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Day Trip Ideas: Ohara

09,Sep 2015 Day Trip Ideas

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Ohara is another town in Okayama Prefecture that is home to beautiful Edo-period buildings, and retains much of its antique charm. Ohara claims to be the site of famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi’s birth; indisputably, it is where he lived for some years of his life. It is for this reason that Ohara is also dubbed ‘Musashi Village’.

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Driving to the Ohara, one passes field after field of farmland, with rivers running through, and mountains framing the idyllic landscape. Peaceful and welcoming, Ohara is a great place to spend a relaxing day experiencing Japanese countryside hospitality.

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One activity tourists can potentially take part in is visiting a traditional sake brewery. Depending on availability, it may be possible to learn how sake is brewed, and also to visit a sake cellar.

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The most popular activity guests at Kifu no Sato enjoy when visiting Ohara is the iaido and kendo experience with veteran practitioner Trevor Jones. Originally from the United Kingdom but now residing in Japan, Trevor Jones enthusiastically holds iaido and kendo workshops with guests by request. These usually take place in the Musashi Dojo in Ohara. Afterwards, visitors may choose to visit the Miyamoto Musashi museum next door, to look at reproductions of manuscripts and objects created by the man himself. Or one may choose to have lunch at one of the quaint local-run shops in the town.

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Musashi no Sato’s set lunch is an option the adventurous may wish to partake in. Set meals that are an approximation of the meals that would have been served to travelling warlords of the 17th century are prepared by locals cooking from 17th century recipes, and served in a 400-year-old inn that the very same warlords would have rested in.

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Or, if you would prefer something more modern, why not stop at Namba-Tei for a bite? A hip and cozy establishment located in a retro Japanese-style building, Namba Tei serves up delicious bites made from local ingredients. For less than¥1000, you can enjoy a set lunch consisting of an assortment of vegetables, fish, rice, and soup. Or, if you would like to sample a wider range of the menu, you can try smaller items such as sandwiches, special dishes such as curry made with Japanese pumpkin, and deer salami. Afterwards, you can wash it all down with a cup of locally-produced tea or juice if you wish. The dishes on offer are seasonal and also differ day by day.

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When you have had your fill of the food and drink, you can also browse Namba-Tei’s shop, which displays goods that are handmade by local craftsmen. In addition to being a restaurant and shop, sometimes it is also possible to go to Namba-Tei to attend a workshop in which natural plant dyes are used to dye things.

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Ohara is about 40 minutes away from Kifu no Sato by car, or about 1.5 hours by public transport. For those interested in Miyamoto Musashi, samurai culture, or the Japanese countryside, it is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to write to Kifu no Sato.

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