories.

Next came everybody’s favorite, lunch time! We had an amazing vegetarian meal at Mitakien.
We had a nice time walking around their neat garden until the food was ready, and we had the best lunch by a traditional fireplace!
While eating, the owner came to greet us, and had a nice chat with the couple in English.
She even invited us to a tea party, as you can see in the picture, and let us try to make our tea in a traditional way.

We had an exciting indigo dyeing experience too!
This place is called Chizu Blue, and it was the couple’s first time trying indigo dyeing!
They picked their favorite patterns and did a great job! The staff kindly taught them how to do it, so they could understand without a guide’s translation!
They liked the products so much and even got one of the works for their apartment!

After visiting some more places like Suwa Shrine and Koiyamagata Station, we stopped for some snacks at a place called Tanoshi. It’s a guest house and a café.
The staff lit a stove for us as it was a bit chilly in the evening.
The couple enjoyed some art works in the building made from junk, and then tried some venison!
I was glad they liked it!

We got to talk a lot during the trip, and the most memorable topic was about tongue twisters in both languages! Can you say “Sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi” (it means “plums and peaches are parts of the peach family”), a famous Japanese one??

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