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(Postponed to April) Soba Making @ 苔香居 Taikoukyo, A Time Capsule of an Ancient Japanese Home (#45)

The entrance of Taikoukyo

No matter how long you have been living in Japan, apparently there are still many hidden treasures yet to be discovered. This time we will take a time flip and lead everyone to visit a 400 years old house in Kamikatsura, Kyoto.

Through the stone pathed garden, it leads to the main building.

Taikoukyo is the house’s nick name belonging to the Yamaguchi family, and it was registered as a cultural heritage 12 years ago. Tai means moss in Japanese and Taikoukyo means a residence filled the fragrance of moss. The Yamaguchi family has well preserved this old house up until now at their 20th generations, and it was used as a residence for the family until 2003. Since the family has relocated, it is now occasionally opened to the public under very special arrangements.

A view of the Japanese moss garden from the main guest room. Can you see the dog?

The garden is filled with many types of mosses. They are grown naturally without artificial care or watering.

Here we were, making a preliminary tour of the house. 

We Are One organizers will guide you around the house and garden, while groups will take turn to experience soba-making at the traditional kitchen using firewood and charkol. Rice made from the Meiji-era-furnace, some side dishes and Japanese Tea will also be served. Let’s enjoy a Sunday afternoon under the moss-filled roof of Taikoukyo, immersed in Japanese history and experience its rich culture in this hidden treasure.

A view taken from the main guest room.

The 20th generation of the Yamaguchi family in this house, Mr. Yamaguchi explained to us about this tea room in the middle of the forested garden.

Date & Time:       postponed to April. Please register with us at we.are.one.japam@gmail.com if you are interested. 
Meeting place:    Hankyu Kamikatsura Station 11:00
Venue name:      苔香居 (http://taikoukyo.com/)11 上桂駅で待ち合わせ
Venue address:  西山の麓 苔香居
                                  〒615-8174 京都市西京区山田上ノ町25
Access:            ・阪急嵐山線
        「上桂駅」より 西へ徒歩10
        「桂駅」より タクシー7分 

  • Presentation of Taikoukyo
  • Guided tour in Taikoukyo
  • Soba making workshop in an ancient Japanese kitchen from Meiji Period
  • Lunch with Soba, rice, side dishes, snacks and Japanese tea
  • Quiz, stand a chance to win a free stay at a newly reformed Machiya inn at Kawaramachi. Sponsored by Kyoto Machiya Inn
Cost: 4000yen (adult), 2500yen (children 6~12 years, FOC for children 5 and below)

RSVP by 10th March Thursday with participants' names, number of children to we.are.one.japan@gmail.com.

For enquiries email us at we.are.one.japan@gmail.com

A waiting from for the guests before they proceed to the tea house

日本では、まだあまり人に知られていない宝物がたくさん隠れています。今回We Are Oneは、皆さんと一緒に歴史の回廊に入って、京都上桂にある 400年の歴史を持つ苔香居を訪ねます。
Stone decorations in the forested garden

Travel through the time and back to this kitchen from the Meiji period. Much of it remain unchanged ever since.


日時:                   4月に延期させていただきます、ご興味をお持ちの方 
                          we.are.one.japan@gmail.com まで登録してください。
待ち合わせ場所:   阪急•上桂駅/11:00
場所名:               苔香居 
住所:                  西山の麓 苔香居
                         〒615-8174 京都市西京区山田上ノ町25
アクセス:          ・阪急嵐山線
        「上桂駅」より 西へ徒歩10分
        「桂駅」より タクシー7分 
  • 苔香居のプレゼンテーション
  • 苔香居のガイドツアー
  • そば作りのワークショップ(明治時代からの伝統的な日本の台所で体験!)
  • ランチ(そば/ご飯/おかず/スナック/日本茶)
  • クイズ(優勝者には河原町にある最近改装されたばかりのまちやの一泊無料サービス券がゲットできます!スポンサーはKyoto Machiya Innより)

コスト:    4000円(大人)2500円(子供6~12歳、5歳以下は無料)


A pot cover made of wood

We will be using this to cook rice for everyone.

Besides the kitchen there is an ancient well. According to the owner it is as deep as 10m. 
We will be using this well water for cooking and making tea.

Japanese umbrellas made of paper remain functional withstanding the test of time.

Taikoukyo was registered as Culture Heritage some 12 years ago but it is not fully open to public.

