Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Daisuke Udon - Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture

Daisuke Udon is a restaurant off the beaten path of Matsuyama. If you enjoy Udon, then this is a place to visit. It’s not a traditional, sit down and order then they bring you your food restaurant. At Daisuke Udon, you can select the amount of Udon you want to eat and then customize the order with toppings and side dishes to compliment your meal, as you want.

When you first enter the restaurant, you line up in a cue where the Udon is. The Udon is cooked ahead of time but you can warm it up in a hot water bath. It only takes a minute until the Udon is piping hot. After the water bath, you can select how big of a serving you want. Usually just one serving is enough but if you are especially hungry (or just love Udon), you can added more to your order. There are different size bowls to accommodate you Udon order. If in doubt, go to a medium size bowl.

After you select the Udon, your bowl is poured a large ladle of broth to slurp your Udon with. You move down the line then you can choose your toppings and side dishes. The food is made fresh daily and there is quite a selection to choose from. You can pick anything from pork cutlets, fried chicken, shrimp tempura, fried fish cakes, pickled veggies, bean sprouts, etc. The great thing about this selection is that you can use them as toppings or side dishes. There is no wrong way to eat Udon as long as you enjoy it!

Daisuke Udon is a family style restaurant. It is impeccably clean and well lit. The restaurant is decorated in Uwajima Ushi-oni Matsuri festival decorations. That is because the home of the restaurant chain resides in Uwajima and was founded in 1897 and 1917 (this is Japan, there are 2 names for everything and 2 dates for everything else that does not have 2 names).

The food is great, freshly prepared, inexpensive and a quiet but friendly atmosphere. If you want a great place to eat Udon at an affordable price and a family atmosphere, this is the place to go. I highly recommend Daisuke Udon.

Daisuke Udon
Matsuyam-shi, Ehime
Tel: 089-922-0870
Business Hours: 10:00 ~ 20:00
*No smoking inside, free parking
Daisuke Udon Official Website (in Japanese)

 Udon Shop
 Udon cooking
 Drain your udon
 Select your serving size
 Select toppings and side dishes
 Served with scallions
 Topped with a chicken cutlet
 Topped with seasoned tofu
 Serving area
 Uwajima Ushi-oni Matsuri festival
 Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
 Paper lantern outside the entrance
A look inside the udon making area of the shop

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Isaniwa Jinja (Isaniwa Shrine) - Matsuyama (near Dogo Onsen)

Isaniwa Jinja (Isaniwa Shrine) – Honden tsuketari Sukashibei (Main Buildinig, including Lattice Wall), Moshidono oyobi Roka (Hall of Humility and Corridor), Romon (Tower Gate), Kairo (Corridor), Massha Kora Tamataresha Honden (Main Building of Kora Tamastaresha Branch Shrine), Massha Tokwasha Nittareisha Honden (Main Building of Tokiwasha Nittareisha Branch Shrine), Ishidoro (Stone Garden Lanter), Munafuda (Ridge Plaque).

The main building is built in the Hachiman-zukuri style, with two aligned buildings connected by a raingutter between the two roofs. The space underneath the gutter is known as the ai no ma. The front half is in the nagare-zukuri (flowing) style, the rear half in the kirizuma-zukuri (gable roof) style. The Lattice Wall has a tile roof with lovely green diamond-shaped lattices. The Moshidono has a cypress shingle roof, with the front of the building, parallel to the ridge, open to the outside. The Romon is made in the irimoya-zukuri (hip and gable roof) style, with double eaves and a clay tiled roof. The guardian king statues at the four corners of the room area are a rare feature. The woodword and decorative carvings of the buildings are painted red, with touches of white and other colors, while the pillars of the main building are covered with gold leaf, all in splendid Momoyama period (1573-1603) style. The wooden Kairo (corridor), which is over 100m in length, and a stature of Saint Ippen are evidence of the long history of Shinto and Buddhist syncretism. – Matsuyama Board of Education.

The Isaniwa Shrine was built by Matandara Sedanaga, the then lord of Matsuyama, in 1667 in order to show his gratitude for success of archery on horseback. The shrine called Hachiman style is rare - even all over Japan and is designated by the Dept. of Culture as an important cultural asset.

Hachiman is the Japanese god of archery and war, combining elements of both Shinto and Buddhism. Hachiman is often called the god of war. He is considered the protector of Japan and the Japanese people. The name means God of Eight Banners, referring to the eight heavenly banners that signaled the birth of divine Emperor Ojin (the 15th emperor of Japan). Emperor Ojin is said to be interred at this shrine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yu Jinja (Yu Shrine) – A Shinto Shrine for Dogo Onsen Honkan

Enshrined at Yu Jinja (Hot Spring Holy Shrine) are Onamuchi no Mikoto (Okuninushi no Mikoto) and Sukunahikon no Mikoto, deities who figure in the origin of Dogo Hot Spring. The shrine is listed in the Engi-shiki, a book of laws and regulations from the 10th century.

It is said to have been built in Sadidani when the legendary Emperor Keiko and Empress Yasaka no Irihime visited Dogo. Later, when Emperor Jomei paid a visit in the 7th century, he had the main building reconstructed. Subsequently, the shrine was revered and given offerings by high-ranking officials and feudal lords.

When the hot spring was buried after an earthquake in 1527, the shrine was moved to the precinct of the Izumo’oka Shrine (on present day Kanmuri Hill). Whenever an earthquake or some other event causes the waters of Dogo Hot Spring to stop flowing, sacred dances and prayers are offered at Yu Shrine. After a 1707 earthquake, the feudal lord had a special yu-gito (lit. “hot spring prayers”) offered. This observance continues even today and is well known, along with the shrine’s New Year Hatsune Festival.