Welcome to Tajima!

I've talked a bit about the JET Program and living in the countryside, but I haven't really touched on my particular area yet! Tajima is the northernmost region of Hyogo Prefecture. It's on the coast of the Sea of Japan, but rather than being primarily coastal, it's really quite mountainous.

IMG_2290.JPG
IMG_2287.JPG

If you've ever heard of Tajima before, it was probably in the context of "Tajima beef." If you haven't, you've surely heard of Kobe beef. Yeah, they're the same thing. The beef that becomes "Kobe" beef is actually raised in Tajima. The entire breed of cow that becomes Tajima beef was actually thought to be exinct at one point of time until they found a few roaming around in a field up here! The reason it's called Kobe beef is primarily because no one knows where the heck Tajima is, and Kobe is Hyogo's capital city.

Other than beef, this area is also known for its seafood (the fishing industry here is so prominent that one of the local public high schools actually specializes in marine agriculture and draws students from all over the prefecture specifically for that program) and rice. Niigata likes to claim that it has the best rice in the country, but this area is preeetty up there as well, having scored in the gold category in the International Contest on Rice Taste Evaluation three years in a row.

IMG_2302.JPG

Although this entire region is mostly rural, there are a few areas that seem to draw a lot of tourists. Among those are Kinosaki Onsen (considered one of the best hot springs town in Japan) and a whole slew of ski slopes. Because of its location and the altitude, even though it's not too far north, it does get quite a bit of snow in the winter, which is apparently really good for skiing and snowboarding. One of my third years last year was even a nationally ranked snowboarder likely bound for the Olympics!

IMG_2296.JPG
IMG_2307.JPG

So this is where I live! It's not much, but it's definitely got a few things that I think make it pretty special. And while I wouldn't say you really need to make it up here on your next visit to Japan, if you've got the time (and a JR Pass), it definitely wouldn't hurt.