- - - 6/5/2022 - - -

Elephant Park and Petting Zoo

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:45 am

After camping and before heading home, we all decided to go check out the nearby elephant park. The zoo had an elephant show and feeding time very similar to what I remember seeing in Thailand. Tyler was a bit afraid of the elephants but Melina got to feed them some carrots. There were a lot of other animals to see and feed throughout the zoo as well as a large petting zoo area with deer, wallabies, rabbits, and other cute animals.

- - - 12/4/2021 - - -

Fuma Ninja in Odawara

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:29 am

Since Melina was still exited to be a ninja, we took a day trip down to Odawara castle to see the Fuma Ninja Show. The Fuma were the ninja clan active in the area during the age of war in Japan, and there is a lot of information about them in the castle as well as a separate kids ninja museum. The show was pretty entertaining and we got to take a picture with the group afterwards.

- - - 10/23/2021 - - -

Edomura Ninja Training

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:45 am

This year for Halloween, Melina decided she wanted to be a ninja. So to prepare, we took a trip up to Kinugawa to go visit Edomura Wonderland to get some real ninja training. Our first afternoon was spent taking the ropeway up the mountain to feed some monkeys and take a hike to a shrine, followed by a nice ride down the Kinu river on a wooden boat, and a nice stay at a hotel with a hot bath. The following day was spent at Edomura having lots of fun seeing the ninja show and going through the ninja stamp rally courses to learn to be a real ninja.

- - - 5/31/2021 - - -

Kamogawa Farm Stay

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:26 am

We went out to the middle of nowhere Chiba to visit our friends farm. We had been meaning to visit for a really long time but had never had the chance up to now. It was a nice relaxing weekend walking around the farm picking "oranges"[夏みかん], Mulberries, and Biwa. We got to play with their three cats and one dog and visited the nearby famous step rice fields.

- - - 11/3/2019 - - -

Izu Camping and Sightseeing

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:18 am

Since one of the typhoons we had this year pretty much destroyed our usual camping site, this year we tried driving down to Izu for some camping and sightseeing. On the way there we made a stop in Atami and visited the castle there. We also stayed for the monkey show, which was quite a performance. The camping site was away from any town, in the middle of the woods, and a quick hike to a really nice waterfall, in short a great place to camp! The next day we took a gondola up to the top of a small mountain to see a great view of Mt. Fuji. We had ice cream, walked around the hiking course, and Melina played on the jungle gym. Afterwards, we went to the Izu Sea Paradise where we fed otters and fish, enjoyed the shows, and did some fishing for crawdads.

- - - 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 - - -


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.


- - - 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!