When we rolled up about 15 minutes before the tour started we entered the building and were told to remove our shoes. Fine. In Japan, one must be prepared to remove shoes at any time. What was odd was that there were no slippers to put on. Even the guide was just wearing stockings, no slippers or indoor type shoes. But the floor was carpeted so we were quite comfortable walking around in our bare feet. Odd though. First thing was to take a picture with Cowy, their mascot. He is one of the cuter mascots I have seen. Most of them have a tad strangeness to them at least.
Then we went to their big presentation room to have milk and cookies whilst we waiting for the tour to start. We saw them packaging and bottling a variety of dairy products. After which we could visit their souvenir store and buy more soft serve ice cream like we had up on Mt Daisen the day before....so we didn't need to drive all the way up the mountain for one after all! The view was worth it though. So that was a fun way to spend the morning. Amelia enjoyed running up and down the really long hallway as much as looking at the factory.
In the afternoon, we had some "work" to do. We had to get ready for Obon which started that night. Obon is the 3 days in August, from the 13th to the 15th when the ancestors' spirits come home for a visit. One of the traditions is to make a horse and or cow out of a cucumber and an egg plant as apparently the spirits come home by horse - a timeless mode of transportation. Amelia had a great time helping DH make the legs for the horse and the "giraffe".
On the 13th, people light a small fire usually on the ground outside their home to guide the spirits back. We didn't do it this year, but I expect that with Amelia in residence, the spirits wouldn't have had much trouble finding their way :) She kept them very busy during their stay ringing the little bell in front of the shrine in the living room and "praying", but mostly just ringing the bell.
|Down the beach first thing in the morning, before it got too hot.|
|Watching the milk go round and round|