Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Moooo! Bar open this weekend, June 24, 25

The Moooo! Bar will be open this Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine! We're tired of the rainy season, it's time to moo...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mooin' through the rainy season

It's been a bit cloudy and rainy on the island lately, but the Moooo! Bar cows have been working hard to get things ready for your mooing pleasure this summer! Paul has been making beach furniture so you can kick up your hooves and Amy has been building a Japanese garden for the Moooo! House girls only accommodation. Two our of three rooms are on the garden while the other faces the Moooo! Bar and the beach. 

We'll keep you updated on all things Shiraishi! Keep checking back for summer news.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Summer accommodation on Shiraishi Island, Okayama Japan

Here is an update on the availability of accommodation for this summer on Shiraishi Island. June is still pretty slow but at the same time, July and August are filling up fast, with most weekends at the villa already taken. But here is a rundown so far according to accommodation. If you want to come to the island for Obon, Aug. 12-16, book now!

Shiraishi International Villa 

Key: Light blue--all 5 rooms available. Green--3 or more rooms available. Orange--one room available. Pink--completely booked.

Completely booked for Aug 27

Shiraishi Guest House
Completely booked for July 16, Aug 12

Completely booked for July 30, Aug 6

See the website for more details on accommodation and bookings in English.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Intoducing Amano Store on Shiraishi Island

  "Amano Store"

Lately people have been asking me just how big the "super market" is on Shiraishi Island. This is especially relevant to those staying several days in accommodation such as the Villa, or Shiraishi Guest House, where there is a kitchen to cook your own food.

How large it is depends on how you see things: either the supermarket is half-empty or half-full. If you booked through the Okayama International Villa web page, they'll lead you to believe that you'll absolutely starve if you don't bring your own food to the island. This is simply not true (how do they think the islanders survive?!). While the variety of goods is not huge, it is definitely enough to get by and covers all the basics.

For an island of just 440 people, it seems to me like we have a pretty good store, but I'll let you be the judge.

Amano Store (086-568- 3015 proficient Japanese only) is open every day from 8:00 am to 6 pm (although they're usually open by 7 am in the summer). It is restocked every morning at 11:00 am except for Sundays when they are open regular hours but do not stock new items. (Please note that if you are coming to the island on the last ferry from the mainland, the store will be closed before you arrive).

There are four isles. Here are some samplings:

Vegetables: Most of your western-type veggies such as lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, onions, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber and garlic. Also lotus root, daikon radish, ginger root, negi.

Fruits: apples, bananas, kiwi, and seasonal fruits such as strawberries, grapes and berries. There are cantaloupe, pineapple and peaches, but they're mostly for gift purposes so are expensive.

The Meat Section: 

Mostly chicken, wieners and sandwich meat (ham).  There is usually a little bit of salmon but not much fish since most people here are fishermen, so the last thing they want is more fish!

Instant food:

There is some ready to eat (or nearly ready to eat) food like tofu, yogurt, shumai, gyoza, canned tuna, corn, frosted flakes (the only cereal), instant ramen, curry, premium crackers and Ritz crackers. They stock spaghetti and pasta curls but no sauces, but you can make your own as they sell both canned tomatoes and fresh. There is a wide selection of snacks (chips as well as senbei rice crackers and cookies). If you're lucky, you'll find a bento lunch or onigiri before someone else does.

Not pictured but also available: bread, milk, eggs, cream, butter, margarine, cheese, soy milk, mayonnaise, cooking oil, soy sauce, mirin, miso, and other basic cooking needs.

They also stock personal hygiene items: shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, women's hygiene products (including, rather impressively for the Japanese countryside, tampons). 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Moooo! Bar open today, Sunday May 8!

Today is a special opening of the Moooo! Bar for those who had planned on coming out for Golden Week but were forced to change plans according to Mother Nature. Just a slight delay in the bovine social schedule...

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Shiraishi Pilgrimage No.s 58-65

Thanks to the students of the Canadian Academy in Kobe 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.

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. 

Yamatatsunamisou is a wildflower found in the spring on the pilgrimage

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)

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