This is an ancient "car" (乗り物). It has no wheels!


We Are One #44 Ume Plum Blossom Viewing & Picnic @ Osaka Castle Park

English Text by Misako Ozawa
Japanese Text by Naomi Takaoka
Photos by Sadao & Sandra
Photo captions by Tong

After the long and freezing winter of this year, spring seems to be peeking in on our lives here and there finally! Along with it has come the blossoming of Japanese plum trees across the beautiful island country. Blossom viewing is rooted deeply in Japanese history and culture, where people appreciate and cherish beautiful natures. That Ume plum or cherry blossom last only for a month adds up to graceful beauty. 

Thanks to Sandra, Sadao and Carrie for reserving such a big and good location for us. Near the water and flowers.

On February 26th, the sunny and crisp weather brought more than 70 people, young and old, man and woman, Japanese and foreigners all together to We Are One Ume Plum Blossom Viewing & Picnic at Osaka Castle Park to share the pinkish spring scenes with loved friends. I came in late for about an hour, but was able to spot the biggest and crowded group of people among other groups in the park without any 

Not only the beautiful Ume blossom, but also a variety of foods and drinks they brought such as handmade rice balls and sweets satisfied their heart and stomach as “花より団子(hana yori dango)” well explains it! If you are a Japanese beginner, this is a good phrase to remember for this time of the year. It means “Bread is better than the songs of the birds,” as people are usually too busy eating (and socializing) to have time to look at the surrounding flowers. So, it’s maybe flowers that enjoy viewing hungry people! Agree?

I gave up counting but there should be around 80 people.

Hope to see you all at another and now most popular cherry blossom viewing, which I’m sure WAO is going to organize soon!

Igna & Mari

My new friends today: Taiwanese architect, Australian couple, Japanese yoga trainer & her niece, Indonesian student, Hong Kong lady.

Mari, Carrie & Midori. 3 girls, 3 nationalities, can you make a guess?


Obviously we had some young and energetic ladies with us.




続々と参加者がやって来て、おそらく70人、いや、80人は優に超えていたかもしれません。お子様連れ、カップル、Deaf Japanのメンバーの方々も何人かお見受けしました。そして各々が持ち寄った飲み物や食べ物をみんなと分け合い、友達との会話に花を咲かせました。美しく咲き誇る梅をカメラに収めようと一所懸命な方もいらっしゃいました。


しかしまぁ、太陽の日差しが眩しいのなんの…(>_<)。 思わずWAOの看板(意外と軽い)を日よけ代わりに使ってしまいました。(笑) 向きを変えて座ればいいだけの話だったんですけどね。^_^; 

Mondo (Wendu) & JJ




Japan is famous for its Sakura Cherry Blossom in April, however, do you know that Ume Plum Blossom was actually more preferred in the Nara Period (8th century), while Sukura only gained its popularity from Heian Period (794-1185)?

Ume Plum Blossom blooms almost everywhere in Japan from late January to February. Hence, it is a good indication that Spring has finally arrived.

八重野梅 (やえやばい)

On 26th Feb, Saturday, We Are One Japan will be having a Ume Plum Blossom viewing and picnic at Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園) where more than 1000 Ume Plum Blossom trees would be blooming at their fullest. Please bring along some food and drinks to share with everyone, and let’s have an international party under the white, pinkish, reddish Ume Plum Blossom.


Date & Time: 26th Feb 2011 Saturday, 1pm ~ 430pm
Venue: Osaka Castle Park Ume Garden 梅林 (See map below)
Cost: Free
What to bring:
  • Food & Drinks
  • Ground sheets
  • Cameras
  • Families & Friends
RSVP: we.are.one.japan@gmail.com

Note: The event might be cancelled or postponed due to bad weather. If in doubt please check again on this website or contact we.are.one.japan@gmail.com.

 香篆 (こうてん)



2月26日(土)、We Are One Japanは大阪城公園で梅のお花見&ピクニックパーティを開催します。満開時には大阪城公園は1,000本以上の梅の花で埋め尽くされます。みんなとシェアできるような食べ物や飲み物をご持参下さい。白、ピンク、赤色に咲き乱れる梅の花の下でインターナショナルなパーティーをしましょう。
 鹿児島紅 (かごしまこう)

日時:2011年2月26日(土)、1:00 p.m. ~ 4:30 p.m.
場所:大阪城公園 梅林 (一番下にある地図を参照)