For starters if you are looking for something fancy, this is not the place, but delicious it is. My family recently took a trip into Tokyo to get our kids their passports. We found ourselves in a neighborhood near the Kamiyacho station ( the closest station to the United States Embassy) around lunch time and we were starving. After googling “Ramen near me” we found this place about a block from the station and decided to give it a try.
Upon arrival we were a little bit nervous because the machine outside, on which you order, was all in Japanese. We arrived a few minutes earlier than it opened at 11am. Thankfully we had a few minutes to use google translate and order before a long line formed behind us. Inside there was about 5 tables that seated up to 4 people. We have a very active toddler and we felt comfortable with the seating.
My husband and daughters had the miso ramen. It was good but also very different than miso ramens we have had in the past. It almost has a smoky flavor to it. I ordered the Taiwanese soba dish and it exceeded my expectations. It was truly delicious. I would recommend this place if you find yourself in this area and are hungry. -February 2020, Deena Brunson.
Can the esteemed world of scientific facts and findings be funny? Is it possible to distill the complex enigmas of the cosmos into a pithy one-liner?
Nerd Nite Tokyo sets out to prove that not only could a gathering of nerds in a bar result in hilarious fun indeed, but you may actually learn a thing or two as a result.
Nerd Nite Global organization fashions itself as the “the Discovery Channel with beer,” that is “held in more than 100 cities across the globe during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines”. Their events are inspired “to explore scientific research in a totally new way”- Global Nerd Nite site: https://nerdnite.com/
Check out their next event on February 7th, featuring three fascinating speakers discussing diverse and interesting science-y things. All talks are in English and no prior knowledge of any particular field of study is needed. Come learn something new! Each speaker and topic will be announced beforehand on the Nerd Nite Tokyo’s event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/484696659111402/
Nerd Nite Tokyo has been a successful platform for scientists, historians, storytellers to share their journey and research findings around the Kanto Plains for the last three years. Hopscotching around trendy bars in Tokyo they bring lofty science to a local public audience. For upcoming events check Tokyo Nerd Nite’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nerdnitetokyo/ and website: https://tokyo.nerdnite.com/
In the winter Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest has a Christmas light walk and rides with Paddington bear theme. The illumination runs from November to April.
If you drive tolls are ¥1700 each way. It is 45 min from the Supply gate. If you take the no toll route it is 75 min from the supply gate. We left at 5:30 pm on Friday. It may be faster at a different time,
The gondola ride is ¥700, infants and pets are free. Admission was ¥1800 each adult for the park. Children 2 and younger are free. Bring extra yen for rides and food. Rides vary from ¥100 – ¥800. Lots of food vendors, vending machines and lockers available. Park is wheelchair/stroller friendly. Restaurant, gift shops and tons of clean restrooms (a few with kid-size toilets and urinals) babies changing facilities also. The park is also pet-friendly! Time may be better on a different day. Park opens at 4 pm, closes at 9 pm. December 2019, Sylvia.
The ASOBUILD is a one-stop location for hours of fun. It is six floors of all kinds of experiences and there is something for everyone, at every age. Parking like many places in Japan can be an adventure but there are plenty of garages around there. If driving isn’t your thing, even better, the ASOBUILD is located at the Yokohama train station.
My family stumbled upon the ASOBUILD in search of the ever-popular Unko exhibit or better know as the Poop museum. Once we arrived we were disappointed to learn the exhibit had changed but excited to explore the places we had found. Looking at the map we realized how much the ASOBUILD had to offer. The basement is a lounge called “Pitch Club”. The creatively decorated area holds many events. It is like a grow-ups playground with drinks, food, music, pool tables, darts, and comfy chairs. This area seemed to be popular all hours. We saw people going in and out from the time we arrived until we left.
“Post street” is the name of the first floor and main floor. This is where most entered the building and where you bought your tickets to exhibit and play areas. We bought our “Oceans by Nature” tickets with ease at the counter before taking a stroll around the rest of “Post Street”. It was around Halloween when we visited and to our surprise, they had a large decorated area for people to take their own free pictures. They even had some props available as well. Following our photoshoot, we walked the halls among several adorable food booths that had a very gourmet food truck feel.
The second floor called “Ale Box” holds ever-changing exhibits. We chose to go into the “Oceans by Naked” exhibit which was small by awe-inspiring. Once we exited the exhibit we wandered the halls and found so much more. There was also a drone racing area, an escape room and a gift shop that accompanied the “Oceans by Naked” exhibit.
