UCC Shiga Factory tours in Echigawa, Aisho

The UCC Shiga Factory (UCC滋賀工場) in Aisho, Shiga Prefecture (near Ohmi Railways Echigawa Station) started full-scale operations in March 2013 to make regular coffee in plastic bottles (930 ml) and cans (300 ml and 400 ml) with screw-on caps. It uses the clean water from the Suzuka mountains to make the coffee. UCC is a very famous coffee brand in Japan synonymous with canned coffee since they invented and popularized canned coffee in 1969. “UCC” stands for “Ueshima Coffee Company” named after Ueshima Tadao who founded the company in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture in 1933. Coffee was one of the Western things that came

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Shiga food and gifts 2017

This post kicks off a new blog category named “Shiga Food & Gifts.” I’ll be trying Shiga’s food, beverages, and other products. This post will be updated from time to time. Finally did a taste test of Koka Cola vs. Coca-Cola. Taste is almost identical. (Ingredients in both are almost identical.) But Coca-Cola is fizzier. Biggest difference is the price: ¥225 vs. ¥75. Koka Cola is made in Koka w/permission of Coca-Cola. #甲賀コーラ #滋賀酒造株式会社 pic.twitter.com/RLZJtjBlOu — Shiga Headlines (@ShigaHeadlines) December 7, 2018 Funazushi-flavored potato chips will go on sale from Nov. 13 in the Kinki Region. They look like regular chips, but

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Buddhist altars made in Shiga Prefecture

Updated: May 7, 2017 Shiga Prefecture has three handicrafts officially designated as a “Traditional Craft” by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (経済産業大臣指定伝統的工芸品). “Traditional crafts” as defined by the Japanese government are handicrafts used in everyday life that are largely handmade using traditional techniques and traditional materials. And they are made in a specific area. Shiga’s three designated traditional crafts are Omi jofu hemp cloth (近江上布), Shigaraki pottery (信楽焼), and Hikone butsudan (彦根仏壇) or household Buddhist altars made in Hikone. Japan has over thirty cities and areas that produce household Buddhist altars (“butsudan” in Japanese). Fifteen of them are officially designated as a “Traditional Craft Production Area” (伝統的工芸品産地指定) by the Minister of Economy, Trade and

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Otsu-e paintings then and now

Anyone who visits Otsu will sooner or later see an Otsu-e painting (大津絵). It can be a picture of an ogre (oni), wisteria maiden (Fuji-musume), Buddhist figure, or other surreal or whimsical human, god, or animal. Otsu-e paintings originated as a folk art around 1624-44 and were made and sold by roadside stands in Oiwake near Otsu-juku, the last post town on the Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads before people arrived in Kyoto from Tokyo (Edo). The earliest Otsu-e pictures during 1624-44 depicted mainly Buddhist images. People worshipped these images as an affordable alternative for expensive Buddha statues. Otsu-e paintings were unsigned by anonymous artists and

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Yahei hot chili peppers in Konan

Updated: June 1, 2018 Meet Yukiyo Mitaka and Yuzu Sasaki (三峰 教代・佐々木 由珠), a young and peppy pair of hot chili pepper farmers in Konan, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Under their company name and brand of fm craic (not a radio station), they grow a unique and local variety of super-hot chili peppers called yahei togarashi (弥平とうがらし). They plant, grow, harvest, process, package, and sell the yahei hot chili peppers as blended spices, sauces, and confections. They do everything by themselves. Just the two of them. They’ve also become media darlings, appearing in numerous Japanese print media and even on TV. And they now appear here at

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Shiga Food and Crafts Fair in Tokyo

Video link: http://youtu.be/aYVMeAMgaW8 My short video of the Omi-ten Shiga Prefecture Food and Crafts Fair (第26回 琵琶湖夢街道大近江展) held at Takashimaya Dept. Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo during Feb. 25-March 3, 2014. On March 2 (Sun.), we checked out some of Shiga’s trademark products including funazushi fermented fish, Omi beef, Biwa pearls, Otsu-e paintings, and the latest book from Sunrise Shuppan. Hiko-nyan also made an appearance on the rooftop stage. We bought quite a bit of food, but found no place to sit and eat inside the dept. store. The food section had a tiny dining area, but it was too crowded. There was the

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Hikone: A Journey in Time (manga review)

HikoneManga1

Updated: Nov. 7, 2014 The Hikone Board of Education has published a manga comic booklet in English titled, Hikone: A Journey in Time. Targeting tourists, the black-and-white manga explains about Hikone’s feudal history and cultural sights through the eyes of John, a fictitious 20-year-old lad from Michigan (Shiga’s sister state) visiting Hikone while staying with a Japanese family. The A5-size, 70-page booklet is available for 500 yen at the Hikone Castle Museum next to the ticket booth where you enter Hikone Castle. The manga story starts off with John visiting Hikone Castle with his host family, the Tachibanas who have a 12-year-old daughter

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2012年の大近江展

Shiga Prefecture Food and Craft Fair (Dai-Omiten) at Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Feb. 24 to March 1, 2012. 外国人が多い東京に大近江展の外国語の宣伝がまったくありませんでした。びわこビジターズビューローの外国語Facebookやホームページにまったく掲載なし。 Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo is currently holding the Dai-Omiten (大近江展) food and craft fair featuring stuff from Shiga Prefecture. In one corner, this Sagicho Festival float decoration is on display. The festival has 13 floats and each one has an elaborate decoration with the year’s Oriental zodiac sign. What’s incredible is that the decorations are made of edible things. For example, the dragon’s teeth are cashew nuts. The Sagicho festival is held in mid-March (17th and 18th

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