Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The 2-day Shiraishi Pilgrimage

 For those coming out to the island to do the Shiraishi Pilgrimage, an ancient 10km route with 88 shrines placed along it (mostly through the forest), the Moooo! Bar is now providing Pilgrim hats and staffs along with copies of the map, so guests can get the real "henro" (pilgrim) experience! Pilgrim hut accommodation also available for 2,000 yen per person per night. To do the entire route takes two days.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Hana Matsuri, Shiraishi Island (the bathing Buddha ritual) #japan

Yesterday, I took some of the villa guests up to the island's temple to the Hana Matsuri to celebrate Buddha's birthday. There, we took part in a ritual called "bathing Buddha" in which we poured amacha (sweet tea) over a statue of the Buddha. The amacha symbolizes the sweet rain that is said to have fallen on the day of Buddha's birth over 2,500 years ago.

 This small display was set out in front of the temple. Notice the Buddha statue in the center.

 Pouring sweet tea over the Buddha, bathing him.

After performing the ritual, the Buddhist priest invited us in for green tea and a chat. It was wonderful to see my old friend the priest, again. We had our photos taken with him, including his grandchildren who were visiting from the mainland.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Shiraishi Island on NHK World "J-Trip Plan" program tonight, May 1, 2017

Shiraishi and the Kasaoka Islands will be featured tonight on NHK World's "J-Trip Plan" program! Those in Japan can watch at Monday, May 1 at 23:30 (Japan time). It's on late because it's aligned to the viewing times abroad, however, there are some repeat viewings on May 2 as well. See the link below for more information and viewing times. 


Friday, April 28, 2017

Moooo! Bar open for Golden Week (April 29-May 7) #shiraishiisland #japan

 Get away from the crowds and relax on a small island in the Seto Inland Sea. Moooo! Bar opens today for Golden Week (April 29-May 7). Plenty of accommodation available.

See you on Shiraishi Island!

Monday, April 03, 2017

The new Sanyo Kisen ferry terminal to Shiraishi Island #okayama #japan #setonaikai

If you've been to the Kasaoka islands before, you're in for a real shock. The Sanyo Kisen ferry terminal at Kasaoka Port is in a new building! Opened March 18, it's located right next to the old, decrepit concrete building, so it won't be hard to find. Not only does it have decent toilets inside (finally!) it also has heating and air conditioning (whoa!). It no longer looks like you're about to get on a boat to go to some backwater, off the beaten track islands (even though you are). 

The outside of the new terminal. They've named it "minatokobanashi," whatever that means. 

The inside waiting room, facing the sea.

Unfortunately, there is no new terminal building at the car ferry port (Fushigoeko). Dream on...

I also noticed that there are new signs showing the way to the new ferry terminal from Kasaoka Station. These signs will direct you to an overpass/pedestrian bridge that goes over Route 2. If you have luggage and don't want to take the stairs, you can go down to the traffic light and cross at the pedestrian zebra crossing instead.

Updated April 29, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Shiraishi Island Cherry Blossom Party, April 9 #setonaikai #Japan #ohanami

It's April and time to start of the Daily Moooo Blog again to bring you up to date on what's happening on Shiraishi Island. We're looking forward to another great season on the island and we hope you'll come and enjoy it with us.

First and foremost, we have San-chan's Cherry Blossom party on Sunday, April 9th.

 This is always a good time and a great chance to party with the locals under the cherry trees! While we'll all miss Man-chan, who used to dance for us every year, we hope that attendees will still bring their instruments and break out into song, as usual. The price is 3,000 yen for all you can eat and drink! See their FB event page here.

If you miss the party, you can still catch the blossoms and maybe even a night cherry blossom session if you stay overnight on the island.

The weather should be warming up from this Monday, with highs in the low 20's, so be sure to get out to see the cherry blossoms. This is Japan's most special time of the year. And here on Shiraishi Island, you can see the blossoms with the backdrop of the azure Seto Inland Sea...ahhhhh, now THAT'S special!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shiraishi Pilgrimage Trail section 58-65 now open to hikers

Thanks to Green Bird Okayama who came out to the island as volunteers to clean the pilgrimage trail, a new section of the route is now open for hikers! Numbers 58 to 65 are now cleared for tourists to walk. This route is right across from the International Villa, so is easy to access and a great place to start for those interested in experiencing the mini Shikoku Pilgrimage first-hand. It goes through the deep forest and ends up down on the beach. Of the 88 stone statues on the island, this section will take you past eight of these small Buddhist shrines.

Note: Please keep in mind that there are many other trails on the island, including a hiking course, that can be hiked year-round. The 400-year-old Pilgrimage trail is subject to availability as there is no funding to keep it maintained and thus is dependent upon kind-hearted volunteers to keep the ancient trail open and to preserve this slice of Japan's local history. Thank you volunteers!

No. 58-65
Distance: 0.9 km
Time: 20 mins hiking, 10 mins trail running
Terrain: fairly easy with two small but steep inclines and declines
Trail condition: Cleared, easy to navigate, shady
Trail features: Hilly, small bamboo forest, yamazakura, wild flowers: yamatatsunamisou

Shiraishi Pilgrimage No. 61Kōon-ji 香園寺

To get to the trail, look for the trail head right across from the international villa. This is the trail head for both the hiking course and the pilgrimage trail. The trail goes up to the right of the sign. 

Soon you'll see an option to either stay on the high road or take the low road. Take the low road.

In another 20 meters, look for another trail coming in on the right. This one is a little less obvious, so don't miss it. Take the low road again. 

Presto! You're now on the pilgrimage path, on your happy way to enlightenment. This path takes you past all the shrines 65 to 58 in descending order. Eventually you'll come out among a few houses and a road that leads you to the beach. From the beach you can easily walk back to the villa. 

Shrines on this section of the pilgrimage: 

No. 65 Sankaku-ji (三角寺)
No. 64 Maegami-ji (前神寺)
No. 63 Kichijō-ji (吉祥寺)
No. 62 Hōju-ji (宝寿寺)
No. 61 Kōon-ji (香園寺)
No. 60 Yokomine-ji (横峰寺)
No. 59 Iyo Kokubun-ji (伊予国分寺)
No. 58 Senyū-ji (仙遊寺)

More links:

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