Scanning the brochure area before paying for our “Oceans by Naked” tickets I noticed signs about the daily craft being offered. The third floor called “Monotory” holds workshops making all kinds of crafts from soap to Christmas wreaths. You can see what crafts are available and also make reservations on their very easy to use the website in English. I look forward to returning and trying their recommended DIY welding and shelf making.
The fourth floor is a kid area called “PuChu”. It cost about 2000 yen for 90 minutes for children between 0-12 years old. Parents also pay a fee of 1000 yen for 90 minutes. Day passes are also available for 2500 yen per child and 1000 per parent. The area is full of bright colors, puzzles, things to swing on and places to jump from. It looked like yet another reason we will need to return.
The last floor is the multi-sports floor. It is located on the roof and has various lessons such as soccer, archery, and boxing. The multiple courts can be rented for large functions or games. They have games of basketball and soccer that can anyone can jump into as well. Its a regular sports haven.
The ASOBUILD has it all! It’s the perfect place for a girl’s day, guys day or family day. If you find yourself in Yokohama or feel up for traveling you are sure to be entertained at the ASOBUILD. – Deena Brunson, October 2019.
Nice little river side restaurant that is very relaxing. It is 15 minutes away from Nippara Limestone Caves. They serve things such as pizza, curry, pasta and salad. You can also go trout fishing for about 600 yen which adds a bit of excitement to the day. All in all a great place to stop for lunch. The restaurant also has some free parking spots. ~Kalina Bojkova, August 2019.
Great for families with babies and kids 4 and up who can walk and do a lot of stairs. A tad more challenging with a toddler but still a lot of fun especially if you have a strong dad with you who doesn’t mind carrying the toddler up the steep stairs. Has a bunch of spots to stop and look around which is very recharging. There’s a little area right by the entrance of the cave where you can sit by the water and have lunch and also covered benches upstairs by the bathroom.
Bring a jacket with a hood and you should be fine. Cold Water is dripping down hence the hood. Definitely hat or hood for little kids who don’t like cold water on their heads. There is not much space for big hats so a hood is better. You can wear long pants but if you are walking the whole time you will warm up. Kids should probably wear long pants too. My warm blooded husband was happy wearing shorts and a tee as you can see in the picture.
Bring little easy snacks for the kids to keep them happy as it is 45 min adventure and the echo makes it extra loud when they cry compared to the Japanese people who talk to each other in a whisper.
There is free parking not many spots available so go early. They also have toilet, a little restaurant, a shrine and lots of nature. It’s a great day trip. Also go with a small car and a really good driver the way up is one way. Perfect for a motorcycle ride per my husband’s words. ~ Kalina Bojkova, August 2019.
My husband loves to fish and after being in Japan for almost a year and not fishing, I knew it was time. I had overheard a friend talking about this place and we went the next day. Okutama Fishing Center did not disappoint. The drive is about 45 minutes from base. Once you arrive you will be on the opposite side of the Tama river and it looks as though you cant drive across. Keep going! The road is narrow but there is indeed a road going over the river to the decently sized parking lot.
The area alone is worth the drive. It is absolutely beautiful along the river. We went on a very rainy day and still had a blast. There are different types of fishing available. You can pay for day passes for fishing along the river. You can also pay for half day fishing on certain types of fishing. Prices vary depending on what you choose to do. We arrived around 11am and therefore decided to just fish in the pond. We had 3 children ages 4 and under and we were there to experience fishing with them.
The pond was 400 yen per child. We got the vibe the pond was more for children because it was very easy to catch fish and you could potentially get quite a bit in a short time. We were only charged for the children. We were then given bait and 3 fishing poles and nets. We hung our nets on a hook that hangs into the pond and began fishing. In less than 30 minutes we had caught 7 fish and we decided to call in quits.
When we finished the men working at the center cleaned our fish, put them on sticks and slathered them with salt. We paid an extra 500 yen to rent a small grill. Each fish you catch also costs 350 yen. After we got our grill we were shown an area out of the rain to grill our fish. They showed us how to grill it and when it was done we ate it right off the stick. It was amazing fish and an really fun experience. Near the rest rooms there is also bags of potatoes and onions you can purchase to grill as well.
When our fish was done we took one last walk along the river before heading home. There were fishermen set up everywhere. The kids had a great time playing in the streams leading to the river and throwing rocks. I imagine in nicer weather grilling right on the river is also allowed. Okutama Fish Center was a fun introduction to fishing in Japan and a fun day out. Deena Brunson, July 2019
Blueberries, strawberries and mushrooms galore can all be found to harvest at Sayama Berryland. The farm is about a forty five minute drive from base and is fairly easy. The location itself does have parking. There are two parking lots, one on each side of the main road, equaling about 50 spots with plenty of room to maneuver around. This is always something I am curious about because I am still mastering the skill of backing into parking spots and being comfortable in small lots.The parking we used was located across the street from the office at which you pay.
