Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ankake Pasta is the famous local specialty in Nagoya

Nagoya area has some famous local foods and the food's culture is bit different from the other area in Japan.

And the famous foods are Miso-Katsu, Miso-Nikomi, Kishmen, Dote-Ni, Ten-Musu, Hitsumabushi, Tebasaki, Uiro and Ebi-Fry.

But, There is one more unique food in Nagoya area. It's the Ankake-Pasta!

Ankake Pasta is a kind of spaghettis with tomato sauce. But, the spaghetti is thicker than general ones in Japan and it's covered with the sauce that has boiled with some tomatoes and meets and vegetables for many hours and then the sauce changes to be thick after boiling.
If we visit any major restaurants of Ankake pasta, we can order several kinds of Ankake Pastas. But, every dish is covered with only the sauce. So difference is the ingredients.

The birthplace of Ankake Pasta is Yokoi at Sakae in Nagoya city and major chain is Ciao. I heard that the recipes of Yokoi were spread over Nagoya city and then Ankake Pastas got the position of famous local specialty. It was very interesting for me that the fact made one famous local specialty.

When I was a businessman and my supervisor came to Nagoya by his business trip, he ate it at Ciao every time. Because, he usually said "Ankake Pasta is only local food that isn't too sweet in Nagoya". I used to eat it with him for our lunch if we worked at weekend, and he always looked smiley in the restaurant at that time. The amount of the pasta are always different, especially "jumbo" are so different. If you are unluckily in happy day, the amount should be too big.

Recently, we can find Pasta de Co Co that is the chain of Curry house CoCo Ichiban-Ya in Tokyo. (I think that the ingredients on the Ankake Pasta look same as ones on the curry of the restaurant)
Because of the Ichiban-Ya is the enterprise in Aichi prefecture.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The festival floats exhibition hall in Hida-Takayama

This time, I'd like to update some pictures that I took at the festival floats exhibition hall (called Takayama Yatai Kaikan in Japanese) in Takayama city.

At the exhibition hall, we can see four floats that are used with when the people enjoy Takayama festival and all of the floats are National important tangible cultural heritages of Japan.

So, please enjoy the pictures.

This is one of the floats. Always there're four floats at the exhibition hall and they are changed three times in a year. A shrine maiden explained about the floats and the history for ten minutes when we visited, because of the exhibition hall locates in the precincts of shrine.

There're some dolls with the floats in the hall. Actually, local people wear their Kamishimo that is ceremonial dress of a samurai, so we can guess the atmosphere of the festival.

This is a Mikoshi and it's a portable shrine. It has a very heavy iron plate to keep the balance of it. And now, it doesn't work and local people just use only floats at the festival.

I took the picture of the whole floor on second floor. There're the Mikoshi on this side, but I couldn't take it on the picture.

Can you guess the size of floats by the size of dolls? The size would be same height as the three or four-story buildings. When local people take the floats into the hall, they usually use the gimmicks of the pillars to be short. But, they are still high.

Next, I'd like to upload some pictures took in Sakurayama Nikko hall that is next from the festival floats exhibition hall. We can also enter the hall by the ticket of the festival floats exhibition hall.

We can see some tenth models of Nikko Toshogu Shrine that is one of the most famous shrines in Japan. And it had been made by 33 technical experts for fifteen years before 90 years ago. It's so elaborate model by the fact.

This is a picture to see the whole models.
I guessed that the models would be arranged to be same as Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

I have no experience of Takayama festival and it was my first time to see the floats. It makes me want to visit there during the festival.

We can check the information about Hida Takayama!
Hida Takayama in Gifu

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Jinnya is Historical Goverment House in Hida-Takayama

This time, I would like to show some pictures that I took at Jinnya in Takayama city.

There're some museums and tourist attractions in Hida area, and the majors are Takayama-Jinnya that I want to describe this time and Festival Floats Exhibition Hall on next blog would be the best in the area. If you'll visit Hida-Takayama, I guess that you'll enjoy them well!

At first, I need to explain about Jinnya. Jinnya was a magistrate's office in the Edo period. So, this Takayama Jinnya was also built when Tokugawa shogunate started to manage Hida area in the Edo period and then it was used for their administrative organ. At that period, Hatamoto who were direct retainer of the shogun came from Edo to control the area as Daikan who were local magistrates. So Jinnya is a bit special building and it's also unique from other building in the fact that people worked at the Jinnya with differs in social standing.

By the way, there were more then 60 Jinnya in Edo period, but now there is only Takayama Jinnya in the point keeping origin building. Of course, some of the parts were restored.

Well, I put my pictures on this blog with my explanations about Takayama Jinnya.

The first picture is the gate of the Jinnya. In Edo period some gatekeepers were standing in front of the gate, but now the place changes to pay our entrance fee. The fee is 420 Yen for an adult and we can enjoy explanations by the member of the staff of Jinnya free! We felt the fee was very cheap! But, the explanations are described in Japanese only, so it's not so helpful for international people.

The Jinnya was the bit special place for people who had several kinds of social standings, which were Hatamoto from Edo, local public functionaries and people who weren't Samurai.
I took the picture of the office to show the interesting fact. Can you guess? There are two rooms on this picture, and front one is for Hatamoto and the other is for local public functionaries. And we can understand the difference by the borders of Tatami. We can find any patterns on the borders at front room, but the other was just black, right?

