Monthly Archives: June 2011

June is for Iris gardens and walnut trees!

Iris grow well in Japan and there are lots of iris gardens, and different varieties of iris on the roadsides of our country roads.

Here is the iris garden just around the corner from the Ryokami Onsen. (entry is free)

iris garden in Ryokami, Ogano, Chichibu-gun iris, June in Japan




TisSpewtiful heh?

And now if I can find the picture of a walnut tree.. I see a lot of these tall and magnificent trees around on my walks.







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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Mega spud harvest!

Three hours it took to get all the spuds out of the ground, and they only just fitted into the car! Check it out!




And here is the spudman!



Wow! Look at that beautiful garden!

what a garden!


And for a bonus picture: a one week old baby soya bean sprout. Come on little fella!

a soybean sprout




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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in veggie garden


Beetroot and silverbeet

I brought the seeds over from Australia to Japan, declaring them at quarantine at Narita. They opened the packet, checked, and carefully sealed it up again.

I sowed these directly in the field in early April and am now enjoying the harvest in June. And it’s great to be growing something I cannot buy locally at all. It is also a conversation starter with the locals. And the local bugs don’t seem to like the taste I don’t think!

silver beet

today’s harvest, 24th June

silver beet and spuds





Posted by on June 24, 2011 in veggie garden


Japanese apricot cordial

June is for Japanese apricots (‘ume’). They are usually pickled in salt and red perilla leaves, or put in shochu alcohol to make a liquer. But making cordial is much easier!

A friend gave me a bucket full of Japanese apricots from her tree so I just put some in a jar with sugar. (should be equal parts apricots and sugar). That is all.

The liquid comes out and next month I will use the liquid like cordial, mixing 1part cordial to 4 parts water, or so.

Japanese apricot cordial




Flower photos April and May (Spring in Japan)

blossomscherry blossoms in April

So many flowers, so little time! These are just the tip of the iceberg. Spring is a great time to visit Chichibu, if you are not allergic to all that cedar pollen that puffs off the trees, causing some people to ring the fire brigade as they mistake it for a forest fire! I walk everyday in my neighborhood, and these are just some of the views.

First of all, the field of phlox that draws tens of thousands of visitors to Chichibu in May!

Phlox at Hitsujiyama Park, ChichibuPhlox

Personally I don’t like the crowds, but the scent of the Phlox was lovely.

More Phlox (Shibazakura in Japanese)

 And now for my favourites, some of the flowers in my neighborhood.

April is for wild Japanese rose or Yamabuki. There is a pencil color named after this!

wild Japanese rose (yamabuki)Cherry blossoms on 24th April Blossoms and azalea

Azalea (yama tsutsuji)




Wisteria in May

There were so many more, but I will have to work on them next Spring.



Pickling scallions (‘rakkyo’)

June is busy in the veggie garden. We harvested the rakkyo (scallions or shallots) that we had planted last Summer. We had a magnificent crop!  We washed them, soaked them in salt water overnight and then top and tailed them today and put them in vinegar and sugar. Take a look!

Rakkyo harvest, June 2011


Rakkyo soaking in salt water

And the finished product, June 12. They will be ready to eat from — oh no! — not for another six months!I will have to wait till December, although my pickles book recipe says you can eat them after only three months if you cannot wait.

Pickled Scallions (Rakkyo)

Just in case: The pickling recipe for 1kg of rakkyo (500grams after cutting of the tops and tails) is:
2.5 cups vinegar, 1cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 or 2 chillies and 2 tablespoons salt. Boil these all together and let cool before putting in the jar.
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in veggie garden


Picking mulberries

June in Japan. There are mulberry trees everywhere on the side of the road in Chichibu. We pick them for jam, which I then mix with stewed apples to make stewed apple and mulberry desserts.


Today’s harvest!

today's harvest!


Picking wild raspberries

June in Japan. Time to go for a walk in the foothills and pick brambles, also known as maple strawberries or momiji ichigo in Japanese.

bramblesMomiji ichigo or maple strawberriesMomiji Ichigomomiji ichigo or wild raspberries

While we were out, not far from our house, we passed a tree that had had the bark torn off by a bear. It was trying to eat the honey in the bee hive in the tree trunk!

The bear and the bee hive in the tree


The road winds beside the Yatsu River. A beautiful cool spot even in Summer. Take a bear bell!

The beginning of the mountain path to Mr. Kumakura

Yatsu River, Shiroku, Chichibu


Beautiful Chichibu in Country Japan

Chichibu is a beautiful area in the mountains just north of Tokyo, with a temple pilgrimage route, mountains, rivers and hot springs. We have monkeys, deer, wild boar, bears and other wild visitors! We grow a lot of buckwheat so every second restaurant is a home-made buckwheat noodle restaurant. We are really into flowers, so half of our tourist attractions consist of fields of phlox, plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, iris, dahlia, rhododendron, azalea and more!

Stay tuned for things to do in Chichibu with kids, and other useful info in English.


Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized