<Isahaya – Omura Area>

The Shimabara Springs Group & the Todoroki Mountain Stream

25May 2016 tomocchi

Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
This time around I’ll be introducing the charms of Todoroki Mountain Stream and the Shimabara Springs group which were both chosen by the Ministry of the Environment’s “One Hundred Famous Waters of Showa”!




◆ Shimabara Springs Group (Shimabara city) ◆


Shimabara: The land of pure water.

Shimabara’s Jouka-machi is blessed with over 50 springs that dot its landscape.



The Japanese style mansion named Yuusuiteien Shimeisou (Spring-water garden Shimeisou)was built in the late Meiji Period (around 1910) and is growing in popularity among tourists from all over. It is a registered Tangible Cultural Property of Japan. “The water looks so clear that the fish swimming in it look like they’re flying through the air!” was a comment recently made on the internet about the facilities.



Japanese Carp swim lazily in this pond which can boast of producing 1,000 tons of spring water daily.

Each of the four seasons bring unique changes to Shimeisou and it’s sure to become a spot that you’ll want to visit time and time again ☆





A great way to enjoy Shimabara is to stroll around tasting the water in the different springs that dot the Jouka-machi area. There’s even a spring in the middle of the main shopping area, if you can believe it!


The spring water is so clear and refreshing ヾ(o´∀`o)ノ Depending on the spring, the taste and composition of the water is different so I highly recommend tasting a bunch to compare them ♪



This is “kanzarashi,” a famous sweet made from the spring water here. The white balls of mochi float in this amber-colored sweet syrup are soft with just a hint of sweetness ❤


This is a delicious flavor that can only be found in the land of pure water: Shimabara.



Among these numerous springs, one stands out as being unmistakably integrated into the local’s lives: Hamanokawa Spring.



If you follow the winding roads towards the back of this small residential area, you may even be lucky enough to encounter a scene of children playing!
The Hamanokawa Spring community washing area has designated places for different washing activities. For instance, the farthest one upstream is reserved for consumption whereas the lowest one can be used for laundry. These rules have been handed down for many years and are still in effect here ☆



Why not visit Shimabara’s Jouka-machi with its famous and plentiful spring water where beautiful carp swim?




◆ Todoroki Mountain Stream (Isahaya city) ◆

The Todoroki mountain stream of Isahaya city connects around 30 waterfalls deep in the forests of Mt. Tara and boasts dynamic and beautiful views created by nature and accented with immaculately clear water.



The waters of the Todoroki Waterfall make a rushing sound as they plunge into the picturesque emerald green waters of its basin. Let’s take in some negative ions with a few deep breaths (´∀`) !



The water of the Todoroki mountain stream is exceptionally pure and clear and is naturally delicious. Many people travel long distances just to get a taste ♪



I also highly recommend listening to the sounds of the forest and its birds while trekking the surrounding area!


The Todoroki mountain stream, brimming with minus ions is a popular spot for outdoorsy types as well as people just looking for some relaxation. This place is sure to leave you refreshed and feeling great ヾ(o´∀`o)ノ






Address: 125 Ni-chome Shinmachi, Shimabara city

Admission: Free

Business Hours: 9:00~17:00

Closed: Open year-round




【Todoroki Mountain Stream】

Address: Zenjuji Oyama, Takaki-cho, Isahaya city

Open Hours: Open year-round




‘monne legui mooks’ – a Popular Cafe in Hasami Town

25May 2015 tomocchi

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about the Nishinohara district of Hasami Town, with its stylish cafes and variety stores.

I went for a stroll to see what all the fuss was about ☆



This building was once a huge ceramics factory covering an area of around 4950 square metres. In recent years the building has been converted into a row of fashionable stores.



Even the bus stop has a kind of retro feel!




First, let’s go to where it all started – the spark that began the Nishinohara revival – ‘monne legui mooks’ cafe.

From the outside we can see a very retro Showa-style chimney sticking straight up out of the tiled roof.



Inside, the simple yet stylish furniture is arranged very naturally.

Even though I visited during the day on a weekday, when one might expect customers to be few, the cafe soon filled with fashionably-dressed women, until every seat was taken!

Apparently, a lot of people come from outside of Nagasaki Prefecture, having heard glowing reviews about the cafe. That’s right – this cafe is charming enough that customers make long journeys just to eat here! ☆



And yet, despite the large number of people, there is no hint of noisiness here. I guess the calm atmosphere of the café is part of what makes it so popular ☆



The daily special lunch set is just ¥980, and includes a choice of salad or soup, and a choice of one out of three main dishes.

Today’s main dishes:



Main dish #1: Chicken & Fried Aubergine (Eggplant) Coconut Milk Curry

The sweetness of the coconut milk is perfectly balanced by the zingy spiciness of the jalapeno pepper. This original curry also features the unique fragrance of coriander (cilantro) which is sure to get you hooked! ☆

This one is definitely my favourite!!



Main dish #2: Chicken Soup Rice
This light dish features komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) cooked in soy sauce and plenty of other flavourful toppings ☆
The thick chicken soup and gentle flavour of this rice dish make it a sure hit with female customers.



Main dish #3: White Fish Fritto with Seasonal Vegetables
A bittersweet sauce made with capers and mustard gives this dish a distinct moreish flavour which matches cleanly with the crisply-fried white fish ☆




After eating, I ventured upstairs, where I found some hammocks!

This room is home to a very relaxed-feeling exhibition sale of these gently swaying hammocks.

