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Katakuri dogtooth violets

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Nature walks Japan

Japan is a beautiful country surrounded by abundant nature. So the places of interest are not limited to sightseeing spots, shopping, and cuisine.

Near any big city there are mountains and forests ready to be easily explored. Mountain- walking is very popular in recent times and on the weekends, you can find people on the well-preserved mountain trails.

Mizuno sensei went to one particular mountain and found a forest brimming with nature. In this Japanese language blog, she provides you with a vocabulary list to help you learn Japanese for free and also a YouTube video which helps you to improve your Japanese listening.

Katakuri dogtooth violets


By MIZUNO Momoyo


dogtooth violets






Japanese serow


To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 







Katakuri dogtooth violets

Do you know what Katakuri is ? It is the dogtooth violet plant from which the starch (which we use to make fried chicken batter) is made from.

This starch can be made from the bulbs of the Katakuri (or dogtooth violet) flowers. But unfortunately, modern starch is usually made from potato. Anyway, at the end of March, I went to Asuke in Aichi prefecture to see some Katakuri flowers. In Autumn this area is well known for its red leaves, but under the Japanese Maple trees, colonies of dogtooth violets grow and in early Spring they all bloom at the same time.

Thanks to the preservation work of the local people, the footpath is in good condition and the dogtooth violet flowers are laid out freely on both sides of the path. So we climbed the slope of the mountain, surrounded by a sea of pale purple blooms. There were people absorbed in the taking of photos. And right below, we could see the town of Asuke laid out.

The Japanese serow that live in this mountain also came down. As we were rapidly climbing up the mountain, and by coincidence we suddenly came across these Japanese serow chomping on grass. And rather like the way that humans turn their attentions fully on their smartphones, the serow went on eating leisurely and slowly disappeared into the mountain.

In Japan, even if you live in the city, if you take a train out a little way, you can soon find yourself enjoying mountain-walking . It is very commonplace, you can see the ordinary side Japan which is not particularly famous but this was a type of tourism that is a little bit different.

衣(ころも): batter coating

片栗粉(かたくりこ):dogtooth violet starch


現在(げんざい)の:current, present


下旬(げじゅん):the last ten days of a month

紅葉(こうよう):red/yellow leaves of autumn

群生(ぐんせい)する:to grow in colonies

春先(はるさき)に:at the beginning of spring

一斉(いっせい)に:all at once, all together

地元(じもと)の人々(ひとびと):local people

保護(ほご):preservation (of wildlife)

歩道(ほどう):footpath, walkway

整備(せいび):to put ~ in good condition

両側(りょうがわ):both sides


薄紫(うすむらさき):pale purple color

囲(かこ)まれる:to be surrounded


登(のぼ)る:to mount, to climb


没頭(ぼっとう)する:to absorb oneself in ~


カモシカ:Japanese serow

やってくる:to come down

どんどん:at a smacking pace, rapidly

偶然(ぐうぜん):by chance

食(は)む:食べる, to eat

人間(にんげん):human being


向(む)ける:to turn ( the camera ) toward ~

悠々(ゆうゆう)と:leisurely, quietly

消(き)える:to disappear, to go out of sight

山歩(やまある)き:mountain-walking, hiking



一味(ひとあじ)違(ちが)った:a little bit different feeling of

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Guest Saturday, 17 March 2018