Nabana no Sato, Winter Illuminations

Nabana no Sato
駒江漆畑-270 長島町 Kuwana, Mie Prefecture 511-1144
0594-41-0787
https://g.co/kgs/y26mvw

http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp:8010/page.jsp?id=13894

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Cherry Blossoms
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As we were spending two nights in Nagoya, we decided to visit the winter illuminations which cost 2,300¥ per pax, which includes 1000¥ vouchers to shop inside. Bus ticket was 890¥ for one way.

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Reflections in the pond. A zen philosophy.

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The park was really crowded and impossible to eat in a restaurant so we bought snacks instead.
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We arrived at 530pm, it was still bright and we could admire the flowers.

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The lighting only came on at 7pm when it was dark.

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Really, Nagoya does not have much attractions except buying duty free toiletries.

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So a visit to the winter illuminations is a nice way to spend the evening.

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2018 show highlights Kumamoto which was hit by earthquake the year before.

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https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/nabana-no-sato-2018-japan/index.html

Nagoya Alpine Tour, Tateyama Day 2

On hindsight perhaps not include breakfast as we were trying to catch the 0740 train and their breakfast only starts at 0700hrs.

If you like Japanese breakfast, it has pretty decent spread with curry rice and miso soup. But it was quite a rush for us as we needed to get to the station by 0730hrs.

If you have more time, visit the morning market which opens at 6am.

Our journey to the Snow Wall
1) 0740hrs train from Takayama Station to Toyama Station. We took two connecting trains instead of JR. It was quite easy. Just hop off and cross over. 2 hr 30min

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2) Arrived at Toyama station at 1005hrs. Get out and go next door to Dentetsu-Toyama Station.

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Toyama is a much bigger city than Takayama and has a shopping centre. At the station, we chilled for coffee for 20 mins. This is a good place to load on your picnic bento for Murodo so you dont waste time queuing for food.

3) Showed my JR Alpine pass and got a Alpine route entry ticket for the Tateyama Cable car/ trolley.
Take the 1056hrs Chitetsu Line to Tateyama station.

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4) Arrived at 1159hrs at Tateyama station, go to level 2 for the 1220hrs Cable Car (Tateyama Station to Bijodaira Station).

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If you got the 5 days JR Alpine Pass, there is no need to buy or exchange tickets. Just show your pass to the station master.

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5) At Bijodaira we took the bus to Murodo ( mid-April to late-June) to experience the snow wall @130pm. I could not get a room at Hotel Tateyama at Murodo, the highest point which was a blessing on hindsight because its quite crowded. Tateyama Highland Bus / 30 mins. There is a restaurant, cafe at Bijodaira 美人平. We brought our own bento and snacks with hot chocolate so did not buy anything.

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Option 2 is to take another bus to Midagahara. In summer, you can probably take a stroll through the wetlands. But now in May, everything is covered in snow.

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6) Left Murodo @ 3pm to take Tateyama Highland Bus 2 to Midahahara. The wait was quite long but the journey short. Press the overhead buzzer to inform the driver you are getting off.

The snow wall closes at 3pm while the last bus leaves Murodo at 5pm. So if there is a normal queue you may make it back to Toyama or even Matsumoto for the night.

But I cant bear the thought of travelling another 2hrs.

So its off to the onsen and nap before dinner at 6pm.

Initially I thought there were many activities such as trekking and star gazing at Midagahara. But in reality, for the non Japanese speaker, there is none. Even the slideshow at 815pm by nature enthusiasts. Although we dont understand Japanese, the talk was interesting as we could understand a few things about Mt Tateyama. It is one of 3 holy mountains in Japan. It has a hell valley of volcanic activity. There are mountain worshippers or climbers. It is beautiful in autumn, leaves of red, orange and gold with alpine wild flowers and little pools of water forming, gitaka.

Unfortunately it was raining when we were there, so no star gazing. I may return to Hotel Migadara in autumn one day. Cant believe all that snow will melt into this beautiful grassland on the website.
https://www.japan-guide.com/blog/koyo16/160927_tateyama.html

 
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Nagoya Alpine, Takayama old town Day 1

Take note that most shops in the old town are closed by sunset although some restaurants are still open till 9pm.

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Little Kyoto they call Tateyama. But the buildings look rebuilt to me.

Maybe they stay open longer in summer. Some close by 5pm or when they reach target for the day as I read in the fine print of a city travel guide.

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Go early.

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I didnt quite like the glutinous rice balls dipped in soya sauce. But well, its a local specialty. The green tea ice cream is so-so compared to Lavender ice cream of Hokkaido and the Okinawa salted ice cream, probably because of the creamy rich milk of those places.

