When Spring meets Autumn

DSC_0062Ever wondered what Cherry Blossoms look like during autumn or missed the sakura this year and planning a trip on autumn? Fret not because you can actually see the cherry blossoms during the autumn season in Obara Town in Aichi Prefecture, leaving you in complete awe of its unique charm!

DSC_0066-2The Shikizakura (Four-Seasons Cherry Blossom) is popular among tourists for its amazing wonder. The Cherry Blossom tree is thought to be a hybrid of the species called “mamezakura” and “edohigan” and blooms first in spring (around March-April) and in autumn (around late October – early December). With about 10,000 trees throughout the district, tourists can indulge in the colourful landscape the town offers.

THE BEST TIME TO VIEW THE SHIKIZAKURA

The Shikizakura usually begins to bloom in late October and is at their peak in mid-November. However, the peak time varies yearly.

ACCESS TO OBARA FUREAI KOEN FROM NAGOYA:

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For those who can understand Japanese, they can rely here (for the oiden bus. 豊田市- 小原大草) or in this website (both for bus and train schedules)


Here’s the schedule for Toyotashi Station and Obara Ohkusa I translated for your convenience.

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* Schedule is subject to change depending on certain circumstances such as weather, road constructions, delay of departure, etc.


DSC_0047From the Obara Fureai Koen, you can see the four-season cherry blossom, its rosy white petals contrasting the red, orange, yellow and green hues of the autumn air which makes the view breath-taking. They hold yearly autumn festival in the cherry blossom haven, showcasing the town’s specialty products and talents while offering the visitors free warm drinks.

Last year’s cherry blossom didn’t bloom that well though, according to the local staff. Nevertheless, seeing the Sakura petals was a delight from a spring and autumn fanatic like me.

MORE PLACES TO EXPLORE AROUND OBARA:

  • Washi no Furusato
  • Hisajo Sugita Haiku Monument
  • Toyota City Kabuki Heritage Hall
  • Dorobuchi Kannon
  • Ichiba Castle Ruins

SAKURA SPOTS:

  • Obara Fureai Koen
  • Washi no Furusato
  • Maebora Shikizakura
  • Senmi Shikizakura no Sato
  • Obora Shikizakura
  • Kakigairi Path
  • Miyashiro

 

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EXPERIENCE THE WORLD OF DETECTIVE CONAN!

Yura Station is also called Conan Station

It’s thanks to Gosho Aoyama, the creator of the manga Detective Conan (also known as Case Closed) that we enjoy countless crimes, crime scene investigations, hopes for Conan to transform into his original form as Shinichi, and the Holmes fanatic staying in his true form forever. Because let’s admit it, we have that longing for Ran and Shinichi to have their happily ever after, right?

DSC_0487As a celebration for the popularity of the manga and anime, the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory is established in the town of Hokuei in Tottori Prefecture. In addition to that, a number of Detective Conan artefacts – bronze statues, stone monuments are built, and pavement signs and manholes are even inspired by the anime around town. To make your visit a memorable one, why not take the challenge of finding all of the relics?

DSC_0510Pass by the Conan Bridge and you will see a handful of Conan statues.

DSC_0525Go further the Conan Street, and you will find the Kudo Residence. Let Conan know you’re there by ringing the doorbell.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

DSC_0520DSC_0515Explore into the Beika Shopping Street beside the Kudo Residence and try the Conan Gelato or warm yourself with a coffee in a Conan-themed cup! (More artifacts are found here!)

DSC_0562On your way in finding the last artifacts, you will surely pass by the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory – a museum established in honor of the man behind the world-renowned animation. At the museum, the professor’s car and the junior detective club will welcome you. Inside the museum is apparently 7 rooms where you can immerse yourself in the world of Case Closed. You can even use Conan’s bowtie voice changing experience and sound like Conan, imagine what it feels like to ride Conan’s skateboard and more!

DSC_0566This is your chance, aspiring Junior Detectives, Conan Edogawa is waiting for you!

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Fateful encounter with the childhood crush!

Access:

From Tottori station, ride the San-In Line towards Yonago then alight at Yura Station (the one way ride takes approximately 1 hour and 7 minutes and costs 840 yen)

Tips:

  • A taxi is available near Yura station which can show you around town and transport you to the museum.
  • A discount in the museum will be given upon showing of passport or residence card!
  • Hokuei town map is available in Tottori station / Yura station and you may take one for free
  • Yura station tourist information center is open from 9:00 am to 5:15 pm. You can rent a bicycle for 400 yen and a more detailed guide map for 200 yen and coin lockers are available for 500 yen.

Click here for more info!

RELISH THE BEAUTY OF SAND DUNES IN JAPAN

The infamous sand dunes in Japan is finally getting its recognition in recent years!

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I can imagine being stranded in a desert and this oasis is my only lifeline.

Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, Tottori Sand Dunes located in Tottori Prefecture, in the Chuugoku Region of Japan is slowly showcasing its charm and attracting more tourists.

The expanse of this tourist spot stretches 16 km from east to west and 2.4 km from north to south, with the lowest and highest point having a 90 m height difference. Once you step in, you may be reminded of its likeness of the deserts around the world.

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The camel ride

You may be having an image of Japan as a country full of hot springs, ryokans, temples, anime, and maid cafes, but seeing the sand dunes where you can ride a camel, do sandboarding and paragliding from the sand hill is quite unthinkable isn’t it?

