Niimi is located in a beautiful valley on the banks of the Takahashi River. The limestone mountains and rushing water mean the people of this area enjoy a bounty.
One of the local specialties (besides the beef!) are grapes. Not for wine – for eating! We got to visit one of the vineyards, walk out through the vines and cut huge heavy bunches of purple grapes.
They were so good warm from the vine that we snuck a few. Once back at the office we had an opportunity for official tasting, with four different types – no seeds, just sweet and delicious. We were all sent on our way with bunches of grapes to enjoy – a very generous gift to us as they are a real luxury item. We have enjoyed them very much.
The same limestone that provides such perfect growing material for the grapes also provides another attraction – caves! There are several extensive cave systems in the area. One was recently upgraded with LED lighting, so we went to take a look.
An underground fantasy of stone and water!
And what else did you see, Sharon? So glad you asked! A sturgeon farm that produces a very fine caviar.
Baby sturgeon !
We had a tour of an artisanal soy sauce factory – four generations of the family have made soy sauce in that house.
And we had an opportunity to visit the local hot springs for a bath! Actually there was a delicious lunch involved – and then a lovely soak in a very hot bath – there was even an outside pond with a beautiful garden to enjoy.
Our hosts gave us a chance to enjoy the many wonderful things in their city.