The 27th Okami (landlady): Ms. Kinu Mochizuki
Edoya Ryokan (Inn)
Making rice balls for 70 years at Edoya Ryokan (Inn) – “Rice Ball Grandma”
Edoya Ryokan (Inn)
Ms. Kinu Mochizuki
Born on 19—-
|Residence||：Akasawa village, Hayakawa|
“Edoya Ryokan” is the only inn which has been run as it is in Akasawa village in old town atmosphere. It was founded in the late Edo period and has been run as an accommodation for Nichiren sect practitioners. The 27th Okami (landlady), Ms. Kinu Mochizuki was born in Taisho period. She is now 94 years old and still running her own business here.
Ms. Mochizuki was born and raised in Akasawa village. She used to help and work for Edoya Ryokan when she was young and got started working as a full time after getting married to an owner of the Ryokan. Until around the year of 1950, Akasawa village had been functioning as not only a post station but also a place playing a role for worshipers to transport their luggage and even other goods to temples and guests’ quarters of temples. She experienced and had such difficult times in a poor period during the war, but did not give up on this business. She thanks to the fact that she has being healthy to keep working until today.
She used to manage and run the whole ryokan business and sometimes had to work by herself alone. Her current job is making rice balls for the practitioners who are going to climb Mt. Shichimen. She gives two rice balls to each practitioner. She have ever made 1,400 rice balls at the most for 700 practitioners with another employee. They started making those rice balls from midnight to finish all of them according to the practitioner’s leaving time. She said with a smile, “Make while the rice ball is hot, just like a saying, “Strike while the iron is hot.”” And she showed me her hands that she have kept making rice balls. The palms of her hands were shiny and smooth, and they did not look like 94-years-old hands!
Since the number of her interview for TV programs and magazines has been increasing, she has been known as a “Rice Ball Grandma” and sometimes she was suddenly spoken by visitors. She is a very friendly person and always relaxes people. Ms. Mochizuki as the 27th Okami (landlady) has successors already – her daughter in low and grandchildren, so I felt that Edoya Ryokan will make a longer history in the future.
Other than Edoya Ryokan, in Akasawa village, the places had been opened such as Musashiya where brought back the traditional Japanese soba noddle, Shimizuya and Osakaya. The whole village seems like still very lively. Ms. Mochizuki has been seeing the lively times and difficult times in this Akasawa village for a long time. She, who has lived in Akasawa village over 90 years, told us that “the freshness of the air” has never changed in a long time.
“The freshness of the air here is the best in Japan!”
Why don’t you visit once to Akasawa village where Ms. Mochizuki has been loving for a long time?
Ms. Mikiko Nishimura (a student, Waseda University School of Human Sciences)
Ms. Haruna Kojima (a student, Waseda University School of Human Sciences)