Rural Living Experience

At last I decided where to spend our summer holiday.

The place is Nagano prefecture which has a hot spring and nature things.
The reason that I chose this place is that my younger daughter can experience rural living and I can get there within three hours by car.

Crawfish by wiki commons

This tour I chose offers us various unique experiences such as crawfishing, making a raft and cooking rural food.
If you want more to do, you can add noodling, cooking bread and various crafts.
We will stay in a “minsyuku” ( guest house ).
A minsyuku is a small Japanese house and sometimes you share public spaces like corridors ando toilet with its owner.
My wife and I have never stayed in a minsyuku because we are shy with new people
So we also may feel more tension than usual.

The travel fee is low even though we are going during tourist season.
That’s helpful for us because a usual high season tour costs 1.5 times higher than off season.
It’s because I ordered through the consumers’ cooperative society( co-op ) which doesn’t pursue a profit.

The other options I also wanted to go to were Naoshima, Kanazawa and the Tohoku area but we will go to these places when my children grow up.

Anyway we’ll enjoy a short summer holiday. If possible, we want to go to the other places during the summer season.

Where Do You Make A Booking For Your Travel?

In the past I had to go to travel agencies and talk to their staff if I want to make a booking for my travel.
The merit of booking through these agencies was that I could read some pamphlets about many places.

So I recently took some pamphlets at a travel agency and searched similar tours to the same destination and compared them on the internet.
In most cases the tours on the web are low-priced than those on pamphlets at a travel agency.
I wonder if a travel agency will disappear if it doesn’t have good travel consultants.

Anyway I’m searching for a tour for these summer holidays by online travel services.
There are three types of online travel services as below.

1 Low-priced Travel
Their service often offers packages that include both the airfare and hotel reservation.
You can’t select the date of flight freely.
Most of the services don’t have dinner or sometimes breakfast.
If you add more money, you can select a higher class hotel and a better flight.
If you want to travel economically, you had better choose this type.

2 Mid-priced Travel
From major to middle class travel companies which offer various tour types such as for family, for businesss and for group participants.
If you want, you can chose a conducted tour.
I have two daughters so I may choose the family type tour.

3 For luxurious travel
This type dos not concern me. 😦

There are tons of online travel services and
the site which advertises many online travel service.
You can compare among them if you input the conditions.

The way to book a trip has changed very much from before.

Where Will We Spend This Summer Vacation?

I want to plan this summer vacation within the next weeks.
This year I’ll be able to take a four or five day holiday with my family.
I heard that this amount of holidays were much less than other countries.
So I can’t go to the US or Europe because it’s very far from Japan.

Anyway I lined up a few candidates.

●Domestic
These places are popular tourist spots in Japan.

Okinawa

Okinawa
This place is very popular during the summer because you can enjoy many kinds of the marine activities such as scuba diving and swimming in the sea.

Kyoto
There are many traditional shrines and temples I like but I wonder if my children can enjoy them.

Otaru, Hokkaido

Hokkaido
It is a cooler area even if it is the hot season in Japan.
We can eat a lot of delicious seafood and see beautiful natural scenery.

Karuizawa

・A nearby summer resort.
I can get to a near summer resort in two hours by car.
We can stay in a cottage, pension and vacation house and we can barbecue.
It’s convenient and reasonable.

●International

I have never been to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia or The Philippines.
I don’t know them well yet but these countries seem fun.
I remembered that I had not been outside of the country in eight years.
My passport will expire before our trip!

Hmmm,

Besides there is a problem that my younger daughter, who is three years old, is allergic to egg and milk products.
It isn’t easy to decide where to go.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wildlife Communicate With Giraffes

I was surprised at the news that people have to wait for five hours to see a panda
in Ueno zoo which is one of the most famous zoos in Tokyo.

So I went to a small zoo which we can get to in thirty minutes last week.
This zoo, which is called Hamura zoo, has small birds, small animals such as monkeys, deers, pigs and others.

The most interesting feature of this zoo is that children can feed giraffes by a long stick.
I saw the faces of giraffes’ face closely and they were eating grass.
Their faces look modest.
Children looked like they were having fun although ostriches sometimes came to eat the giraffes’ food.

Second characteristic is that there are some play equipment in addition to animals.
My daughters enjoyed riding on a SL train and Tomas train.
I was annoyed by Thomas train because we had better enjoy natural things and it costs another money.
However, my younger daughter cried and shouted, “I wanted to ride on it much more. ”

Third characteristic is that there is a large lawn area which families can eat and play freely.
We ate rice balls which my daughters cooked.
Even my three years younger daughter could make rice balls well.


Anyway that is enjoyable enough to satisfy our young children.
We could see all animals without queuing.

Walking in Kawagoe City Part 3 “Passion For Styrofoam”

This topic is about styrofoam figure.
You can find various cute animals when you’re walking around Kawagoe City.

These animals are nearly as tall as human beings and look just like the real animals.
These animals are made out of styrofoam varnished to protect them from the rain.

It is interesting that these animals exist not only in public spaces such as public museums and roads but also in private space such as gardens of a house and shop.