Screenshot (106)While it is possible to ride a camel, you can also just opt for a Photo Op with a camel for only 500 yen. The camel riding is inclusive of Photo Op for 1,300 for one person. A photographer will be present to take pictures from your device and in addition to that, he will also take another from his camera as a service.  Claiming of the picture will be at Rakudaya Shop (らくだや) just across the Sand Dunes. The 3R size (or L size in Japan) of the photo will be given for free while the A5 size will be available too and it comes with a Camel-themed photo holder for 1,100 yen.

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Victory pose after climbing the hill

Sandboarding and paragliding activities require reservations. Both activities operate for certain periods only.

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After a lengthy hike towards the hill, you are handsomely rewarded with this magnificent view of the Sea of Japan.

Apparently, the sand dunes has introduced a new activity called “Sakyu Segway”. This experience provides yet another unique experience wherein tourists can traverse across the sand dunes on wheels. The slots are limited for 300 persons this Golden Week (April 28 – May 6). Reserve a slot here!

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Walking towards the highest dune

It is preferable to go by car for a free entrance. A free parking is available near the Rakudaya Shop. Going by bus will require to ride the lift in order to arrive to the actual sand dunes. By doing so, purchasing from a ticket machine (300 for round trip, 200 for one way) outside the souvenir shop will be required.

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And while you’re at it, visit the Sand Museum too! It will be open from April 2018 to January 2019.

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Keep in mind that the bus operation schedule around Tottori doesn’t go till late night so for a convenient stay, it is advisable to book a hotel near the station.

Access by bus: From Tottori station, ride the bus at bus stop 0 (zero) to tottori sand dunes (370 yen).

Marvel: Age of Heroes Exhibition

 

Marvel has come to Japan!

Pack your things and head to Nagoya City Science Museum located in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan to see the Marvel: Age of Heroes Exhibition! Come and experience the wonders of the works of Marvel. From drafts to comic books, the exhibit brings you back from its conception to what it has become today.

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The exhibit also has a myriad of displays like little figurines of its superheroes and villains. What’s really cool about the exhibit is that you can see the costumes worn by the actors as seen in the movies. (You can see Marvel’s recent champion, Black Panther’s outfit there too.)

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Don’t miss the photo ops with the Hulk at the entrance of the museum and Tony Stark’s Hall of Armors. Also, make sure to witness first-hand the demonstration of the movement of plasma inside iron man’s arc reactor!

 

 

 

After the tiring walk around the museum, don’t forget to grab a grub at the Marvel Café~

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Mandatory photo after the visit!

 


  • Photography is strictly prohibited in most areas of the exhibit except with signs that allows photo taking.
  • A discount of 200 yen will be effective if the ticket is bought in advance.
  • Tickets include the Science Museum admission. Additional charges apply for inclusion of the planetarium admission.
  • Re-entry isn’t allowed

 

Ticket Fee:

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Access:

〒460-0008 Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Naka-ku, Sakae, 2 Chome−17−17-1

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The museum is open from 9am to 5pm, Admission hours is until 4:30pm. It is closed every Mondays (except April 30, 2018), every 3rd Friday of the month and on May 8, 2018.

The exhibition is only for a limited time, which is from March 17 – June 10, 2018, so what are you waiting for?


Marvel Japan

 

Three Shrine Pilgrimage for Love (恋の三社めぐり)

Visit the three shrines to have a good luck in love!

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Located in Nagoya, the three shrines, namely Takamu Shrine (高牟神社) Yamada Tenmangu (山田天満宮) and Shiroyama Hachimangu (城山八幡宮) are said to grant you good fortune in love.

Upon visiting the shrine, visitors will need to get a paper in pink color and inside it is another paper called 願いの文or Wish Statement. In Yamada Tenmangu and Shiroyama Hachimangu, the pink papers are also placed somewhere the shrine, so visitors can take one and get it stamped by the officials. Visitors need to pay 100 yen per stamp in each shrine.

In my case the paper is already stamped when I bought it and I just have to pay for a hundred yen. And after collecting three stamps from each shrine, a souvenir is given regardless which shrine you came last. In addition to that, they will ask you to write in the Wish Statement.

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Got my souvenir after completing the stamps!

So why are these shrines called the power spots of love?

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  • In Takamu Shrine, it is believed that its water well has one of the best waters in Japan and is famous for granting longevity and a promise of romance once you drink it.

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  • In Yamada Tenmangu, a stone of a couple snuggling who watches for everyone’s happiness in love can be spotted in the shrine. Throw a donation in the box on the left and touch the stone while asking for a wish.
  • The Renriboku in Shiroyama Hachimangu is known as the sacred tree for matchmaking and marriage. You can also touch this tree and make a wish! Beside the tree are wooden wishing plaques (ema) with people’s hopes and wishes written on it. The location of this tree is pretty tricky since it strays away from the shrine. If you want to get there, from the area between the parking and entrance of the shrine, walk on path to the left then to the curved path and you will notice a huge tree with a rope tied around it.

Here are the details about the three shrines:

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There is no decided sequence in which shrine you have to visit first, but since the shrines are a few blocks away from each other, it is recommended to visit the nearest shrine from your location first.

Here’s my recommended route if you depart from Nagoya Station:

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Aside from love luck, each shrine also offers various lucky charms and also grants different kinds of good luck so make the best out of your visit in all shrines!

古井の水 = 恋の水 because 恋 and 古井 are both read as Koi. Hence,  恋の水 may be a wordplay of 古井の水.

Click here if you want to find out more shrines with love luck near you!

恋の三社めぐり

Winter Wonderland

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It is my first time to experience snowfall in the month of February, as we are living in central Japan, we only have those 2-3 days of snowfall for the whole winter season. I thought that after the January snow, spring would welcome me with its cherry blossoms but February gave me another chance to see the pristine landscape of the countryside of Japan! So I headed out to the park and made a new friend~