- - - 5/27/2018 - - -

Trip to Ise

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:52 am

I finally took the family to Ise in Mie prefecture for a long weekend. Ise along with Ise Shrine is one of the more famous Japan travel destinations that I had not yet been to. The Ise Grand Shrine is considered the most sacred Shintō shrine in Japan, and along with the top of Mt Fuji is considered a must visit sometime in your lifetime place. Of course we did many of the other activities in the area and made sure to eat all the famous foods:


We took the shinkansen and express trains there and back


Purification stream of the inner shrine


At the inner shrine. There are always lots of people visiting.


The Uji Bridge


The famous shopping street in front of the shrine. There were lots of traditional shops and foods, and we saw a Taiko performance.


Eating ‘Akafuku’ the famous Japanese sweet of the area


Eating the local style Ise Udon


For dinner we had the local style ‘TekoneSushi’


At the fairly impressive Toba Sea-Folk Museum


Melina loved playing in the submarine


Eating Unagi for lunch


Taking a boat ride around Ago bay, famous for Japanese Perl cultivation


A quick stop at a park for slides, running around, and ice cream


We hiked up to the overlook of the bay at Yokoyama


Eating Matsuzaka beef (up there on the rankings with Kobe beef) for dinner along with other things Melina likes.


‘Okayu’ at the outer shrine for breakfast


Finally was Melina’s favorite part of the trip; Toba Aquarium. She got to see and touch a whole lot of sea animals, and a snake. It was my first time to pet a walrus as well.

- - - 11/7/2017 - - -

Kumamoto

Filed under: — Andy @ 3:52 am

Here are some highlights of our short trip to Kumamoto. Places we visited include:
Amakusa Islands and Shimoda onsen
Milk road scenic drive
Various onsens around Oguni city including Kurokawa onsen
Making miso and staying at a retreat
Kujyu mountain range (previous post)
Cuddly Dominion and helicopter ride to view the cauldron of Mt. Aso
+This was Melina’s favorite part of the trip. She got to feed bears, touch capybaras, penguins, alpacas, and lots of other animals. She and Suzuna also got their first helicopter ride up to see the active volcano that had a large eruption in 2015. The Mt. Aso ropeway is still closed.
Kumamoto city: Ramen, Castle[ruins], and Japanese garden
+Kumamoto had a large earthquake in 2016 practically destroying Kumamoto castle. A sightseeing course walking around the grounds is open, but the main castle is still undergoing repairs and will not open for another 2 years. The entire castle complex is slated to take 20 years to repair.

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- - - 5/28/2017 - - -

Haruna Lake Revisited

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:16 am

After the Insect World we decided to go visit lake Haruna. Unlike last time, the weather was great and we were able to take the ropeway to the top of the mountain. Melina and Suzuna also got a horse ride and then we played in the lake a little. However, like last time we made it down to Ikaho onsen for a nice soak before heading home.


Melina wanted to go further into the lake by herself. I let her… she fell in and got all wet.

Gunma Insect World

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:04 am

Our second day in Gunma after the festival was spent doing some sightseeing. Our first stop was Gunma Insect World. There were lots of different insect and a large forest area to explore, but the main attraction was the butterfly house. There were all the different kinds of butterflies that one could find in Japan, and Melina even got to release a new butterfly. We also made a caterpillar our of pipe cleaners and took a small hike.

- - - 3/28/2017 - - -

Mother daughter trip to Ehime

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:15 am

Suzuna and Melina took a trip down to Ehime during the middle of the week to do some sight seeing and visit a friend.


Matsuyama castle


Jakoten, famous foods


City bus train


Dogo Onsen - Oldest in Japan


Ferry to Deer Island


Anpanman train!

- - - 1/14/2017 - - -

Squirrel Park

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:37 am

Years and years ago I was in a bus and we drove past a squirrel park. Finally, the opportunity arose to take the daughter and visit that place I saw years ago. Melina was super exited to see all the squirrels but was still a bit afraid to feed or touch them. The park also had rabbits and guinea pigs to feed as well. Honestly, I think I had just as much fun as my daughter…

- - - 11/11/2016 - - -

Chiba Castles

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:42 am

The family and I took a last minute trip out to Chiba. We didnt really have any plans, so we just decided to drive around and see what we could find. We took the tunnel that goes under the Tokyo Bay on the way there and just keep going across the prefecture. We made it to Otaki where there was a very nice herb garden and shop for the wife to look at. We also made it to Otaki Castle before they closed. We then drove down the east coast looking for dinner before we stopped and had some nice seafood. By the time we ate and made it down to Kamogawa we were pretty tired but didnt have any place to stay, so we ended up putting the seats down in the car to make a bed and camped out in the car for the night. We had our sleeping bags with up so it wasnt cold, and Melina really enjoyed the experience. The next morning, we made our way to Tateyama, but before we got there we found a small but very nice festival/flea market type event. We spent the morning there eating lots of good foods and looking around. Afterwards we made it to Tateyama and climbed up to Tateyama Castle. The view from the castle was very impressive. Near the castle was Akayama Underground Tunnels that were built around WWII and are among the largest surviving air-raid shelters in Japan. Lastly we drove up the west coast, stopped at a temple in a mountainside, and took the ferry across the bay back home.

- - - 5/22/2016 - - -

Kusatsu Onsen

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:59 am

After the German village we drove over to Kusatsu onsen, which is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring towns. We spent the afternoon exploring around the town, taking a small hike, and relaxing in an onsen.

Kronenberg

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:55 am

Although the festival in Gunma was going on for two days, we decided to spend the second day doing some sightseeing. Very close to where the festival was being held, was a German Village (Akagi Kronenberg). We spend the morning there looking at the park, trying the not so good German bread, taking the train trip, and petting all the animals.

- - - 4/2/2016 - - -

Hanami at Negishi Park

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:17 am

It’s sakura time. We met up with some old friends and went to Negishi park for Hanami. Melina had a great time crawling around the park and was the center of attention wherever she went.