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:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Typhoon 16 update--good news for Seto Naikai area #japan

Typhoon 16 is currently passing near the Seto Inand Sea and although there is lots of rain, there isn't much wind. The storm changed direction and rather than coming directly over this area, it is skirting up the Eastern side of Shikoku and heading Northeast. The typhoon's central pressure is 960 and will rise to 970 by afternoon. By 3pm, the storm will have passed and we'll have clear skies and sunshine!

The ferries to Shiraishi Island should be functioning. We'll let you know here if, for some reason, they temporarily stop running. Those who have reservations on the island today should still be able to get here, although we recommend taking an afternoon ferry to avoid the heavy rains.

Note: The car ferry is more reliable in inclement weather than the passenger ferry. Ferry times to Shiraishi Island, leaving from Fushigoe Port are: 11 am Shiraishi Ferry (orange boat), 13:00 pm Kanafuromaru (white ferry with a big picture of Mt. Fuji on the side), 14:40 Shiraishi Ferry. 15:25 Kanafuromaru, 17:00 Shiraishi Ferry.

See you on the island!

This update was Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6:25 am JST. For more information about the typhoon, see the Japan Meteorological Association website. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Update on Typhoon 16, Shiraishi Island, Seto Inland Sea, Japan

This slow moving typhoon is taking its time, sauntering North from Taiwan and should amble to Japan's Kyushu Island by Tuesday and these parts of the Seto Inland Sea by Wednesday. At that point, the typhoon itself will be slouching around as a tropical storm, at 990 hectopascals of pressure; not even enough wind to stop the ferries! But there will be rain and today's forecast is for rain on and off. Once the typhoon arrives, heavy rain is possible. By Thursday, we should be back to fine weather again on the island!

PS The Moooo! Bar will be open serving typhoon moogaritas throughout....:)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September on Shiraishi Island, #Japan #setoinlandsea #beaches


September is a great time to be on the island and reservations have been rolling in for the long weekend of Sept. 16-19, the holiday of Sept 22 and the last weekend in Sept, the 24th and 25th. Here is a current selection of availability (or non-availability, however you want to look at it):

International Villa fully booked Sept. 18
Shiraishi Guest House fully booked Sept. 24

If you'd like to come out to the island in September, get your reservations in soon! See the Moooo! Bar website for accommodation options.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shiraishi Island Fireworks Festival Aug. 27: Lodging availability update #Japan #setonaikai #SetoInlandSea

We're headed into the last big event of the summer: the Shiraishi Fireworks Festival, billed as the smallest fireworks festival in Japan! It's true, but it's a community effort where everyone contributes a little bit to the fireworks fund and on the night of the festival live bands play on the beach and the fireworks are set off right off the shore on the water. They're so close when they burst into "fire flowers" that you feel like you can touch them! Don't miss it this Saturday night! Here is the current availability for overnight on the island:

Shiraishi Guest House: Full.
Shiraishi International Villa: 3 rooms available (2 ppl per room)
Amagiso: Still has some rooms
Moooo! House: Three women-only tatami mat rooms or one group of males and females 6-8 ppl. Perfect for families. A step above camping!
Camping: Always free on Shiraishi Island Beach!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shiraishi Island Fireworks Festival and Live Bands on the beach Aug. 27th #Japan

The Moooo! Bar on Shiraishi Island is open every day through August. From September, we'll be open only on Sundays and by appointment. 

The last event of the summer is the Shiraishi Fireworks Festival and Live Band Night on the beach Aug. 27th. There are still a few rooms available at the Shiraishi International Villa. Contact us at shiraishireservations at yahoo dot come for availability for that Saturday night. Camping on the beach is free!

See you on the island! 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Shiraishi Island completely booked for Obon period Aug 12-16

Sunset from the Moooo! Bar, Shiraishi Island

Shiraishi Island is completely booked for the Obon period from August 12-16th. Rooms are available starting August 16th. You may still come out for a day trip or camping on the beach!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shiraishi Island accommodation fully booked July 30, camping & day trips still on offer

Moooo! Bar sunbeds on the beach! 1,000 yen per person and relax all day in the shade or (sun), sipping on a moogarita. Ahhhh, summer vacation!

Accommodation is all booked for Saturday, July 30 on Shiraishi Island. Camping on the beach is always free, however, and you can still come out for a day trip

The summer is heating up, come on out for a swim!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Accommodation Update, Shiraishi Island #setonaikai #beaches #japan

 The Shiraishi Island Bon Dance to be performed Aug. 13-16

Accommodation update as of July 24:

International Villa Full:
July 27, 28 Aug. 4, 6-12, 17-19, 22-24, 27 Sept. 3-4, 18

Moooo! House Full: July 29-31, two rooms left Aug. 12-16

Make your accommodations now while there is still space available for the Obon holiday. Schedule for the Shiraishi Bon Dance:
Aug. 13-15 19:30-23:00
Aug. 16 19:00 Toronagashi (paper lanterns set out on the sea), 20:00-23:00 Shiraishi Dance on the beach

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Calm returns to Shiraishi Island #setoinlandsea #japan

The sun sets at the Moooo! Bar on the beach on Shiraishi Island

We had a great Sea Day weekend on the island and we were run off our little hooves at the Moooo! Bar. We were treated to some truly stunning sunsets too! But now things have returned to normal and we are relaxing with moogaritas in our hooves. We do hope you'll join us! Lowing softly...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Last-minute accommodation available Sea Day weekend!