I don’t know whether these figures fit into the cityscape
but I saw many people going close to them and taking a photo.

The man making these figures had worked at Kawagoe City Hall until two years ago.
He retired around fifty to make these figures.
I guess that he can’t live easily just by making these figures.
However, he seems happy that he can do only what he wants to do.
I envy his way of living and I want to plan for early retirement.

Walking in Kawagoe CIty Part 2 “Food”

One of the main reasons people go to Kawagoe City is to eat Kawagoe food.

They vary from snack to Japanese sake.
Adults can buy Japanese pickles and local beer.
Children can buy snacks and ice cream.

Anyway everyone can enjoy eating them at a bench or while walking as soon as you buy them.

For example we bought rice crackers which were divided in bite size pieces.
We bought it because they were sold at toward the road and smelled of good soy sauce.

You can also find some kinds of pickled plums.
You can try a food sample and hear about it in detail.

However the most famous ingredient in Kawagoe City seems to be sweet potato.
They are used in ice cream, doughnuts, soba, distilled spirit(shouchu) and other snacks.

We ate rice dumplings that contained purple sweet potato.
This color and taste is natural.All my family was satisfied with this rice dumplings because it doesn’t contain eggs.

burdock pickles
toasted soybean flour candy

We also bought toasted soybean flour candy and burdock pickles .
We could go on forever buying many foods.
We feel these foods are more delicious than they really are because they are displayed beautifully and smell good.

If you buy these souvenirs, you can really feel like a tourist.

Walking in Kawagoe City Part 1 ”Architecture”

During the Golden Week, tons of people go to various tourist spots.
The road is so congested that we can’t go to far place easily.
So I went to a near tourist spot, Kawagoe City, with my family yesterday.

Of course many people also went to this city to do sightseeing.

I walked around and observed the various styles of traditional architectures again.

This is handmade soba noodles shop.
This architecture, which is registered as a tangible cultural asset, was built in 1930.
Western design old architectures is rare in Kawagoe City.
Even now this shop is popular as you can eat delicious soba noodle.

This is an eel(unagi) shop.
You can find various eel shops in this city and some shops have been opened since 1800.
I love eel set menu but I can’t eat it often because it’s expensive.

This is Kashiya(snack) street. Kasi means snack.
In the past craftsman had made traditional candy in this street.
You can buy various nostalgic snacks, such as candy, rice crackers and dried potatoes.
I guess that this street is the most crowded because of its narrow alley(roji).
People seem to be attracted by this crowded place.

This black building is used as post office.
This black color is like an “Kura” which is a storehouses made of roof tile and clay.

If you’ll build a building in this district, you need to think about the building design
to match the city scape.

It’s interesting that everyone uses an old architectures to repair or reuse for their own purposes.
Or they seem to talk about other architects.

It’s a good vision they have in common that they should preserve this townscape better.
These mindest gives this city the power to compete with other tourist spot.
This city can improve more due to a lot of people visiting there.
This tourist traffic is supported by citizens, merchants and public officers.

I’ll write about Kawagoe food next post. See you next post.

related
Kawagoe City 01
Kawagoe City 02

A walk in the park and a visit to the zoo

At last we went out for a walk after my daughters recovered from the flu
It’s been a long time since we went out the park.

This park has a large forest and a small zoo.

The cherry blossoms are going to wither soon.

Some swans, flamingos and water birds live in this pond.

My younger daughter wes looking into the pond through a fence thoughtfully.

My daughters plucked a dandelion and a ring from it with their mother’s help.

At the zoo we could pet deer, sheep, chickens and guinea pigs.
My daughters were afraid at first, but they managed to touch them softly eventually.

These monkeys were grooming each other.
They hid under the shade because it was hot.
My younger daughter said, “Those monkeys don’t move quickly.”

p.s This blog has reached 10,000 hits.Thank you very much, evryone. 🙂

Tokorozawa Aviation Museum




These photos I took are the Tokorozawa Avitation Museum in Saitama Prefecture.

The first Japanese aviation ground was build in this place in 1911.
The first flight was only about 800 meters, All the aviators had taken flying lessons there.
So this place is called ” the birthplace of Japanese aviation ”
You can see various old airplanes. Of course you can ride some planes and try a flying simulator.School kids also come there for class trip
There are large parks, tennis courts, ball stadium and stages around the museum.If you bring a lunch box, you can play there all day.

This museum has been closed since the earthquake in order to saving energy but this museum will open from today. 🙂

 

Kusatsu02: We can walk around the compact town.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kusatu has a unique character to it, namely its hot spa.
The character is a small area where tourists can walk all over the area in Kusatu easily.
We walked along a narrow path and a steep slope while smelling sulfur from the hot spa.
There are traditional buildings which includes a hotel and souvenir shops.

We could try food samples, which were manju (buns filled with minced pork and vegetables or bean-paste), rice cookies and Japanese pickles at some souvenir shops.
Most tourists walk around while eating something.

I bought rice cookies and unique beans for my family.
The shop“Mamekichi” that I bought the beans at sold various types of beans.

For example there are pickled plum, milk and aglio e olio peperoncino beans.

That’s the fun part of the trip.