Field Trips in Kyoto Prefecture: Nantan City and Kyotamba Town – 京都府へのフィールドトリップ:南丹市と京丹波町

Alice from KPIC here!

It’s been a while! I have been pretty busy this autumn organizing many field trips in Kyoto Prefecture for international residents and students.
Every year we organize field trip programs in various parts of Kyoto Prefecture in a bid to introduce the charms of areas other than Kyoto City to international residents and students.
Some field trips are only one-day excursions, while some include a homestay and last 2 days. There is always a cultural experience activity and other programs that enable participants to interact with the local residents during their stay.



Today I would like to talk about 2 field trips we did in October: one in Nantan City, and another one in Kyotamba Town, both located north of Kyoto City but with very different sceneries and features.


Making uchiwa (paper fan) うちわ作りワークショップ

Making uchiwa (paper fan)

The Field Trip to Nantan took place on October 11th. We had 39 participants from 18 countries and regions join in. Participants were able to try making their own “uchiwa”, a paper fan used in summer to cool one down together with the “yukata”, the summer kimono. They could choose from various patterns and designs and customize their fans with colored papers, paint or stamps.

For lunch, we had “temaki sushi”, hand-rolled sushi. It was the first time for most of the participants to try it and they seemed to have a lot of fun while Japanese people at each table explained and showed them how to do it.

Delicious food 美味しい料理がたくさん!

Delicious food

Taiko performance 太鼓の演奏

Taiko performance

As the weather was great we had also outdoor activities, with one group enjoying a walking tour of natural and historical sites, and another doing some ground golf.
To close the day we had a local taiko drum band, Asyura, play a little concert for us and then letting the participants try to play the drums in rhythm all together as well. Some participants even wanted to join the team afterwards!

Making sushi 手巻き寿司

Making sushi



The whole group 全員

The whole group

The Field Trip to Kyotamba Town took place on October 25th and 26th, for a two-day one night homestay program.

Black beans harvesting experience 黒豆収穫体験

Black beans harvesting experience

This time, 40 people from 16 countries and regions joined. Local farmers welcomed us and showed us how to harvest black beans first.
The Tamba area is indeed famous for its black beans, especially used over New Year for the traditional Japanese meal eaten on January 1st called “osechi ryori”.
The ones we harvested hadn’t turned black yet as you need to leave them to mature a little bit more, but they were nonetheless delicious!

Mochi (rice cake) making お餅つき

Mochi (rice cake) making

For lunch, local residents had prepared a wonderful party with rice cake pounding, a barbecue of deer meat, curry croquettes and of course black beans! A local band even held a little concert while we ate to complete the joyful mood.
We then danced together the local summer dance “Bon Odori”, listened to a taiko drum concert by children and tried playing the drums as well. Farmers then taught us the local dialect. For example, instead of saying “Sayonara” for “goodbye”, you say “Sainara”. Or you say “Yayako” instead of “Akachan” to say baby.

It was then time for the participants to leave with their host families to create unforgettable memories together.

Black beans harvesting experience 黒豆収穫体験

Black beans harvesting experience



Trying taiko drums 太鼓の体験

Trying taiko drums


We met again on Sunday to enjoy a local food festival called “Shoku no Saiten” where you could try various original recipes made with Tamba’s specialties such as fried deer meat, ramen with deer and wild boar meat, wild boar hotdogs, coffee latte made from a chestnut paste etc.
One of the venues was an agricultural high school where you could enjoy charcoal-baked pizza by the students, tea ceremony, butter-making workshop and a vegetables harvest experience among other interesting activities.
It was then time to leave but I’m sure people will be back to visit their host families and enjoy the other hidden gems the area has to offer!

Wild boar hotdogs anyone? 猪のホットドッグはいかが?

Wild boar hotdogs anyone?

Butter making experience バター作り体験

Butter making experience


Through these events I hope international and Japanese residents can create bonds and get to know each other better. It’s always a lot of fun too!


Happy group! 元気な皆さん

Happy group!

Homestay & Field Trip in Kyotango 2014: Countryside Experience – ホームステイ&フィールドトリップ in 京丹後2014年:田舎体験

Alice from KPIC! At the beginning of July, I went to Kyotango with international students for a Field Trip and Homestay program.


Buddhist cuisine at Sanyouji temple 三要寺での精進料理

Buddhist cuisine at Sanyouji temple

On July 5th, we escaped the city’s heat together with 33 international students to enjoy Kyotango’s countryside and rich nature. It was a really diverse group with people from 19 countries and regions, and everybody got along really well with new friendships being born from the very start. We had people from America, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France, Egypt, Argentina, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and India. The world came to Kyotango that weekend!


Buddhist cuisine at Sanyouji temple 三要寺での精進料理

Buddhist cuisine at Sanyouji temple

We first arrived at Sanyouji temple, where we had Buddhist cuisine (shojin ryori in Japanese). The creativity of every plate, the freshness and variety of flavors on top of the discovery of new ones quickly make you forget it’s vegetarian-only cuisine. Usually you are not supposed to talk when eating or make noise with the plates or chopsticks, but we had a special exemption and were able to happily and noisily enjoy our meals.
The monk then explained the life at the temple, and showed us how they use a wooden board with a hammer to mark the hours and call for prayer.
Participants then met their host families and enjoyed the rest of the day and the next morning with them. We heard they went to many places with them and some had barbecue parties with their neighbors so I guess everyone had a good time!

Wooden board used to mark the hours 木の板で時間を知らせる

Wooden board used to mark the hours


Nagashi somen with handmade bamboo chopsticks and bowls 竹細工で作った竹のお箸と茶碗で流しそうめん

Nagashi somen with handmade bamboo chopsticks and bowls

The next day, we gathered at Minka-en, a place with three traditional thatched houses in the middle of green fields, to have an exchange party with everybody (more than 100 people!). We visited the houses with an expert who explained how they are made and how age makes such houses better. We then made our own bamboo chopsticks that we used to eat flowing somen noodles. In the end we also had a watermelon splitting contest that everybody enjoyed a lot. A lot of new experiences!
When it was time to leave, many participants and host families were crying while saying goodbye. I hope the bonds created on this trip will last for a lifetime and that the participants will be back to enjoy Kyoto Prefecture’s countryside charms again! I will certainly be!

Watermelon splitting スイカ割り

Watermelon splitting


Kyotango is the best! 京丹後が最高!

Kyotango is the best!