It was requested that we all pay together so I recommend bringing the exact amount needed. Cards are not accepted so make sure you have yen. Adults are 1500 yen. Children and seniors are 1000. Children under 3 are free. The farm is opened from 10:00am to 2:00pm for picking. Sadly if it rains they will close and you can find out if they decide to close by checking the website posted below. We visited the farm with a semi large group so we emailed ahead of time and made a noon reservation. When we arrived at noon on a Tuesday afternoon there was only our group roaming around and picking blueberries. The weekends may be a different story
Harvesting is not all Sayama has to offer A cute little store that sells original produces such as drinks and ice cream is also located on the farm. Outside the store you will find seating to enjoy your treats and a perfect spot next to the sign to take a picture. Once you have paid you will be instructed to cross the street and walk to meet your guide. Your guide will start your time as soon as everyone enters the picking area.
You are allowed 30 minutes to fill your container and munch on as may blueberries as you can. Our children were full of life running from bush to bush eating blueberries and enjoying the outside. There is something that makes food taste so much better when it comes straight from the source. We had no trouble filling our containers as the bushes had a plethora of berries. It was a bit hot the day we visited so we found that 30 minutes was the perfect amount of time. We had a wonderful experience and look forward to going back during the mushroom and strawberry seasons. – Deena Brunson, 2019.
Mt. Fuji panoramic ropeway. Visited today it’s about 1.5 hours away out main gate. We left base around 11:30am and traffic wasn’t bad. You will take toll roads and it’s 20$ each way (40$) total. The toll road does have multiple tunnels you will drive through. Coming back to base we left around 3pm and it took us 2.5 hours due to 2 car accidents along the toll road that had traffic moving slow. It really wasn’t bad,we got to take in more of the scenery at a slower speed.
The ropeway has free parking across the street right next to the lake but can be limited. There is a kiosk to buy tickets once you reach the ropeway building or you can buy from a person. Cheap tickets and kids that aren’t in school are free. One way/ round trip/ bundle tickets are available. We got the round trip ropeway tickets with boat ride.
Once tickets are bought the car that takes you up the mountain gives you amazing views of surrounding mountains and the lake. On top of the mountain plenty of places for souvenirs that are cheap and picture opportunities in front of mt Fuji along with a cafe.
The boat ride has an upper/lower deck depending on the experience you want. The ride is really smooth, you can see locals fishing and tourists in swan paddle boats, rented boats etc. not sure on the cost of private boats but the people that rent them out drive you around the lake. There are many hotels, restaurants , and shops in the area. It’s a great day trip. – Katie Kolka, June 2019
Makaino Farms is
the ultimate Farm experience and perfect place for an outdoor family day. We
happened upon the farm while driving to Kyoto. We weren’t able to stop but I
took a picture of the sign and made sure to stop on our way home.
On our way home we parked in the spacious
and free parking lot with no problem. It was a Saturday when we went but the
farm didn’t feel overly crowded. Entry into the farm was 1000 yen per adult and
600 for children. Make sure to check the sign with all activities and times as
you enter. We arrived at 3pm and by the time we discovered the sign it was at
the end of our day.
Makaino Farms has everything you could
think of when you think of a farm. There are petting zoos, horse rides, tractor
rides and much more. You can walk goats for 20 minutes which cost 300 yen. It
was quite a sight watching people walk the goats. There are several vending
machines containing animal food to feed the various animal all over the
property. Other animals experiences that are free include releasing sheep into
a nearby field and milking cows. Again, check the schedule because some things
such as milking cows are only done at certain times.
Animals aren’t all you will find at
Makaino Farms. They also offer many craft and food experiences. You can make
pottery, candles and bags. There is a wool factory you can spin wool or make a
felt craft all with wool from sheep on the farm. Crafts are an additional fee
ranging from 200 to 800 yen.