Definitely try this:

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http://takayama-kotteushi.jp/
Hida beef Toro sushi rice
Wasabi soy sauce and gray hair onions
Two pieces for 1,000 yen
Kamiyano Town Takayama City Gifu Prefecture 34
10am to 5pm (Closed on Fridays)

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“Goma Sesame Takayama shop”
2-61 Honcho, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture 506-0011
http://www.goma-takayama.jp/index.html
Try their rice crackers and sesame oil.

I walked in because they were so friendly in giving out samples and bought something. Regret not buying more.

Tateyama is also famous for their sake. Try the 永室,¥2,700 for a good bottle. There is a shop opposite the JR Station.

We had dinner at Ateya which served good A5 Hida beef, see previous post.

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Enjoy the scenery pulled by rickshaw like old days.
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Flora in Takayama, Japan

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Paeonia anomala, a species of herbaceous perennial peony. (Thanks to Tonytomeo for identifying it.)

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You can tell a country by the flowers they keep.

In different parts of Japan, the natives seem to like a certain type of plants.

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Like this dogwood, Cornus florida. with white flower-like bracts. (Tonytomeo)

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In Tokyo, they like to plant ginko. Bougainvillas and hibiscus in Okinawa.

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Pansies are common here although Ive yet to see them in salads.

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Wisteria in Nagoya.

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Nagoya Alpine Tour 5 Days – Day 1

I could have stayed at home during May Day or have an adventure at Nagoya during golden week.
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We took the red eye SQ Flight to Nagoya which arrived at about 0915hrs at Chubu Centrair airport. After exiting the immigration, a JR Rail office is conveniently located on the left to initiate our JR Pass and reserve seats.

We took the Meitetsu line 800 ¥ from airport to Meitetsu Nagoya Station. A short walk to Nagoya Station to catch the 1048hrs Hida 7 Express, 2.5hrs to Takayama Station. Google map is very accurate, although Hyperdia website is the best for planning connections. We missed by just 1 min (tried to buy bread and coffee) and had to take the 1143hrs train instead.

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We arrived in Takayama at 3pm, check in at the hotel, a straight 6 min walk from station with an onsen. The room is tiny with no frills. (Reviewers said it was noisy from the train tracks but I didnt hear any.)

Activity
Dropped our bags and walked in the old town which was 15 mins away from train station.

Stayed at:
Takayama Ouan Hotel 
飛騨花里の湯 高山桜庵
4-313 Hanasatocho, Gifu Prefecture, Takayama, Takayama, Japan 506-0026 
花里町4-313, 高山, 高山, 日本 506-0026
SGD 296.97 (B’fast)

Suggestions for dinner:
丸明 (Maruaki)
Address: 6-8 Tenmanmachi, Takayama 506-0025, Gifu Prefecture
Google Maps: Hida Beef Maruaki Restaurant
Tel. no: +81 577-35-5858
Price range: 2,900 to 4,500+ jpy

Do try Tsuzumi Soba (つづみそば) one of the oldest ramen restaurants in Takayama. It specialises in Takayama Ramen, which is referred to as chuka soba by the locals.

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We took a walk at the old town which was about 15 min walk away and tried A5 Hida beef at Ateya. It was excellent with Himuro sake (Niki syuzou). Izakaya is a one man show and very cozy. Like a 10 seater.

Ajikura Tengoku (味蔵天国) is next to my hotel and specialises in yakiniku. Serves only the best JA Hida Group’s Farmers “Hida beef”, restaurant organised and run by the farmers from the JA Group (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives). It was opened when we passed by at 5pm but when we went at 730pm, both Maruaki and Ajikura were closed.

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Ateya
9-3,Asahimachi , Takayama City,Gifu , 506-0026 , JAPAN
TEL:  +81-577-33-6651
We had a melt in your mouth beef set @ 5,800¥ for 120g x2. The menu is pretty reasonable but we figured that since we are not going to eat Hida beef for a very long time, we will try the premium A5.
The isakaya is a one man show and he recommemded a good Takayama glass of sake Himuro 永室 for 800¥, which we later found in a sake shop opposite the JR Station.

Later we tried the luggage forwarding service to our next stop Matsumoto, instead of at our Tateyama Alpine hotel. The fee is ¥1577 per bag which is pretty expensive, maybe because of the hotel service. Better option is to send to the TAQBin office opposite the Takayama JR Station and pick it up from the Matsumoto station instead of the point to point. But anyway there is always a first time.