UCC coffee factory tours in Aisho, Shiga

This post has been updated in Oct. 2017 here: UCC Shiga Factory tours in Echigawa, Aisho The new UCC Shiga Factory (UCC滋賀工場) in Aisho, Shiga Prefecture has started free factory tours from April 2, 2013. UCC is a famous coffee brand in Japan synonymous with canned coffee. The Shiga factory started full-scale operation in March 2013 and makes coffee in plastic bottles (930 ml) and cans (300 ml and 400 ml) with screw-on caps. The free factory tours are conducted twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They offer two tours on both days starting at 10 am and 1 pm.

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Plum blossoms in Shiga Prefecture

Updated: Jan. 4, 2017 Plum blossoms, called ume (梅) in Japanese, have absolutely the sweetest and most pacifying fragrance of all the flowers in Japan. Whenever you see plum blossoms, put your nose right next to the flower and smell. It will sooth your soul. There are many varieties of plum blossoms, but they basically white, pink, or red and each color smells differently. The white ones have the most dainty smell, while the red ones have a stronger and more concentrated sweet smell. Plum blossoms have been an intricate part of Japanese culture, art, and aesthetics for centuries. The term shochikubai

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Golden Week festivals in Shiga

Golden Week is Japan’s spring vacation from late April to early May with a string of national holidays. April 29 is Showa Day (set to April 30 this year since the 29th is Sun.), May 3 is Constitution Day, May 4 Greenery Day, and May 5 Children’s Day. This year’s calendar in 2012 can make it a nine-day holiday for the working folk if they only take off on two working days (May 1 and 2). In Shiga, it is prime time for matsuri festivals. There are so many matsuri during this time that it took me at least 4 or

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Shiga fireworks in summer 2010

Here’s the fireworks (hanabi) schedule for Shiga Prefecture in summer 2010 listed by date: July 17, 2010 Echigawa Gion Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Aisho, 7:30 pm – 9:20 pm Along the Echigawa River bank near Miyukibashi Bridge. If rained out, to be postponed to July 18. 愛知川祇園納涼祭花火大会 More info: 愛荘町秦荘観光協会/愛荘町愛知川観光協会 TEL:0749-37-8051 http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~e-machi/new/hanabitaikai.html July 24, 2010 Kashiwabara-juku Yaito Matsuri fireworks, 9 pm – 9:20 pm Near JR Kashiwabara Station in Maibara. 柏原宿やいとまつり More info: 中山道柏原宿やいと祭実行委員会 TEL:0749‐57‐0256 http://yaito.kashiharasyuku.com/ Aug. 1, 2010 Hikone Dai-Hanabi Taikai at Matsubara Beach, Hikone, 7:45 pm – 8:30 pm 30-min. walk from Hikone Station. If rained out, to be postponed

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Japanese school for Brazilians reopens in Aisho

Santana Gakuen (サンタナ学園) in Aisho is a school catering to Brazilian children. However, due to the children’s parents losing their factory jobs in Shiga due to the recession, the kids could no longer afford the tuition. The school’s enrollment of over 100 shrank to 67 by last autumn, and 40 of them were unable to pay the tuition. The school could no longer pay the Japanese teacher and so the school was closed in early 2009. Coming to the rescue was Okuda Yuko (奥田祐子), an English teacher who met the school principal (Tanaka Kenko 中田ケンコ校長) and offered to teach Japanese to the kids

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Kongorinji temple installs new Mandala

Kongorinji temple (金剛輪寺), one of the Koto Sanzan temple trio of Tendai Buddhist temples (National Treasures) in Aisho, eastern Shiga, lost its precious Mandala about 140 years ago during the Meiji Era (it is now owned by Nezu Art Museum in Tokyo and designated as an Important Cultural Property). They tried to get it back from the museum but to no avail. So in April 2005, they set out to create a duplicate Mandala and it was recently completed after four years of painstaking art work. A service was held on May 10, 2009 at the temple to transfer a

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Selling more bin-temari in Aisho

  Chunichi Shimbun newspaper reported on April 9, 2009 that sales of bin-temari in Aisho town has increased by 150% during fiscal 2008 compared to last year. The local tourist association sold some 173 bin-temari this year, priced from 18,000 yen to 30,000 yen. “Bin” means bottle, and “temari” is a threaded ball. The bin-temari is a round glass ball with a threaded ball inside. Bin-temari come in different sizes and an infinite number of threaded-ball designs. It also makes a great wedding gift since the round shape symbolizes harmony of the heart and family. You can also clearly see inside.

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