Nowadays we have many chances to go to Kyushu. Of course one reason is that my husband’s hometown is Fukuoka. In this time, we went to Kumamoto and Saga prefecture with the cooperation of All Japan Kyoto Association! It was a great experience for us! First of all, I would like to share about Yamaga, Kumamoto prefecture. Yamaga city has a number of historical and cultural attractions and many nice onsen( hot springs) offering an abundance of quality natural hot water.

〇Yachiyo-za Theatre(八千代座)
Yachiyo-za is a drama theatre which local businessmen built in 1910. The architecture is traditional Edo-period style and the stage can turn as it has Germany style rails. Yachiyo-za still welcomes and entertains audiences with a variety of performances such as Kabuki and local folk entertainments. Masu-seki seats (a square seating area by the stage), gorgeous ceiling paintings and a pretty chandelier are all worth taking a look at. Yachiyo-za was designated as a National Important Cultural Property in 1988. Visitors can enter on days when no program is scheduled. You can see backstage and go on the stage freely😀

〇Sakura-yu Hot Spring(さくら湯)
Sakura-yu is an onsen (hot spring) which was built about 370 years ago as a tea house which the local samurai governor of the Higo Hosokawa Clan enjoyed. Around 1868, it was reborn as a public bath for the local people thanks to a financial contribution from the citizens of Yamaga. Keeping the atmosphere from the original hot spring, it was renovated in November 2012. A decorative entrance, unique cross design roof, Ryu-no Yu bath used by the guests, and many other features from the Meiji period still remain and welcome visitors today.

〇Comecome Somon tour(米米惣門ツアー)
First of all, I would like to explain the meaning of tour name. Come means rice, and Somon is an area name. At Somon area, many old houses still remains from the Edo Period (1603-1867). The houses are now one of the symbolic buildings of Yamaga city. The place around Kikuchi river that is near Somon is famous for rice from long time ago. so these old shops still sell rice, sake(Japanese rice wine), or rice cracker etc. When you participate in the Comecome Somon tour, you learn about the history of Yamaga’s rice, malt or rice sake etc. Not just learning, we can enter to these old shops and see many traditional items that are used in the old days. And of course you can taste sake and rice cracker etc. It was a fun experience!
惣門(そうもん)地区は今でも江戸時代からの風情ある街並みが残っており、山鹿の見どころの一つとなっております。山鹿にある菊池川流域は古くから良質の米の産地で、収穫された米は船を利用して運ばれていました。その惣門地区にある商店主たちが、豊前街道沿いのお店やお寺などを『お米』というテーマで案内する街歩きの型の散策ツアー。 米米惣門ツアー に参加すると、山鹿のお米、麹、日本酒などの歴史を勉強でき、古くからあるお店の中に入って実際に昔使っていた道具などを見せて頂けます。試食や試飲もさせて頂けました^^ 自分で歩くだけでは知れない歴史を知り見て回れるので、オススメです。

〇Yamaga Onsen / Yamaga hot spring(山鹿温泉)
I loved the onsen of Yamaga because my skin became very smooth after taking a onsen. Most of Japanese onsens are little hot temperature, but the temperature of Yamaga onsen is low, so you can take a onsen for long time. In this time, we stayed Seiryuso, and take a onsen here. Our room is specious and clean. Of course foods were great! It is so comfortable time.
山鹿の温泉が私はとても好きでした♪ 入った後に肌がとてもすべすべになったことにまず感動でした。私はあまり長くお風呂に入るのが得意ではないのですが、山鹿の温泉は温度が低いので長く入ることができました。今回は山鹿の清流荘さんに泊まらせて頂き、温泉に入りました。清流荘さんはお部屋がとっても広くきれいで、ご飯もおいしかったです。とても快適で幸せな時間を過ごさせて頂きました。

〇Yamaga Lantern
Last but not least, Yamaga is famous for lanterns that are traditional paper craft. On 15th and 16th August, Yamaga Lantern Festival is held every year. During the festival, 1,000 dancers that put lanterns on their head do a traditional dance. In this time, I borrowed the traditional lantern and takes some pictures in Yachiyoza. It was first time to put a lantern on my head and I felt I was Yamaga woman.
最後に大事なことは、山鹿といえば山鹿灯篭(やまがとうろう)というほど、灯篭が有名です。山鹿の伝統工芸品です。実はこの灯篭、和紙とのりだけで作られているのも驚きです。なので頭の上にのせても重くありません。今回は灯篭を山鹿市さんに貸していただき、八千代座で写真を撮りました。灯篭を頭にのせるのは初めての経験でしたが、まるで地元の人になった気分になれました^^ 8月15・16日に行われる山鹿灯篭まつりでは、この金灯籠を頭に掲げた女性約1000人が踊るそう。いつか見てみたいです💕

In this time, I used this kimono rental shop “antique kimono rental Kashiwaya”

Some sentences of Yachiyoza and Sakurayu are from All Japan Kyoto Association.

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