HASHI-ITA bridges were used daily by people who lived by the lake until a piped water supply system was set up. Every day, they carried buckets to collect water for the washing, drinking, cleaning, laundry and for their bath tubs.
People had a rule never to wash dirty things in the lake and to throw away the used grey water in their backyards, so the lake water always remained pure.
A HASHI-ITA bridge is a fun place for children to play (they can run along and jump into the water) and is also a good safe spot for baby fish to hide under.
After a water system was set up in the 1950’s, the local government ordered that the HASHI-ITA bridges should no longer be used and they were removed from the lakeside.
In the intervening years, most people have forgotten about them. However, the cultural importance of Lake Biwa has recently been acknowledged, once again defining Lake Biwa as a ‘Water Heritage of Life and Prayer.’
HASHI-ITA bridges are valuable environment study areas where one can learn about the life around the lake as well as offering an important access to emergency water during disasters.
Our hope is to hand over the HASHI-ITA bridge culture to future generations and this is why we are presently attempting to once again bring these bridges back to life.
Cool young gentlemen from Singapore returned to our tour for the second time!
It was a lovely reunion since this January. We felt such an honor and a pleasure that the guests have come back to the same tour with his friends.
We hope our friendship will continue. We wish for their bright future!
After the tour, we received a very sweet feedback from them. We are touched by their warm gesture and would like to introduce their impressions here.
A fruitful experience of Japanese culture is what I promise you will enjoy if you are to attend the Farmer’s Tour
Want to understand more about Shinto, an ancient religion practiced by the Japanese?
Test our knowledgeable tour guide as she brings you to explore the shrine where the Rain Deity resides. My friends and I were at awe as we witness the significance of the Rain Deity in the plantation of Japanese pearl rice that the world has come to love.
You will also get your fortune told on a piece of empty white paper, mysteriously revealing the god's message only after washing it with the sacred water in the shrine.
After the introduction to the Japanese religion, you will be brought to a quint little house own by a friendly yet quirky old couple, where you will get a first-hand exposure into traditional mochi (rice cake) making. Work up a sweat and have fun getting your hands dirty as you pound the mochi which you well get to try. I can assure you that even though the process of making rice cakes between the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are similar, they have very different taste and textures.
After you have had your fun, you will be then be treated to an authentic Japanese meal by the old couple. Be prepared to wait though as the chicken sukiyaki that you will have is made from scratch, using products fresh from the old couple's farm.
Feeling adventurous ?
The old couple may also show you their homemade soju infused with snakes or wasp, caught from the wild. You can still try out these fermented exotic creatures. From what I was told, the larvae of the wasp apparently taste like cream cheese. If you are not used to food like these, it is perfectly fine to turn the couple down on their offer.
To conclude, my friends and I truly enjoyed ourselves and would recommend you to try it. I would also advise you to check when the rain festival is as it will definitely be a sight to see. However, as it is only conducted once a year, be warn that to view this festival, it will be during a peak period.
Thank you, gentlemen! We feel as if we have got a great spokesmen.
He is from the UK and has been living in Australia these past 4 years. His family are originally from Jamaica, so he has a global outlook. He says "I very much enjoy being in the outdoors and seeing the worlds natural beauty, and get involved in some type of physical activity". It was just the right tour for him and he had a wonderful time together with our host family after zen Pilates. He enjoyed preparing for Japanese cooking with some organic food from host`s' vegetable garden, too. We all had an awesome time!!
We had a lovely couple guest from Singapore for our Kimono & Photo shooting program. They looked so beautiful wearing antique Kimonos that have been carefully looked after by the house's family, who have lived here for seven generations.
Our special guest from the US yesterday, very energetic, active, and smart wonderful lady who is turning 91 years old this month.
Her wonderful friend also joined our tour. They just met each other in Kyoto few days ago! (Thank you for joining us together!!)
They got very well together and had really nice time at the local farmer's traditional Japanese house!
He is a roof craftsman who dedicate his lifework to preservation of renowned temples and shrines in Shiga, Japan.
Look how fast he drives nails with a magic hammer! Amazing!
We had a cute young couple from Moscow, Russia. They enjoyed Mochi pounding and surprised to see how to make it. It's such a tough work out, but fun, they said. They cooked delicious Sukiyaki with the host Ojichan (elderly man) with home-grown fresh vegetables and delicious chicken.
Mr. Daniel Kohler, a chef on an American TV show "Home & Family", joined the Mochi tour!
On this VTR, he explains scientific facts about Mochi and rice. Get some tips on our Mochi tour and savor the fresh Mochi pounded by your own hands!
All the guests are deeply touched with our local host families who welcome you with warm smile and hospitality in mind. Join our home visit program, we promise it will be the highlight of your trip to Japan!
Early spring has arrived here in Shiga with blooming plum trees. In Takashima tour, our guests have enjoyed cycling and the visit at the terraced rice fields in the tucked away village. Tasting both the fresh Sake at the local 250 years old brewery as well as home made plum wine at the farmer's house, sweet air of spring became even sweeter. Guests also liked the heat patch 'Hokalon' during the cycling time; Japanese simple yet hot technology.
“We would love to take photos of Autumn colors and the sunset on the lake”
This was the request we received from the wonderful couple who participated in our tailor-made tour last November.
To our honor, we received a thank you message from them with some of the beautiful photos they took during the tour.
Biwako-Ohashi-bridge certainly looks very impressive through their viewfinders. Magical!
Take beautiful photos of yourself dressed in a gorgeous Kimono by the largest lake in Japan! We will give you a gorgeous traditional Japanese Kimono dressing experience for your special holiday in slow local Shiga.
Our new tour; Zen Pilates/Yoga & Mamma's lunch cooking is ready!!!!
Healing Pilates session is led by the experienced instructor at the serene shrine to help you absorb its healing energy.
Longer healing session is followed at the Tatami matted room inside the beautiful traditional Japanese house.
Enjoy the cooking session and homemade seasonal delicious lunch afterwards.
This tour is especially recommended for those who wish to relax and feel rested during your trip...!
We organized a tailor made tour including Mochi rice cake pounding and silk braiding at a workshop for a family Christmas holiday!
After the fun Mochi pounding experience at farmer's house, our charming guests enjoyed Kumihimo braiding taught by fourth generation of the silk braiding craftsman's workshop started in the late Edo period, about 130 years ago. While enjoying the hands-on activities, we all had chance to feel the hardworking craftsmanship that were carefully handed down over generations.