Since ancient times, Japanese have developed clever methods for keeping cool in summertime by using nature and the five senses. It's called noryo. On this trip, Deborah Ten visits Odawara and the Izu Peninsula, which are famous resort areas close to Tokyo. She gets acquainted with traditional wisdom and aesthetics to keep cool on hot summer days.
She tastes chilled tokoroten seaweed noodles, hears wind chimes, listens to a stream outside her room in a traditional inn, touches cooling water, and sees magical Fireflies.
Deborah, who grew up in Malaysia, discovers old ways to celebrate summer.
Address: 3-13-14 Shimoda City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Hours: 10:00 ～ 17:00 (October ～ March, until 16:30)
Address: 1018-1 Osawa, Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Tel: +81(0) 558-72-0595
Address: 1116-6 Shuzenji, Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Tel: +81(0) 558-72-4126
Address: 176-2 Yugashima, Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Tel: +81(0) 558-85-1056
Address: 776-1 Jizo, Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Tel: +81(0) 558-83-2654 (9:00 ～ 16:00)
Open hours: 9:00 ～ 17:00
Closed on 2nd, 4th, 5th Saturdays, Sundays and holidays
Address: 3-1-22 Nakamachi, Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Tel: +81(0) 465-22-4328
If you connect to Izu-kyuko Line via Atami, the last stop is Shimoda station.
Traveler: Deborah Ten > More Info
Occupation:Model, Digital advertising PR
Length of residence in Japan:9 years
Wanted to be an anime artist ever since age 10! (Some things just don't work out)
Summer in Japan. Many people associate the season with exciting festivals, glorious fireworks, and packed beaches. But for this journey, I experienced profound summer traditions, away from the madding crowd.
I'm from Malaysia, where it is summer all year round. So for me the secret to living comfortably in hot weather is to avoid the sun, keep the AC running, and chug down cold diet Coke. But Japanese have other ways to stay cool by using nature and the five senses.
For instance in Shimoda, I tried "tokoroten" for the first time. The noodles, made from seaweed agar, are served cold. Not only slurping down the chilled noodles, but also looking at their icy translucency is refreshing.
At a refined inn, Yagyu-no-sho (which, in my humble opinion, is the epitome of Zen living) I spent time on my room's engawa deck listening to water dripping into a stone basin, as well as a stream. That's an old-fashioned way to sense coolness!
I also experienced soaking in my private hot spring bath. Hot springs are a delight in cold weather, but in summer? The inn owner explained to me how you feel refreshed when you emerge from a short time in the hot waters.
After sunset, I headed out to see mystical creatures. In no time sparks of dim yellow-green light darted around. Fireflies! I wasn't sure if it was the magical experience or the cool river breeze that gave me goose bumps that night.
The next day I met up with a nature guide to learn more about using the senses to feel refreshed. Akihiro Kaise explained that Japanese enjoy hiking to waterfalls in summer to keep their minds off the heat. They feel cooled by the sound of the falls, the touch of the spray and the sight of the white caps.
On my way back to Tokyo, I stopped in Odawara to visit a wind chime workshop and gallery. There were metal chimes of all shapes and sizes. I held the best selling item to my ears. So this is the tinkling sound that cools down the Japanese soul? I mulled over the trip as the bells created dreamlike music—and I forgot the heat of the day. I discovered the key to enjoying the seasons is to embrace the simple elements in nature, using all five senses...