Landlocked Gifu prefecture is well known for insect delicacies from soy sauce boiled locusts to the more evil hornet larvae.
Held every year on Culture day (文化の日 Bunka no Hi) the 3rd of November in the small mountain city of Ena this festival attracts over 100 hornet-keepers who bring their boxed hornet nests to be weighed and sold to the public. On TV it’s plugged as Japan’s Most Dangerous Festival（日本一危険祭り Nihon Ichi Kiken Matsuri）, The chances of getting stung are fairly high (as I did) , But in reality it’s not that dangerous unless you are allergic to bees.
The festival starts at 10:00 and runs for around three hours. Festival food like venison and wild boar sausages, sticky rice goheibo mochi on a flat stick and dipped in an adult black hornet sauce are available if you get hungry and can endure the forty minute wait.
If you are a beekeeper or have no problem with little flying insects buzzing around your head, I highly recommend this festival. Just remember to bring your beekeeper’s suit if you want to go in the hornet tent. If you have asthma or hate smoke, don’t even think about the tent, the smoke bombs used are rather obnoxious.
Campgrounds and a hot spring (Onsen) are located nearby if you want to rough it. The Onsen was 600 yen and a refreshing break from the buzzing black hornets.
The night before I decided to stay on the outskirts of Toyota city at a reasonably priced hotel and take a sixty-minute drive to the festival in the morning.
Generally I try and make it to the Hattoji international villa at least once a year,but for the past two years I’ve been too busy wrapped up in my own hello world unable to take the timeout and ride my motorbike (teeny tiny scooter) to this beautiful destination.
This year I jumped at the opportunity to stay there and join friends from the Kansai Riders group.
1 year and 11 months 32,000km
This is only the second time I have taken her to the mainland for a tour and I must say for sub 500km tours I really believe this is perfect bike for Japan.
I have always wondered how my motorbike would handle the Tsurugi Super Rindo. The Kawasaki TR250 comes stock with caramel block tires but since I chewed through my last set within 10 months I decided on something more suited for the my sometimes casual commute to work and settled on these.
Although the Tsurugi Super Rindo (Rindo means forest road, btw) has the word super hacked in there, it really isn’t an extremely hard ride and if you weren’t planing on racing through it you could do it on a street bike.
I decided to do the first half and then settled on the local roads
Another year another trip to Hattoji villa. Located in the Hattoji Furusato Village, Bizen City in Okayama Prefecture. The thatch-roofed homestead was built more than a century ago remodeled to be a villa to join Okayama prefectures international villa program. The program offered cheap lodging in five(What I know of) separate locations through out Okayama prefecture. Sady in 2009 three of the villas Ushimado,Takebe and Fukiya were closed due to prefectural budget cuts. Hattoji and Shiraishi remain open and are highly recommended.
After my last leaf hunting trip I decided to give it one more chance and take another trip off island to see if I could get some better results.
At least I now know for sure that I really don’t like taking pictures of the autumn colours. Hiking through them, viewing them I love, but as the photos just don’t do them justice (well my photos don’t) it just seems like a waste of time.
Next year I’ll still continue to take photos but in reality I’d rather spend the time going on a longer hike.
I did encounter a nice udon shop which only serves 20 meals per day and I did find a few more things for my garden 🙂 so the trip was worth while.