Personally, I was a bit sad we missed the
food experiences. Paying anywhere from 400 to 1600 yen you can partake in
sausage, cheese, cookie or butter making. We caught the end of a butter making
class and it looked like fun. They also offer kids cooking from ages 5-10 for
If you just want a place to let the kids run wild you will find it here as well. They have several play areas that both my girls ages 1.5 and 4 loved. After playing we relaxed in the hammock forest, which is just what it sounds like, a bunch of hammocks hanging in a wooden area. You could easily spend all day exploring this wonderful place. We only spent a couple hours before strolling through the store that contains fresh milk and lots of goodies. Before we hit the road to drive 1.5 hours back to base we filled our bellies at Ousamano Curry. The naan wraps were amazing and my girls loved the curry. We will be going back again before leaving Japan. – Deena Brunson, May 2019
If you’re comfortable with hiking 6-8 miles in a day with moderate elevation gain (1800-1900 feet), this is a pleasant hike that’s easily accessible from base. We initially found out about this hike from the following link, which has more details as well as information on other hikes in the area: https://ridgelineimages.com/hiking/mt-iwatakeishiyama/ As the hike starts and ends at Ome Line train stations (Mitake and Ikusabata), the logistics are fairly easy — no buses involved. To access the start of this hike, take the train from Fussa Station (Ome Line) to Mitake Station (towards Okutama). It may be necessary to transfer in Ome; as not all trains are direct — check Google Maps to confirm.
Once you get off the train in Mitake, stop by the Visitor Information Center (can’t miss it – its directly by the stairs leading down from the station exit) and pick up an “Ohtama” area map. If you ask, they’ll also be able to provide a map of this specific hike, and a paper showing directions to the trailhead. I’ve attached these directions to this post as well, for reference.
The trailhead starts near a temple a few minutes away from the train station. Go down the stairs at the station exit, and turn left at the street. You’ll pass an ATM on your left (inside its own building), and will see a set of stairs on the left immediately after the ATM. Go up the stairs and cross the train tracks. Turn left, and then turn right into the temple entrance (you’ll see the temple). Once just inside the temple, go to the left, and you’ll see the trailhead marker.
As you go along the hike, you’ll see signposts with kanji, but also English in small labels below. At the start, you’ll want to follow the signs for “Mt. Iwatakeishiyama 岩茸石山”. Once you’ve reached Mt. Iwatakeishiyama, then follow the signs for “Ikusabata Station”, which is the finish point where you’ll catch a train back towards Fussa Station.
The hike starts with a fairly quick ascent; but (mostly) levels off after that point. There are two points where you have the option to either ascend to a peak for a better view, or keep going. Recommend taking the climb up to Mt. Iwatakeishiyama for a view — you’ll likely also see a large number of Japanese hikers taking a snack break here. If you choose to ascend the fork to the peak, there is no backtracking required to get back to the main trail — the fork continues down the other side of the peak and rejoins the main trail.
Continuing on, you’ll come to a temple in the mountains, right along the trail. Its a nice spot to take a break and look around, and there are bathrooms here (did not check them out, but expecting squatting/pit style). Descending from here, you’ll enter a fairly exposed valley, and continue down past a stream. As you continue downward, you’ll come to a large manmade dam, and the trail becomes a stone stairway. Look out for snakes sunning themselves along the steps; they should be easy enough to spot.
As we reached the end of the stairway, we came to a Japanese shop that offers some drinks at picnic tables outdoors (beer, coffee, lemon sour, water) as well as cooked fish. My Japanese wasn’t great, but we were able to understand well enough the owner’s indicating that ‘everything is OK to eat’ on the fish, as its cleaned and cooked whole and ready to eat (skin and all), which might be unfamiliar to some folks. The owner was very friendly, and everything was pretty reasonable – we got two cooked fish and one coffee for under 1000 yen. Be sure to bring cash if you’re planning to stop here, as I don’t imagine this shop takes credit card.
