Handa City Visit by OKB Exchange Program

An ASCI student enrolled in the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Mr. Ronilo Onigo De Castro, took part in the OKB exchange program to visit Handa City located in southern Aichi Prefecture on May 29th.   To start the day, he was taken to the Mizkan Museum. Mizkan is a company that has successfully produced vinegar made from sake lees (sake kasu) since the early 19th century, during the Edo Era, and continued to contribute to the promotion of Sushi during this period. At the museum, Mr. Onigo De Castro learned about the history and culture of food in Japan and observed the production process of vinegar.

             Old-time Vinegar Factory                            In front of "Benzaisen (ship)"                                 With Sushi samples  

Mr. Onigo De Castro conducts research on animal nutrition with a specific focus on the utilization of copra (coconuts’ residue left after oil extraction). Considering his research topic, OKB arranged a visit to the Ishikawa Pig Farm, which is a medium sized hog farm that was started in 1969 with 5 sows. The Ishikawa Pig Farm has grown over the years and, as of 2017, has more than 700 pigs. Not only do they raise and breed pigs, they process and retail pork, and run a restaurant. Mr. Ishikawa, President of Ishikawa Pig Farm, explained about the pig industry in Japan and presented information concerning operations of his pig farm. Mr. Onigo De Castro appreciated the opportunity to exchange opinions about the farming styles and methods for pig production with President Ishikawa.


Before returning to Nagoya City, Mr. Takeshi Mabuchi, the General Manager of OKB Handa Branch, gave Mr. Onigo De Castro a tour of his Bank. Mr. Onigo De Castro had an opportunity to view the bank like convenience store named “Convini-plaza Handa.” The bank endeavored to create a light feeling atmosphere by providing banking services to its customers in what appears to be a convenience store but is actually a bank. They offer not only banking services, but they also provide customers with the latest magazines and comics and free drinks. Mr. Mabuchi commented on the rational for creating such a unique service “We aim for a bank to be popular with local customers.” It was a very innovative strategy to attract people and to promote the Bank.

       The facade of Convini-Plaza                          

Thanks to the Program, Mr. Onigo De Castro and an ASCI staff member had a wonderful experience and opportunity to learn about industries and culture in Handa City.