Monday, 11 June 2012

A Place Where They Made Sugar And Drink Tea

is exhibited in Shikoku Mura. Have you read my two previous posts on the exhibitis of this museum? If you haven't, you can read it here and here.
Sugarmaking became a specialty of the Sanuki region (present day Kagawa Prefecture) during the late Edo period (1600-1867).

While the Satsuma region in southern Kyushu had previously been known for its brown sugar, the white sugar produced in the Sanuki region soon became known as the finest in Japan.

As sugar cane cultivation spread throught Sanuki region, sugar mills or presses became widespread in the area. Only two such round sugar-presses from that era remains. Inside, there are three stone mortars driven by oxen pullling a long crossbeam (udegi); constantly walking round and round the inner circumference of the building. That's why the buildings are round - it's to accomodate the circular movement  of the oxen.

In buildings known as Kamaya, the natural syrup was boiled to remove impurities and refine the sugar. Very few such kamaya refineries remain in existence.

After sugar, we have a tea place. Pity we only got to view the place instead of being able to enjoy a cup or two. ^^
A tea hall (chado), part temple, part resting area, part meeting place. Small structures like this containing a Buddhist image were often built on main roads just outside a town to keep away wandering evil spirits and as a resting place for pilgrims.

This particular hut was from Ryukaido, a main thoroughfare between Tosa and Iyo (present day Kochi and Ehime prefectures) which was heavily travelled by pilgrims (benro) visiting the 88 temples.

22 comments:

  1. This is where they make sugar? Where do they make cocoa? Then we can have chocolate! ^^

    So Sanuki is famous not only for its udon, but also its sugar? I like it more and more. It's one of my dreams to walk that entire Shikoku pilgrimage. Perhaps one day when I'm retired, ancient and decrepit? :D

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    1. I actually was thinking of the same thing when I typed this post. It's a pity they aren't cocoa producers too, other that being famous for its "Sanuki Sanpaku" or three whites : cotton, sugar and salt. ^^

      There is a blog by Cathy Hirano that I love to occasionally visit (but somehow always forgotten to put on my sidebar) that you can read : http://cathy.ashita-sanuki.jp/

      That Shikoku pilgrimage? You know there is a shortcut/easy way to do it nowadays. By tour groups! Dare to do it? Ahahah

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    2. Tour group in a bus following a flag frantically taking group photos??? I would rather face a life without chocolate!

      Cotton, sugar and salt? Didn't know about that. Isn't udon white, too?

      PS: That's a nice blog. Right up my (narrow shitamachi) alley. Ta for telling me! ^^

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    3. Now. Now. Don't be biased to tour groups. Hahaha

      Though I myself would rather rotten shark meat (wait! those aren't Japanese!) than go on one myself. xD

      Yeah, udon is white too. But maybe in yesteryears, it wasn't high up there in the list of stuff Sanuki was particularly proud of?

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    4. They also do washi (that post up soon). Aren't those white too? Hmm...

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  2. Speaking of sugar, one of my favourite Japanese snacks is konpeito, a sugar candy introduced to Japan by the Portuguese. They are still hand-made in a lot of places and very colourful.

    Japan Australia

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    1. Those konpeito are so cute! I wouldn't want to eat those colorful sweets. :)

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    2. I still vote for chocolate! :D

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    3. Chocolate is good but still need my sugar candy from time to time :)

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  3. Yeap, Sanuki used to be well known for the three 'whites'... these days, we can still find sugar and salt sold as souvenirs but not so much of cotton...

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    1. I read not much wheat too. Wheat are now imported from overseas?

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  4. I love the interior roof beams. So rustic yet ingenious.

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    1. They sure are, aren't they. :)

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  5. I saw the similar one in Okinawa. The way of making sugar is really unique and interesting.

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    1. How they make sugar (and other food stuff) in the olden times makes us feel so lucky to have automation for such thing now. Right? ^^

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  6. Wow! Wonderful. I did not know this kind of sugar at all. I admire you very much.

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    1. We learn a lot visiting a museum. :)

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  7. I wonder did one day a sugar maker and tea maker bumped into each other and came up with sweet tea?

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    1. I wonder whether they bumped into each other while they make their way to the British Isle? ;)

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  8. I would love to visit this place! Never been to any sugarmaking place.

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    1. There's one in Okinawa, as Cocomino mentioned earlier too! ;)

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