First of all, I need to thank the Hyogo International Association for organizing this Izushi bus tour. It was a trip that I was really looking forward as it is a place that I never heard about before. I like to discover new places in Japan and especially in Hyogo as I need to know places in the prefecture that I am living in first before discovering other places in Japan.
On Saturday Oct 29th, we met in Sannomiya, Kobe at 8:20 in the morning and took a bus for Izushi. The journey was around 3.5 hours which is not too long and I must say that the bus was very comfortable. We reached Izushi around 11:45 and we went directly to the event that I was most looking forward. We went to try kimono. I was surprised that the temperature was around 12 degrees Celsius during that season because it was not that cold in Sannomiya. The first thing we did there was to change our clothes to kimono. This is something that I really liked although it was very cold.
We then went around the town using the map that we got. I must say that it was really fun as we were discovering things by ourselves without guide and it was even more fun having some coupons and trying to go to some specific places to buy things using the coupons. I had lunch with some friends in a very small shop run by a family. We had soba and the soba was made by the family from scratch. It was really delicious and we really enjoyed it. One should not think that old people cannot run a business because the old couple runny the shop are doing very well. I was amazed. Around 1:30pm we all gathered back at the place that we went to have our kimono.
There was an event at the kimono place. It was to elect the person who will represent Izushi on posters and who would act as an embassador for Izushi. It seemed to be a very big even in the town as there were so many people from the town who came for that even. We then had raffle for people who were wearing kimono. There were so many prices to win and I got a packet of soba. The soba is produced in Izumo itself. I was so happy to get that.
After the raffle we went to a place that was the house of the person governing Izushi long time ago. We first had a tea ceremony with some people serving us just the way that tea was served in the pass. They were dressing in very beautiful kimono and we had the chance to get a taste of the real Japanese culture which is so unique and special. We also got to know how we need to sit and how we should hold the bowl when having tea ceremony. It was an awesome experience.
After tea ceremony we walk a bit in the town again and then we went back to change to our normal clothes. We then went to onsen which is one of the things that I like the most in Japan as it is not something that we can have anywhere in the world. I think this is something that is very unique to Japan. The onsen was very relaxing and especially in the cold weather. It is a special experience as people at the onsen try to talk to me although I do not speak Japanese. After that we went to supermarket to buy out breakfast for the next morning and then we went to the place that we were staying for the night.
We then left the place that we were to sleep at night to go to another place to have dinner with some local people. The food was nice and the experience with local people was very nice too. We got to know what they do in their daily life and how they try to promote local products and local attractions. We had some drinks with them which I think is special in Japan specially when meeting people for the first time. After dinner we went back to the place that we were staying at and we started talking and getting to know each other more. It was a great experience on that day. We went to bed around 3am after having very nice chats.
In the morning we woke up around 6am and prepared to leave for something that I was looking forward. We walked to a temple close to the mountain. The place was very quiet and peaceful. We could hear only the sound of nature. It was so relaxing. We learned how to meditate there and it was an experience that I really liked and want to have again. The person in charge showed us around first then, we meditated after which we had traditional Japanese sweet with tea. We also learned how to communicate with the person serving us tea without talking.
After drinking tea, we left for another experience. We had the chance to paint on cups that are then put in an oven to become normal cups which we see in shops. It was something that I did for the first time. Then, we went to a place where we could learn how to make soba noodle. It was something that I really enjoyed as I love cooking. We made soba from scratch. After that we had the soba that we prepared ourselves for lunch. It was very nice but I realized that cutting soba is not something easy and it requires practice. After our lunch, we had free time and we talked around the town again. On that day I had Tajima beef croquette as I am a big fan of croquette and Tajima beef is very famous. We then left Izushi around 4pm and reached Sannomiya around 7pm. It was really a great experience that I would recommend to everybody.
By express from Osaka area about 2 hours and 30 minutes;
Take JR Fukuchiyama Line in the “Express stork” and get off “Toyooka”, “Ebara”, or “Yoka”station. 30 minutes bus ride Zentan Bus bound for Izushi.
For more information, click the link below:
Izushi Tourism Association : 出石観光協会