Takamori Dengaku

  

This is Takamori Dengaku which is a local dish at Takamori Aso.

Yamame trout, taro, tofu, konnyaku, and other vegetables are featured. 

They are basted with flavored miso (bean paste) and are skewered, then are roasted on an irori (a hearth).

The Imo (taro) which is used there is Tsurunokoimo: It is produced only in that area.

Dengaku cuisine started with people coming up with a way to enjoy this unique vegetable. 

It started in the Kamakura era.

Ubayamamura 

  

I went Ubayamamura, which is about 30 minutes from the Aso area by car.

It was a nice day, so the Yamanami highway was beautiful.

I could see a lot of cows.

Ubayamamura has two nice spring water areas.

One is Ikeyama fountainhead , which is one of the “Top 100 waters” in Japan.

The other is Yamabuki fountainhead, which you have to walk about 10 min. from the parking lot to get to, but it has fewer people around. 

Those are sources of spring water from rain fallen on nearby Kuju volcanos.

The water is utilized for domestic and agricultural purposes and also for drinking.

Water at both areas was so pure and clean and clear.
  

Renovated school

  

This photo is the site of what used to be a women’s school.

 These buildings were renovated.
Now cafes, craft and variety shops are found there. 

I talked the girl who works at the shop called “Little eagle & AOtsuki”.

She spent 2 months living near Mt. Shasta in California for and fell in love with that place. 

So after she came back, she moved to Aso because it is kind of similar to Shasta. 

By the way, an old style cafe called Yui is also open there–it features Nagashi Somen (flowing noodles).

This place had a nice atmosphere and a retro feel. 

Dago jiru

  

This is “Dago jiru”.

It is a local cuisine in Kumamoto prefecture.

Dago means dango (dumpling) in Kumamoto dialect.

Inside this soup are flat dumplings, made of flour, and pork and many kinds of vegetables.

The food on the left is “Inari zushi”, which is a bigger than usual. 

It is a type of sushi in which the rice is wrapped in fried bean curd.

I ate those at Hanabishi restaurant.

I enjoyed them.

Mizuki

  

The Ichinomiya Aso shrine street has many “Mizuki”.

They are natural spring drinking fountains.

Rain and snow that fall on the magnificent Aso mountains become clean water with time, and gush out from those Mizuki. 

Mizuki can be found in 36 different places. 

Each one has an individual name. 

It is fun to visit those.

There are cute shops and cafes, and it has an interesting atmosphere.

 I think coffee served around there is so good, because of the water.

Aso shrine 

  

Aso shrine is the head shrine of about 500 branch shrines all over Japan.

The two-storied gate which is 21 meters high is famous.

It is one of three two-storied gates in Japan.

And the road approaching the shrine is perpendicular to it, which is very unusual.

So they say the enshrined deity may be Mt. Aso itself. 

There is the pine tree to bless people with good relationships, and people go around the tree.

 Mt .Aso

  

The other day I went Aso Kumamoto.

Aso has Mt.Aso , which is an active volcano.

You can go to see Mt. Aso crater,  but access is restricted now due to volcanic activity. 

The topography in the area features a caldera and a mountain chain.  

The plateaus are beautiful, especially in the summer because of their green color.  

This photo is taken from the Sirayama observation area on Yamanami highway. 

You can see a reclining Buddha in the range of mountains.