Hi everyone! In this blog post I will begin writing about my school trip to Yamanashi Prefecture. On the trip, my school visited three different sites: Saiko Iyashi no Sato, a peach farm, and Erinji Temple.
First, here are some fun facts on Yamanashi Prefecture:
- Yamanashi Prefecture is about a two-hour drive from Tokyo
- Yamanashi Prefecture is home to the northern part of Mount Fuji
- Yamanashi Prefecture is Japan’s largest source of peaches and grapes
- Yamanashi Prefecture has the longest days in Japan, and thus, it also gets the most sunlight, which makes it a great place to grow peaches and grapes
So, now let’s get to the good part: my favorite out of all three places we visited on this trip was Saiko Iyashi no Sato (which I will refer to as just “Iyashi” from here on), the first place we visited. The word “Iyashi” means healing and this place sure lives up to its name! I felt so at peace when I was there! So, what is Iyashi? In a nutshell, it’s an outdoor museum. This outdoor museum used to be an actual village in which there were many traditional Japanese houses, but in 1966 a landslide destroyed the village, making it completely inhabitable. Years later, 23 replica houses were built and in 2006 the village was reopened to the public as an outdoor museum.
Iyashi is surrounded by greenery and rivers and is quiet and peaceful. The traditional Japanese houses blend in very well with nature. When I was there, I went into many of the houses. Each house had something of interest inside. Some of them were shops with all kinds of souvenirs and foods. Among the other houses were a kimono and samurai garb rental shop and a house dedicated to telling the story of the landslide that destroyed the original village. There was also a charming shrine on top of one of the hills.
The next stop was the peach farm. First, we got to pick one peach. (FYI: these peaches cost around $5 each in a supermarket in Tokyo!!! Good quality comes at a price, ne…) The next thing on the agenda was an all-you-can-eat peach feast! We were led to tables with peaches waiting for us to each them! I had taken a while taking pictures of the beautiful scenery, so I only had time to eat three peaches, but, let me tell you, they were so good!!!
On the way to the peach farm we were told that we should peel the peaches before eating them, which I thought was strange. The peaches I’ve had before were just fine with the peel! (Though I guess the fuzz isn’t the ideal texture – on most days I’d rather a nectarine). Anyway, of course I had to do the opposite of what I was told: take a big, juicy bite of the peach, with the peel. (Although I did say “itadakimasu” first, which literally means “I humbly receive” and is the polite way of starting a meal). I felt two things simultaneously: the overly furry texture of the peach in my mouth and the prickly fur in the skin around my mouth. Ouch! Not exactly the vibe I was going for! Of course it wasn’t as prickly as a prickly pear, but it was still unpleasant. Well, that’ll teach you to listen to instructions, Rachel!
Anyhow, after getting over the fact that I was pricked by a peach (I felt like bursting out laughing, but people would have looked at me like I was crazy…), I started to peel it. It’s actually quite fun. These huge peaches are soft and they’re easy to peel by hand. After peeling the peach, I started eating as cleanly and neatly as I could. Unfortunately, after eating three peaches it was time to go (and I was getting kind of full anyway), so I said “gochisosamadeshita” meaning,” thanks for the meal” with gusto before leaving.
Okey dokey, that’s it for now! In my next blog post, I will write about the third and final stop on my school trip to Yamanashi Prefecture: Erinji Temple! Ja, mina-san, mattane! See you next time!