【Report by the foreigner who knows Ayabe well.】
Name of facility : Chestnut (TOCHI-NO-MI) Experience @Koya Community Center Visit date : 2020/10/24 Visitor name : Nathaniel Hoy
Taking the chestnut(TOCHI-NO-MI) shells off
For a really unique experience when visiting Ayabe you need to visit the Koya Community Center.
As with 'Trekking in the Chestnut(TOCHI-NO-KI) Forest area'(*)
the Koya Community Center is a 45 minute drive from Ayabe station.
The Koya Community Center is located in a quite remote and beautiful part of the city.
In addition to being the starting point for a number of trekking trails
it is also where two 90+ year old grandmothers live and work.
The grandmothers both live very nearby and most days they can be found at the Koya Community Center using the local chestnuts(TOCHI-NO-MI)
to make a number local specialties.
From chestnut mochi, to onigiri rice balls to cookies (among other things).
When I visited I asked them what the key to their longevity was and they answered that it was working everyday.
Photo with the Grandmothers (two on the far left)
For those interested in a little bit of work and a chance to work alongside the grandmothers you can spend part of the day helping them.
While everyday is different there is always plenty of work to be done.
When I visited I was taught how to de-shell the chestnuts(TOCHI-NO-MI)
after they had been soaking in very hot water to soften them up.
Using a handmade wooden nut cracker I had to use just the right amount of power to squeeze the chestnut out.
Too much power and you crush the chestnut.
Enjoying the scenery outside the Koya Community Center
Everything is prepared by hand using traditional methods
making this is a very unique experience.
When you are done with the days task
the grandmothers will treat you to a small meal to say thank you.
This is a very special experience that even most Japanese people have not done.
▼Click here for details of this facilityーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー
From United States of America, came to Japan in 2005
He likes Japanese countryside, Japanese sake, Japanese food,
onsens and Shorinji Kempo.
His hobbies are running, reading and, Japanese sake.