On May 17, 2018 the Zenkoku Shinshu Kanpyōkai (National Research Institute of Brewing) announced at the 2018 Annual Japan Sake Awards that Okuhida’s daiginjo, shown above, won a gold prize. You will be able to purchase this wonderful sake, Kinshō Jyushōshu, beginning June 20. Okuhida’s website is here.
You can find our reports on their other products by using our search box on the right and entering “Okuhida”.
Photo credit: Hida Kanayama Tourist Association
For those of you who are interested in learning more about the 金山巨石群 Kanayama Megaliths and about visiting 飛騨金山 Hida Kanayama, we would like to recommend that you visit this website. It is the official website of the Hida Kanayama Tourist Association. It is full of photos, events, what to do, and how to get there. However, it is entirely in Japanese (at this time). If you do not read Japanese, we recommend that you use the Google Chrome browser and opt for a translation into your language of choice. While the automatic translation is not ideal (for example, it will give you for 金山, the word ‘Jinshan’ instead of ‘Kanayama’), it will give you general information.
You can check some of the details against our own posts about visiting Kanayama here, here, and here. On this Iwakage blogsite, we have much of the same important information, provided by the Hida Kanayama Tourist Association.
We ourselves have been searching the Internet for sources of information about Kanayama. What we have learned is that there are other places called Kanayama. Therefore, to zero in on the place where the Kanayama Megaliths are located, please use the term ‘Hidakanayama‘. It is also useful to know that Hida Kanayama is part of Gero-shi (City of Gero) in Gifu-ken (Gifu Prefecture).
Weather at Hida Kanayama Train Station can be found here.
The Kanayama Megaliths Research Center and the Hida Kanayama Tourist Association are gearing up to welcome international visitors.
If you want lodging in a traditional home in Hida Kanayama, Shichifukuzan is the place to stay. Shichifukuzan 七福山refers to the mountain (san 山) of the seven (shichi 七) lucky (fuku 福) kami. The building is from Edo jidai, 1603-1868. This minshuku guest house is run by the proprietress who is called Okami-san.
Here is a view from the room on the ground floor of the building which is in a grove of trees. And here is the room itself.
There is a rushing river across the street. There are additional rooms on the second floor. Breakfast and dinner meals are cooked by Okami-san. You have the opportunity to taste real mountain food, fresh from the rivers and mountains of Kanayama.
One night, several of us gathered and asked Okami-san to prepare a dish of nabe. On a crisp evening in autumn, what could be better? After the nabe veggies had been consumed, a wonderful broth remained. Okami-san brought out rice and two eggs. They were mixed into the broth and the result is called zousui. The perfect way to end a meal!
It is a thrill to stand at the power spot where two rivers meet. In Kanayama, the Hida River in the east, and the Maze River in the west join to continue their journey to the Pacific Ocean. First, here are some photos taken on the town side. The plaque reads: Maze-gawa, Maze River. It seems to translate into the Rapids of the Horse. I don’t know if it really means that. Nevertheless, the name reflects the rapids of the swift mountain stream. Those large leaves in the photo on the right are the hoba, used widely in Hida cuisine, such as the hoba sushi and hoba miso.
Looking at the Maze River from the bridge, this is what I saw. Upstream is to our left and downstream to the right.
At the end of the bridge, there is a small roadside shrine.
I made my way back to the town side of the Maze and followed the river south. Hydrangeas of different colors were in bloom.
It is the season for fishing for ayu, the delectable fish of clear mountain streams. Hida folks are very proud of their ayu.
I took the bridge to cross over to the east bank. South of this bridge is Mino which is not a part of Hida, geographically or culturally.
A view from the bridge, near the east side. Kanayama town continues on the other side of the river. After walking a few blocks right and left, I came to the Hidakanayama Train Station which you’ve seen in the earlier post. I’ve shown you a lot of photos of the river. I hope you enjoyed the beauty and serenity of the rivers that run through Kanayama.
The Kinkotsu-Meguri walking map of Kanayama Town is featured above. It was created by Shiho Tokuda who also made the poster which you have seen earlier (also below, left). This summer, I walked through Old Town Kanayama, following in part the meguri map. The photo on the right is a close-up of the old post road showing the location of the well.
I started on the old post road and saw alleyways like that in the poster above. There were folks going down some narrow steps so I followed them. They were on the meguri tour and were being shown the well. They were drinking the clear water from a ladle and exclaiming how good it tastes. There is a shrine honoring the Mizu-no-Kami, the Kami of Water. Looking closely, we see that the sacred objects are ancient stones, a remnant of Jomon times.
I left them to look for the shop with the rice mill run by Asai-san, on the next block. It is on the way to Okuhida Sake Brewery which I have reported on before. Here are some photos where Asai-san is showing me how he takes a bag of unmilled rice and runs the rice through the milling process. He (and other gourmands) recommend that rice be cooked within a week of milling, for best flavor.
After this stop, I passed by the Okuhida Brewery as I walked over to the Mazegawa (Maze River) which is running south from the Iwaya Valley. See the bridge below. Here are a few more snaps of the town.
And some of the summer flowers in bloom such as the purple hydrangea and the four-petaled white dokudami. The dokudami makes a wonderful and healthful herb tea. In the middle are flowering soba plants which will later produce seeds from which soba-ko is made for delicious soba noodles.
Hida Kanayama is a food lover’s paradise. Not only are there fresh seasonal produce deliciously served, there are local specialties as well. Let us show you some of them.
First we introduce you to hoba miso with Hida gyu (Hida beef). Hida gyu is wonderfully marbled and sooo tender! Above we see Hida gyu on a grill plate heated by a sterno burner (which conveniently goes out when the food is about done). It is served with green onions, piman peppers, and mushrooms, with thefamous hoba miso of Hida. Here is one of the Hida gyu nigiri sushi as served in the restaurant of Karen.Having one of these sushi is heavenly! They come two on a plate, doubly heavenly.
Of course, we must have hoba sushi, a specialty of the area. Here is what it looks like. It is wrapped in a fresh green hoba leaf that grows abundantly in Kanayama. It is delicious the first day, and possibly even better the second day. In case you are wondering, a hoba leaf is a type of very large camellia leaf.
Restaurant Hizan レストランひざん offers many popular meals. Look at the lunch you can have for only 1000 yen! And on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Hizan serves the Japanese breakfast called morning service including egg, toast, and more for the price of a cup of coffee!
Hidakanayama Eki is the train station for Hida Kanayama. Hidakanayama Eki opened in 1928 and has hardly changed since that time. Let us show you snaps taken of and in the train station.
At top is the front of the station. Below, you see the train tracks (two of them, running north and south), the passenger bridge to cross the tracks (there are no escalators), and the platform for the northbound train.
Now, let’s take a look in the waiting room. Here we find photo posters of Kanayama attractions created by Shiho Tokuda.
Inside Hidakanayama Eki you will find the invaluable resource, the Kanayama Tourist Information Center.
After leaving the station, turn around and you will see the welcome sign of Kanayama Town. The three photos in the center feature the Shirataki Falls, the Gifu-cho butterfly, and the Iwaya Dam. These pleasures await you in Kanayama.