Come and taste freshly pounded MOCHI rice cake & delicious Chicken SUKIYAKI at a farmer’s house amongst a village of terraced rice fields.
Visit and experience a local village’s lifestyle and food culture where terraced rice fields, continuously cultivated for 1300 years, cascade down the mountains for as far as the eye can see. First, take a stroll to visit the local shrine while surrounded by the beautiful views with Lake Biwa glimmering far below. Along the way you will have the chance to feel the spirit of a vibrant community who have co-existed with nature and protected the water sources for generations.
The friendly and good-natured farming family that hosts the Mochi rice cake-making class will welcome you wholeheartedly. They will demonstrate Mochi rice cake making following the traditional method using homegrown rice. Participants are welcome to join in!
Freshly pounded with your own hands, they will surely taste exceptionally delicious. Enjoy to the utmost with a variety of toppings!
Also, try our farm-to-table special Sukiyaki made with fresh chicken and lots of homegrown vegetables. The farmer will show you how to make it, so participate and learn. Chicken Sukiyaki is a holiday dish in Western Shiga especially for local festivals. Many of our guests become big fans of this salty-sweet hotpot.
Participants who have opted for the full day tour will
(A) visit Ogoto onsen (hot spring) resort in the afternoon, where the water quality is famous for its skin beautifying properties.
(B) have an electric bike tour along the tranquil lakeside in the morning.
JR Ogotoonsen Station (Kosei-Line), 30 minutes (5th stop) from JR Kyoto Station by a local train.
*Participants of the optional morning e-bike tour will be met by us at JR Shiga Station, 5 more stops from JR Ogotoonsen Station.
After a 30-minute train ride from JR Kyoto station, you will arrive at JR Ogotoonsen station.
Meet our tour conductor at the station (unless Kyoto station pick-up is selected).
You will take a taxi to the village of Ogi where you spend a half day learning about Japanese country life and smacking your lips over local specialties.
After arriving at Ogi Village, you will enjoy a short walk through the village and rice fields.
Ogi Village has been continuously cultivating the large area of terraced rice fields using spring water for 1300 years, since around the same time as the capital city was relocated to just 10km south of the village.
Legend tells us that when a severe drought hit the city, the emperor enshrined the Shinto spirit of rain in Ogi village. Soon, spring water started running from the exact same location saving many peoples’ lives.
We will first visit Ogura shrine where the spirit is said to reside. A big festival is held here in May, just before the rice planting, to pray for a good harvest.
The view of terraced rice fields surrounding the villages is stunning, portraying the changing colors of the natural surroundings according to each season.
In spring, the rice fields are flooded - reflecting the sky like a mosaic of mirrors. In summer, the fields turn a fresh green color vibrant with the growing rice plants.
In autumn, they are transformed to gold from the ripened ears of rice plants.
Finally, after the harvest, the fields return to the color of earth, sometimes dusted with snow during cold winter days.
You will surely delight in these varying characters of the terraced rice fields. We hope you can visit Japan four times, each time in a different season to further relish the changes!
After taking a stroll through the rice terraces in the area, we will visit the local rice
farmer’s house. There, we will experience exciting Mochi rice cake-making. You can pound the steaming sticky rice into delicious Mochi rice cakes using a giant mallet and mortar while enjoying
the fun atmosphere, feeling like a child again.
*This tour will be hosted by a family from the local village community group. We carefully select our friendly and open minded hosts after having meetings and interviews to ensure the quality time of our guests. We guarantee that you will have a wonderful experience with all of our hosts.
Rolling out Mochi rice cake while enjoying chatting with the farm owner.
Ogi villagers have traditionally been making Natto Mochi; fermented soy beans seasoned with salt wrapped in Mochi rice cake. This is a very original style of eating Mochi rice cakes and is truly a local tradition of this village.
Also, with sweet red bean paste as a filling, Yomogi Mochi is another delightful way of eating Mochi as dessert. Fresh Yomogi (Japanese mugwort) is harvested in spring and mixed in the Mochi rice cake, producing a bright green color (Please understand that it may not be available depending on the season).
Yomogi has long been used as a home medicine for good digestion, warming up the body and as a painkiller. With its slight bitterness, Yomogi is a good example of the Japanese tradition of using seasonal ingredients for balancing one’s physical condition.
We will be guests at the farmhouse for an enjoyable mealtime and can enjoy chatting further with the farmer and his wife to learn more about traditional Japanese lifestyles.
Also for lunch, the farmer will demonstrate how to cook Sukiyaki in front of you, so participate and learn. Many of our guests became fans of this dish made with fresh local chicken and variety of fresh vegetables just picked from the fields. Try the simple yet delicious dish!
This extraordinary experience, learning about a farmer’s life coexisting with the bounty of nature, will be the highlight of your trip to Japan!
In the afternoon, we will visit nearby Ogoto Hot Spring resort. You can pamper yourself with a leisurely soak in the natural hot spring waters, said to be good for both beauty and health (Private bath can be arranged at your request).
The water from Ogi village streams through an underground vein before emerging as hot spring water in Ogoto, a village at the foot of the mountains. It has been worshipped as a miraculous hot spring for curing people’s bodies for 1200 years.
How would you like to start your day in the ultimate tranquility of the countryside as you take a leisurely cycle along the serene shores of Lake Biwa?
Using electric bikes that provide an effortless, refreshing ride, this course follows beautiful lakeside roads up to stunning scenes of stepped rice terraces.
At noon, we will take a train to Ogotoonsen and visit the farmer's house for making mochi & sukiyaki lunch.
*Please understand that the itinerary may be changed without notice due to the weather, traffic and emergency situation.
A short program about the tour was broadcasted on a local television channel. The narration is in Japanese however you can see the whole picture of this tour. Join us and spend quality time immersing yourself in our local culture.
Mr. Daniel Kohler, a chef on an American TV show, joined the Mochi tour. On this VTR, he explains scientific facts about Mochi and rice. Get some tips on Mochi and savor the fresh Mochi pounded by your own hands!