Kaneyama-machi - Minshuku and Candle-making
Our accomodation for the night was 'Asahiya', a traditional-style Minshuku
or Inn in Kaneyama-machi, which offers the chance to try out various traditional
crafts of the area. It is basically like staying at somebody's house,
and the friendly owners welcomed us in and prepared a feast of local foods
like tenpura made with vegetables found in the nearby mountains. The area
is also the source of several hot springs, and there was also a spectacular
natural onsen a few minutes drive down the road, which offered a view
over a lake and the surrounding mountains. All the onsens I had been to
before had been artificially created ones, which were a little disappointing,
but the Kaneyama-machi onsen was spectacular, with cloudy water which
I was assured was because of the minerals and not on account of it being
In the morning we were offered the chance to try making beeswax candles,
which were made in the area to light homes before electricity arrived.
The process is very simple - the wick is wrapped around a thin stick which
is dipped into hot beeswax and then left to harden for 30 seconds, then
dipped into the beeswax and taken out over and over, building layer upon
layer until you have what started out looking like a stick of Pocky turned
into a full-sized candle. The completed candles make a honey-like scent
when burning, which is a nice bonus.
Asahiya has a homepage (Although only in Japanese) for anyone interested
in a place to stay when travelling through the area. It was a great place
to stay and the owners make you feel right at home.