When accommodation is all full on Shiraishi Island, we open up the Moooo! House for individuals and groups of up to 8 people. This is your opportunity to sleep in bovine paradise with the Moooo! Bar and the beach in your front yard, and a Japanese garden in your backyard. The Moooo! House is only 2,000 yen per person per night. While we're sure you'll love staying with us, be aware that the reason it's so cheap is because there is no WiFi, no aircon and the bathing facilities are basic, with cold water only. Afterall, us cows don't need many luxuries as long as we have our moogaritas and pina mooladas in the trough. Three rooms available (two 6-mat rooms and one 4-mat room) in this traditional Japanese-style house where you can experience what it was like to live Japanese style in the old days. It does have its charm.

Contact us if you'd like to mooove in here this weekend (July 16-18) at shiraishireservations at yahoo dot com.

Have a happy Sea Day!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

At the Moooo! Calfe this summer: Gourmet Pudding!

Exciting desserts are coming to the Moooo! Calfe this summer.

One is a special pudding from the MouMou Kitchen. Located in Kasaoka, this restaurant owns 600 cows and sells all kinds of dairy products, one of them being this pudding made from the milk of heiffers who have just given birth. This heiffer's milk for the first 10 days is prized for its concentration of nutrients and is supposed to be very healthy! I'm presuming that that calves are also willing to share their meal with us, because we wouldn't want to short change them.

But hay, it just goes to show that what's good for cows is good for humans. Not that you had any doubts...

Monday, July 04, 2016

Mushiokuri--Sending off of the bad insects, Shiraishi Island, Japan

 Bye-bye insects!

It was a busy few on Shiraishi Island as people used the first weekend in July to start off the summer season with style. In addition to a full crowd at the Moooo! Bar and 35 or so boats participating in the Shiraishi Yacht race, Sunday morning the annual mushi okuri festival worked its magic. This ceremony is to rid the island of harmful insects who destroy crops and buildings. How do they get rid of these insect? Easy, just call out to them and tell'em to get in the boat! The islanders carry a small wooden/straw boat through the fields and around the island calling singing a chant. Once all the baddies have eagerly jumped in, the boat is launched from the beach and it's bye-bye baddies! It's a quaint and adorable festival and our island is one of the few places in Japan that still performs the ritual. Although you missed it, you can read my article about it, or watch a short video of it, here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Opening of the Sea Ceremony (umibiraki) on Shiraishi Island, Japan #setonaikai

The altar in front of the sea. The Tenrikyo priest blesses the sea to make it safe for swimming.

Today's "umibiraki" or Opening of the Sea ceremony, was held in the pouring rain! Shiraishi Island is ready to welcome tourists for a safe season of beach play and swimming!

It's hard to believe that the rain is going to lift and we're going to have sunny weather for this weekend! Sunday is a big day on the island with the Shiraishi Yacht Race taking place and also the Mushi Okuri Festival (throwing the bad insects off the island!). You can read about last year's insect festival here here. 

Starting July 1, the Moooo! Bar is open every day through the end of August. Check out our new sunbeds and tables on the beach!

See you on the island!

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 525 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...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New public toilets on the beach--Whoa, and they're Western style toilets!

Just in case you were wondering...

The new public toilets on the beach. Hey, this is important--They're Western style! And wheelchair accessible. Campers rejoice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Come out to Shiraishi Island for Golden Week! #japan

 Spring flowers on the Shiraishi Pilgrimage trail

 Golden Week is almost here! Starting April 29, Japan will experience a number of consecutive national holidays thru May 5 and we welcome all those who decide to spend their holiday on Shiraishi Island. It's a great time of year here; the weather is perfect and there aren't very many tourists. Sanchan's restaurant will be open and the Moooo! Bar will too, so please come join the herd!

We always have a few campers on the beach for Golden Week and this year's camping herd will be happy to know that the public toilets on the beach have been refurbished. Western toilets and a general face lift of the site should make everyone happy. After all, it's the little things in life :)

Fresh water is also available from a tap outside the restroom block.

I have lots of other announcements, but will try to tackle them one day at a time.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Shiraishi Pilgrimage opens, Shiraishi Island, #Japan

Thanks to the students at the Canadian Academy in Kobe who came out to the island last weekend and helped clean the Shiraishi Pilgrimage trail! Thanks to these volunteers, the path from number 58 to 64 is open and ready for hiking or running! This part of the route is right across from the International Villa, so easily accessible to guests staying there.

Shrine No. 61 

The route, with mountain cherry blossom petals. 

Enjoy the springtime on the island!  

The Moooo! Bar will be open for Golden Week. More details soon!

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