I was thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to Aichi prefecture – a new unexplored beautiful part of Japan for me during last year’s holiday season. The name ‘Aichi’ amuses me quite a little. I know ‘Aishiteru’ means I love you in Japanese so I choose to name my trip ‘AiChi-shiteru’ – my journey to fall in love with Aichi Prefecture. Located right in the middle of Japan, Aichi is named ‘Heart of Japan’. You may know her better by her capital city, Nagoya which is serviced by the Chubu Centrair International Airport and a quick 3 hours Shinkansen train ride away from Tokyo.
We arrived early through a red-eye flight and straight away started our journey. Our very first stop was Handa Akarenga Building (akarenga means red brick).
Originally constructed by the Germans to brew Kabuto Beer in 1898, the building has now been transformed into a museum which showcases the history behind the beer brewery and the antique tools used in the olden days.
We were surprised to know that the bullet holes on the building’s exterior are actual bullet holes from World War II. Anyway, enough of the chilling history, I am sure you can tell how much I love the weather here! It was ~15 degrees and breezy~ ahh…
Next stop, we went to Sake Brewery Museum.
Sake tasting was the highlight of the visit! We were told that Junmai Dai Ginjo is the most premium sake to be extracted out of the brewery.
Floating on the topmost layer of the sake, it is pretty much the essences of the barrel.
Our next destination – Laguna Ten Bosch is the perfect place for families of every age! We were immediately attracted by the Ferris Wheel and the sense of adventure in the air.
The entire place is segregated into 3 main parts: Lagunasia, Festive Market and the Laguna Spa. If you are here for the summer, you must stay here for the pool and spa resort!
And the Thousand Sunny Cruise! It is the must-visit for all one piece fans! We got to go up for a tour! All the characters can be spotted all over the cruise! You even get to sail out! How cool is it to live as a pirate huh??
In the evening we walked over to Lagunasia, the amusement park. We didn’t manage to get a ride but the views! They are so beautiful and the Christmas decorations were already up!
The Lights were over the pool, which opens all summer~ Now I really want to go back for a good summer break!
Caught their latest 360 degrees 3D projection show~ It’s the Christmas theme and it’s so amazing! Live performance makes you feel like you’re in the moving castle itself!
We woke up really early the next morning to set off at 8am (kudos to me because you know I don’t wake up for until 10am these days). Irago View Hotel which I stayed last evening overlooks Kojigahama Beach also affectionately known by the locals as Lover’s Beach.
Located right at the tip of the Atsumi Peninsula, many come from afar to ring the bell for well wishes and it worked for me too! The sun came out right after we rang it. Lalalala~
We stopped over for lunch at the Gamagori Mikan Park where we can legally pluck orange and throw the skin on the ground (in fact, we were really told to do that!). These peeled orange skins will be my CNY greetings to everyone in 2017. Haha!
After our fruity lunch, we headed over to Obara to take in the beautiful sights of Sakura in Autumn. Yes, you heard it right. There is no need to squeeze with hordes of tourism in spring when you can see in autumn at Aichi Prefecture. It was lovely seeing a large patch of pink hue over the browning trees. It was a pity that we could not venture out too far as it was raining at the time of our visit. The scenery reminded me of Minoo park in Osaka.
Another beautiful, cultural area that really worth visiting, Korankei. It’s a famous valley most famous for its autumn scenery.
Along the Tomoe River, into the park, there is a Yashiki Village. It’s like the Japanese kampong. We could hear cow moo very often. People actually lives there and were having dinner. There was also a bazaar that the locals shopped at after dinner.
I personally loved these 2 locations that day. Mainly because I am not a shopping person but a more scenic traveller (surprised?). I love the nature; the untainted, unpolluted waters and the peaceful atmosphere, the simple shops and their lifestyle. I usually am more inspired to snap photos in these areas. It’s true they are usually inaccessible and ulu but these, these are what makes the distance worthy.
Waking up at 6am the very next day to makeup, pack up, eat breakfast and dash out for the bus by 8am is no joke. Japanese efficiency. I thought I had time to do some work because the bus journey between each point could be up to 2hours. (Well, the locations were NOT that far apart, it’s just that we were travelling east to west all the time.) but I zonked out on the bus every single time, except day 3.
Our first stop of the day was Okazaki Castle. As we alighted, we were immediately greeted by the super Genki Samurai, from the Great Ieyasu military command corps. And we got a special welcome performance! I mean I also an actor I know, but they are so into characters I’m so impressed!
I got to tour the castle a bit, it was so freaking cold that day at 9 degrees celsius. And even pressing the shutter hurt my finger. And the top of the tower was probably the tallest building I’ve entered since I’ve arrived. HA.
For people who loves Japanese culture and history, the name Tokugawa Ieyasu will not be unfamiliar to you. He was the last Shogun that unified Japan and lasted through the Edo period. And Aichi was his birth place. I kinda became the inquisitive kid that asked a lot of questions to my guide because I was really interested in history. If we didn’t have to rush, I would have stayed to carefully finish all the artefacts.
Will you make miso for me every day? That is the Japanese style of “Let’s apply HDB together”. To find out more this gesture of love, we visited the Kakukyu Hatcho Miso Making Factory.
They have been making miso for 19 generations and still uses the old barrels to ferment the soybeans. You can really smell it while walking through the fermentation barrels. It’s the nice kind of smell that makes you hungry and crave for a hot miso soup right away.
Probably explained why the soy ice cream and crackers were swept clean at the shop.
After the yummilicious discovery, we visited the Shinpukuji Temple. It is the oldest Temple in Aichi, and also 1 of the oldest in the whole of Japan built way back in the 6th century.
We also had the monk to pray for us as a gesture of goodwill.
The place is so peaceful and beautiful.
Finally, we visited Meiji Mura. In my opinion, it is one of the highlights of this trip. Because NATUREEEE~~~
It is a really special place because there are a total of 68 architecture built during the Meiji Period, brought from all over Japan and rebuilt back here in Meiji Mura. It’s not even a lego land replica, it’s the ORIGINAL! How cool is that!
The place is so huge you wish you can sleep over in these buildings. It’s so beautiful. One of the most important building was the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, designed by renown architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
You have definitely heard of Toyota, rode a Toyota, probably even own a Toyota. But did you know that Toyota started as a textile factory before making automobile?
We went round to explore Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.
Toyota’s current and latest car models were also exhibited.
The MAMA KANNON Temple was an interesting find on the trip. Its The boobie Temple. Shintoism tribute many things to the law of nature. And breast, the source of nutrients for offsprings are considered sacred.
So the prayer wall has all sorts of prayer request. But of course, there are serious prayers like be healed of breast cancer, breast milk for the baby, etc.. I not so greedy to ask for bigger cups, only prayed that my boobs will not sag. Hahahahaha.
We finally had some OTOT time to shop!!!! and because we had no guide, I’m left to figure things on in my lousy Japanese. Haha, it wasn’t so bad la. We still managed to get on a cab and get to Alice on Wednesday.
In the evening we had an exchange party with the Japanese representatives of various industries and the foreign delegates. So I got to use my lousy Japanese to introduce myself. We were appointed an interpreter each, I feel so sorry my interpreter didn’t need to worry about me. We ended up talking about Arashi at my table. And when I said I have loved Sakurai Sho since debut they all nodded in approval.
LOL?! We got to watch a special Hattori Hanzo Ninja Team Performance. And they were PROFESSIONAL NINJA. OH MAI GOSH. And I got to win a little something! Yay!
Overall, I really enjoyed my trip at Aichi Prefecture. I would definitely find time to visit again but this time at a more leisurely pace.