I sat down in the hammock and started to swing gently to and fro. Almost immediately I felt drowsy and soon fell into a doze…

Ah… what a perfect afternoon! I’m in heaven… zzz… 



When you visit Hasami, after you’ve picked up some ceramic wares to take home, why not stop by ‘monne legui mooks’ and pass a leisurely afternoon in this relaxing space?





monne legui mooks

Address: 2187-4 Iseki-go, Hasami-cho, Higashisonogi-gun

Tel: 0956-85-8033

Opening times: 12:00 – 22:00
Closed: Tuesday and Wednesdays

Website: http://mooks.jp/index.html




Omura International Plaza is OPEN!!

25Apr 2015 Kai

On January 24, 2015, Omura City opened an International Plaza to increase global awareness in our community. Omura city has a population of 93,921 people and 273 of these people are foreign residents. Out of the 273 foreign residents, 24 countries are represented; including Bangladesh, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, France, Germany, Norway, Romania, England, South Africa, Barbados, Canada, Jamaica, United States, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand! Such an array of people with huge amounts of culture to share with the Nagasaki community! It is my hope to bring all these people together through events and cultural learning programs.


by 満井義万


For our opening event, we invited people from different countries to join in a cultural Mash-Up concert! It was a lot of fun for the audience as well as the performers! Please check it out!   https://youtu.be/UGJkwAlMPfc


The Omura International Plaza (大村市国際交流プラザ) is a free space. We are here to provide a community service to promote internationalization.


There are tables and chairs for students to do homework. And if you need some help with your English study, I am always happy to work with you.

If you have questions about traveling abroad, we will discuss with you and try to answer all your questions. We can even check out online websites for tours and travel plans.


Would you like to study or live abroad? Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to begin that process. We can help you research schools, accomodation (homestays), money, etc. to help you find the best options for what you want to achieve while abroad.


Do you want to practice your English? I love chatting with many different people, so you are more than welcome to come and just talk.


We also want to support the local non-Japanese residents. If you have questions about your Japanese life, don’t hesitate to call us or stop by and visit!



In the Plaza, there are many books to use to study and to learn about Japanese and other countries’ culture. There are also childrens pictures books in English, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese. I would like to collect many more languages!


We also try to create fun and educational events for both Japanese and Non-Japanese residents. I hope to see you all at some of our mixers! The most popular are Global Classroom and World Kitchen! We have a lot of special events coming up in May and June, so make sure to check our website and facebook page!


And sometimes we have English storybook readings when kids come and visit!


We are thinking of new amenities for the surrounding areas everyday!


Please check out our webpage and Facebook page for past and future events!!

Please like our Facebook page and spread the International Love!




Chiwata Station

25Feb 2015 tomocchi

Today I am at Chiwata Station in Higashi Sonogi!



This station is only small, and kaisoku (rapid) trains don’t stop here… but among photography enthusiasts and railway fans, it is very famous!

People come from all over Japan just to see this station.



And when I visited, I was delighted to find that there were indeed people taking photos (^w^)



From the outset, it’s easy to fall in love with the retro exterior of the wooden station building.

And if we step inside…



This is the view from the entrance to the platforms!!



Doesn’t it look just like a photo that has been put into a frame?!

With the retro appearance of the small station building and the calm ocean stretching out before you, it’s hard not to feel as though you are setting out on a wonderful journey (* ̄∇ ̄*)




The water’s edge is right in front of the station!
The trains run right along the edge of the placid Omura Bay.



Here comes the train!!



The train runs on a curve, following the contours of the coastline, so for safety reasons the station track is built at an incline, too.



When the train pulls into the station it comes to a stop leaning slightly towards the sea. This is said to the only station built this way in the whole of Japan!


Look! The sparkling blue ocean reflects prettily in the mirrors!



Chiwata Station is only served by kakueki teisha (local) trains, which stop at every station. Please check the timetable carefully when planning a visit.



And of course, please take special care of the trains when you are visiting the station for a visit and taking photographs (o^∇^o)ノ






Chiwata Station

Address: Hiranitago, Higashisonogi-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, NagasakiPrefecture


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Koyo High School Sushi Contest in Omura!

31Oct 2014 Kai

  On Thursday, October 30, at Koyo High School, the annual Sushi Contest was held. Though it is only the fourth time for this event, it has accumulated great reputation within the Japan culinary world. Renowned chefs from various areas of Japan come to judge the students’ sushi-making ability. There are ten groups of 3 or 4 young cooks from Koyo High School’s second-grade class that compete for the ultimate status of itamae (a term used for a sushi master).




*It takes many years of learning and apprenticeship to become a true itamae.



  In the first round, each group creates a morizushi for 5 people. A morizushi is simply a platter of sushi for any given amount of people. The young chefs have only 30 minutes to create a highly elaborate display of different styles of sushi. These works of art are comprised of nigirizushi (raw fish on top of a small elongated ball of rice), saikumaki (specially designed rolled sushi), makizushi (rolled sushi), gari (pickled ginger), and baran (leaves cut into decorations, baran kazari-giri). After the alotted time, the groups bring their sushi-oke (the dish in which the sushi is served) to the front and a group of judges rank each creation on execution and final appearance.





  During the second round, each group opens for business as a demise (food stand). The groups have prepared all the necessities to serve exceptional sushi: shari (vinegared rice), neta (fish or other toppings), namida (wasabi) and yakumi (other sushi condiments such as chopped ginger, green onions, and grated daikon). To receive high marks during the evaluation, they must show their ablity in handling the ingredients, knife and other utensil skills, kitchen agility, customer service and, of course, taste.





  In the end, all teams performed outstandingly… and I was extremely full!