“Kishiro” is completely different from an ordinary hotel or Japanese ryokan. In Kishiro, visitors are welcomed not as guests but as part of their family members. Mr. and Mrs. Chida, the owners of Kishiro, value communication with visitors and tries to communicate with their broken English. When a great portion of the Japanese tries to avoid communicating with foreigners, the owner of Kishiro said in the interview that talking to foreigners is a fresh experience and that they enjoy it, despite that they don’t understand the language fully. Because of their enthusiasm for communicating with new people, you will definitely have a heartwarming time during your stay at Kishiro.
Very smiling mother and calm father
Now let me introduce you to how Mr. and Ms. Chida is unique in characters. First of all, Mr. Chida is in love with a plastic model of battle planes. He has a room full of battle plane collections including foreign aircraft! Also in the entrance, you would see some of his favorite collections. It’s like a small museum. Mr. Chida is also fond of taking pictures of trains in Japan. Distance is nothing but just numbers to him. No matter how long it takes, when he hears about a special train exhibition or release in other prefectures, he would run to take photos of the train.
aircraft in the entrance
aircraft display in the other room
ship-crafts display was also next to it
In contrast, Mrs. Chida’s specialty is cooking Japanese traditional sweets. Her best is what is called a “Keiran” by locals, where white rice cakes (mochi) are mixed with some colored rice cakes, creating a cute pattern. Dried rice cakes are also local snacks for Akita residents, and Mrs. Chida is also an expert in making it. I was given a chance to experience tying the rice cakes with rope and hanging it to dry them, but it was harder than it looks. You would not believe how fast Mrs. Chida finishes her work while I’m struggling with tying the first knot! If I have the chance, I would love to try it again. Why don’t you try it as well? You are guaranteed to have man likes on Instagram!
Colored rice cake ‘Keiran’
rope tying experience of Dried Rice Cake (it was difficult)
after tying the knot, it will be hanged throughout the winter
“Kishiro” is located in Akita, the northern part of Japan (3 and half hours away from Tokyo by bullet train). The area is famous for the deepest Lake in Japan; Lake Tazawa. It shows a deep cobalt blue in the summertime and the contrasting mountains behind is just extraordinary. The best suggestion is to rent a bicycle and take a round trip to the lake. But even if you don`t have the energy, there are local bus and taxi options as well.
Tazawako during summer time
The symbol of Lake Tazawa, statue of ‘Tastuko’
If you are a person who seeks to experience local and authentic Japan, try to include farm-stay experience like Kishiro in your list. You will definitely feel at home, just like visiting your grandparents in the countryside. Let’s find endless discoveries in Kishiro.
Column written by Seira Nagasaki (Akita International University)
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