Nagoya, Meieki Area


Okazaki Cherry Blossom Festival Pt.1

The Okazaki Cherry Blossom Festival started a few days ago. People from all atound Aichi (and further, I’d bet) came to oogle the somewhat famous cherry trees. Now that the weather’s finally consistently warm, the trees are blooming up a storm.

After work, I met up with a friend to try and enjoy a little bit of the festival before they closed at 10. We quickly made our way to the venue, grabbed some snacks if grilled meats and sweets, and found a place to take a few pictures.

Most of the trees were illuminated with lanterns of naked bulbs. There were also tons of booths and stalls selling snacks or swag for over inflated prices.

My friend and I ended up sharing a ¥500 bag of cotton candy, while we walked about, and joked about how our phones captured better pictures than our cameras.

All in all it was okay, though we have both seen better. It’s scheduled to continue until mid-April, though it’s sure to be crowded.

From Higashi Okazaki station, it’s about a ten minute walk. Just head towards Okazaki Castle and you can’t miss it.

Golden Mie

Mie Prefecture is best described as spralling acres of farmland interspersed with rivers.

Last weekend, a few friends and I went there for a sports meet. We got up super early and met up at the station, before riding a bus for a couple of hours to a gymnasium.

On the way home, I managed to get a window seat, so I spent a significant amount of time sending pictures to a friend back in the US. He agreed that Mie had a whole lot of farmland.

Apologies for any blur or odd reflections. Many of these pics were taken using Line’s camera feature, from a bus speeding down a highway, with the sun setting almost directly in front of me.

A Trip to the Zoo

Since the weather wasn’t too cold, I decided to go to the zoo after my weekly Japanese class. The zoo was only a few stops away from my school in Imaike. 

So, after I got my homework assignment from the teacher, I grabbed a snack, and hopped on the train bound for Higashiyama Park.

About fifteen minutes, I was buying my ticket, and entering the park-slash-zoo-slash-botanical garden. Because I got there later in the afternoon, I didn’t have the chance to see everything, but I did enjoy my time there.

I saw some animals, though some of the enclosures were pitifully small for some of the larger animals. I saw a lion, a tiger, elephants, birds, koalas, seals, and a polar bear.

I spent most of my time im the greenhouses, looking at plants, and enjoying the heat. 

All in all, it was worth the six hundred yen admission and I look forward to visiting again, when I have more time, and the weather is a bit warmer.

The zoo is only a two minute walk from the Higashiyama Koen station, which is on the Fujigaoka-bound Higashiyama subway line.

The Night View from the Tempozan Ferris Wheel

After taking a ride on the Santa Maria cruise and cheking out the Kaiyakan/Aquarium, I tries the Tempozan Ferris Wheel. 

It’s heralded as the biggest wheel im the world, at 150 meters (their words) and the ride is part tour, part Osaka marketing. Surprisingly, the ticket was only ¥800.
I wanted the best pictures possible, although you’re not technically supposed to take them, so I waited on line for maybe fourty minutes so I could get a transparent car.
Once onboard, I was mesmerized by the view, dispite my mild dislike of heights. I could see Universal Studios Japan, the aquarium, a famous red bridge, and a good portion of the city. The ride lasted fifteen minutes.
If you have a chance to try it, it’s worth doing. It’s really not expensive and each car can fit up to five people.

First Class Cabin, an interesting capsule hotel in Namba, Osaka

As I said in my last post, I decided to take a short trip to Osaka, now that the Winter Holidays are upon us. Part of my decision was based on having been to Osaka in the past and the passing familiarity with it from said visits. The bigger factor was price. The bus tickets (roundtrip) were a meer ¥5031, after applying the points gained from my last trip. That should be a little less that $50 USD, I think.

After I purchased the tickets, I googled hotels and hostels in the area I wanted to visit. Since it’s the holiday season, with many people returning to their hometowns, pices were of course inflated greatly, Lucky for me, I’m pretty flexible.

This time, I was saved from another stint in Joysound (karaoke) when I found First Cabin. Their cheaper options were booked solid, but they had some nice rooms for about ¥5700 a night. 

This fee was for a room with a lockbox (the partician has no lock, though women and men are seregated by floor, with electronic locks), a pair of PJs to borrow, free Wifi, a public bath (again one for women and another for men) with sauna, and many amenities. It might not be a good fit for people who are shy about their bodies. 

Also available were VOD services, food, laundry, and massage services. I did enjoy a light snack before bed (tea and chilled tofu with toppings), as well as the ¥800 breakfast buffet service. Both Japanese and Western foods were available, but I prefer Japanese foods.

For my money I did get a lot, but there were three things that were not quite to my liking, though that’s more to do with me personally, I think. First, the bed was much too stiff, though the provided body pillow helped a lot. 

Second, the room was a bit dry, dispite the supplied humidifier, and I woke up with a nosebleed. Thankfully, I didn’t bleed on any linnens. Though, nosebleeds also happen at home.

Last, this is more of a nitpick than anything else, the baths are way too hot. The presoak shower was absolutely fine, but the big tub was very hot. After entering it, I remembered suddenly that Osaka is known for their love of hot baths. I soaked for about ten minutes before getting dressed and heading back to my room.

All in all, it was very worth the price. The location wad great (around the corner from Namba Walk exit 22), the staff were very nice, and I recommend it to those traveling through Osaka and are a bit open-minded about where they stay.