And there are some entrances for each social standing, even if the building is only one. This entrance was for local public functionaries. The different entrances were very small for the worker who weren't samurai, and they look ordinary.

It is a bathroom. In Edo period, the workers used to wash their body here. On the other hands, there were also cultures using bathtubs in other area. So cultures depended on the area in Japan.

This is the room for their special guest who usually came from Edo. And this room is the best to enjoy the Japanese garden of the Jinnya.

This room is one of the biggest rooms in Jinnya, and it is for the family of the Hatamoto to live in. This room has a Tokonoma that is a Japanese alcove with very beautiful Kakejiku that is Japanese hanging picture. And we could also enjoy Japanese garden from Engawa that is Japanese veranda and I describe it after with a picture.

In Edo period, all of Japanese buildings were built with wood and the Jinnya is also same. So they really care about fire. This is the reason of the waterways between buildings like this picture, and the waterways also have the function to take the water after snow melted to river in Hida area. I took this picture in January, but we can see few snow....it's too warm in this winter.

We could find some parlors in Jinnya. This parlor was for people who weren't Samurai to take rest with the Irori that is Japanese open hearth.

This is the kitchen on Jinnya. This furnace is on the floor boarded up, so the meals cooked with the furnace were for the family of Hatamoto came from Edo.

And the furnaces on the ground were for the meals of other people. We can also find the fact that the ceiling is higher than ones in other rooms, right?

And this is the washroom made in wood and Japanese style.

After washroom, they washed their hands here. It's looks Japanese style.

This is the Engawa that is Japanese veranda. We don't use it as only veranda, but we also use it as passageway.

This is the great hall. If they had any audience, they used the room.

This is basketwork to ride on for the people of high rank. The color and the ornament of basketworks depended on the social standing and/or the distinction of sex.

Can you guess? How to move by it? Some people carry the bar of the basketwork on their shoulder.

This area is Shirasu that is Japanese law court where suspects and witness were summoned before a magistrate.

And now, some torture items are exhibited here. Basically Hatamoto didn't have enough judicial power, so finally suspects were sent to Edo and then to get their judgment.

This is a Dozo that is Japanese storehouse covered with clay. I wanted to take some pictures in the Dozo, but it was prohibited so I gave it up. The inside is museum with the structure kept since Edo period. So inside was made with wood.

In this connection, the means of the word ‘Dozo' is a storehouse covered with clay in Japanese language. And the roof looks made with wood, but the roof just put on the Dozo. So if the Dozo is caught in a fire, the clay doesn't burn and it protects the inside from the fire.

How do you think?

We really enjoyed the Jinnya for one and half hours with a member of the staff. So Jinnya is very good tourist attraction.

I must recommend you to visit there, when you travel in Japan.

We can check the information about Hida Takayama!
Hida Takayama in Gifu

Friday, February 02, 2007

Japanese traditional street in Hida-Takayama

This time, I want to update more pictures taken in Hida-Takayama to continue last topic.

But, today's topic is difference from last time and it's the pictures of the streets lined with orderly rows of well-kept old stores and houses in Takayama city. Takayama city was the very famous town in masters and carpenters who built a lot of famous temples and palaces since ancient times. On the other hands, the town was a Joka-Machi, which is a kind of Japanese downtown and it defended the castle in the past, of Takayama castle of Kanamori family. After the family moved to Tohoku, this area was managed by Edo shogunate.
In additionally, the castle was said "The castle is in the best five castles in Japan" with the very beautiful structure that built by carpenters lived in the area. But, after Edo shogunate managed, they pulled it down and the ruins of the castle are only standing on the Shiroyama Park now. Because of the government had a such behavior as it hated castles that had few possibilities to make rebellions.

So Takayama city has such history as above wrote still keep the traditional rows of houses. And I took a lot of pictures on the streets, please enjoy some of them!

This is the street in the area where they keep the old style.
The style was bit changed but the atmosphere are still kept, right?

This is a liquor store in Hida-Takayama. Can you find the object that has round shape under the roof of the store?
It's a Sakabayashi and sometimes also called Sugidama. It's made to understand the mature degree of Japanese sake with the leaves of Japanese cedar when they start to brew. At that time, the color is fresh green and then it will change to be brown, so the color is the signal starting to sell their sake.
So their customers can understand by Sakabayashi when they can drink.

There are some coffee shops, restaurants and souvenir shops on the street!

And this is the notice, they really want to keep the atmospheres like this.

Can you see the pine tree on the picture? The branches are hung up to protected from snows. It's also Japanese culture in north area and called 'Yuki-Tsuri'. We could find such trees as on the pictures in Takayama city, even if this winter is very mild.

I took this picture under the pine tree hung up. There are a lot of waterways in the city, the waterways don't only have the function for drainage of snows, but also used to put out a fire.

This is a convenience store that is Family Mart in Takayama city, general family marts are colored in blue. But this is so special. 

We can find the fact the city keeps traditional styles in large area when we walk around Takayama city.
Finally, I put two pictures that are the library in Takayama city. The name is Kansho-Kan.

It looks the traditional style before 100 years ago when Japan started to receive Western civilization. The building was very modern at that time.

We can check the information about Hida Takayama!
Hida Takayama in Gifu