After this shop, the ‘trail’ becomes a road, keep going onward and it will merge into a slightly larger road. Bear right, and continue. Eventually, you’ll come to a point where there is a sign pointing towards Ikusabata Station up a small road on the right – take this road upwards, and you’ll cross train tracks. Turn right, and you’re at the station. Take the train back towards Fussa. This is all shown on the maps as well; and if you download offline maps on your phone before the hike, you can also ‘mark’ the location of the station if you’d like to be able to double-check along the way. – Joshua Milburn, April 2019
Higashiyamato South Park is a place where history meets fun. Only 15-20 minutes from the East gate it is a nice park to picnic in, play sports or cool off in the summer when the water area opens in July/August. The former Hitachi Aircraft Engine Factory and WWII memorial is situated on the park grounds. In 1938 this Factory turned out aircraft engines but was later destroyed during WWII when the area was bombed out. It now serves as a Memorial to those who lost their lives there. There is a nice track to run on, tennis courts and a field where many local schools play sports. On one end of the park is the city swimming pool. On the other side is a man-made creek. Check the park website for details on the dates this creek is open to play in. – Jennifer Secor, August 2018
Only 71 minutes (tollway route) from Yokota is a great sandy family friendly beach to cool off in during the hot summer months. We found this beach on a spur of the moment stop after a road trip we took. There is free parking lot at Shonan Beach Park (a local swimming pool/park) but you need to arrive early to get a spot because the area is well known to the locals and is a popular beach for families and surfers. Walk down the street to the left of the parking entrance and onto the pedestrian bridge over the highway, onto the other side and through the greenery to get to the beach. We liked this beach because unlike many other Japanese beaches, there are showers where you can rinse off (most beaches don’t have a shower area), bathrooms and a beach side kiosk with sandwiches, pizza, ice cream, fries, etc. that is open during summer months. This is a family friendly beach that is sandy with breakers in place to keep the waves smaller in the swimming zone. There are lifeguards posted here during the day too. Keep in mind though that this beach is not tattoo friendly, so cover your tattoos. GPS Coordinates: 35.317392,139.354371. Parking hours vary by the month so check for updates on the park website. In the months of July & August it was posted you can park at Shonan Park from 9am-7pm. – Jennifer Secor, August 2018
Hokoji Temple – Shiozawayama Zenkoji Kano Royal Buddha
About a 25 minute drive from base there is a Daibutsu (Big Buddha) which is 18m tall on the side of a mountain at Hokoji Shrine. This Buddha was completed this past year and is larger than the famous Big Buddha of Kamakura. Parking can be found at the shrine. Admission was free but we were advised this may change after Oct. 2018 (so check their website for updated information). There is a beautiful short trail through the forest from the parking lot to the Daibutsu. My children enjoyed the scenery of the forest. At the end of the trail you will reach the Daibutsu on the side of the mountain where there is a view of the town of Hinode.
Hours: 9:00am – 4:30pm
Parking Fees: 500 yen for car
1,000 yen for bus
200 yen for motorcycle
Memorial Day weekend we headed to Yokosuka and followed up with a trip through Yokohama. There, we went to a beautiful Japanese Garden with a couple temples located on the premises. There is a nice walkway around a pond through a forested area where you can see some old thatched roof structures. Around the end of May through the beginning of July the irises are in full bloom which makes for a beautiful scene. Also, Sankeien does a Firefly Festival at night during that time frame. Check their website for details on current events: http://www.sankeien.or.jp/en-about/index.html
Adult （ 15 years old and above)
Children ( 14 years old and under)
City residents 65 years old and above
*Please show the Hamatomo Card issued by Yokohama City
Parking Fees: 500 yen up to 2 hours; 100 yen for every additional 30 minutes. Automobiles/Buses 1,000 yen maximum per day
We recently took a trip to Saitama and did the Glico Pia East Factory Tour. It was about an hour commute by toll-way. Tolls cost 1370 yen each way. Reservations are required in advance. We had a group of 8, ages 3+. The tour is done entirely in Japanese with no English translators available. The company history explanation does have English subtitles if you ask. The tour is 70 minutes. No strollers or pictures were allowed in most of the factory. We had fun touring the factory and learning how Pocky & Pretz sticks are prepared & packaged. If you have 2nd/3rd graders, they are allowed to decorate their own Pocky stick if you obtain a ticket at the beginning of the tour. (No adults or younger children allowed to participate in the Pocky stick decorating part). The cost of participation is 500 yen. They get to keep the sticks they decorate. You also receive a sample bag for visiting the factory. The tour admission & parking is free. More information can be found on this site: https://travel.gaijinpot.com/pocky-factory/
In mid June thru early July there is a Lily Festival (Yuri Matsuri) across the street from the Seibu Dome at the Tokorozawa Lily Garden (fairly close to base). As June is the rainy season in Japan, we decided to take advantage of a clear day and head to the Lily Festival. It was like a fairytale. Flowers were in a field surrounded by forest. Admission & hours may fluctuate from year to year so be sure to check the website:
There is no parking lot for this Garden. You will need to park in a paid lot or maybe the nearby shrine parking lot if spots are available. The Seibu Dome Parking was not allowed without a baseball ticket. Try to avoid a baseball game day due to congestion and lack of parking options. This Garden is off a train line as well. – Jennifer Secor, June 2018
If you want a one of a kind of adventure while living in Japan, try canyoning with Canyons Adventure Tours. My husband talked me into doing a trip to Canyons, Minakami with Yokota Outdoor Recreation for my birthday in July. It was about a 2 hour bus ride from base. The first canyoning tours in Japan were started by Canyons in Minakami in 1988 and it has grown into one of the biggest canyoning destinations in the world. The season typically runs from late April to late October depending on the water flow in the canyons. The water can be cool but they provide wet suits and all the proper gear you will need. You can also sign up for a tour using their web-site. They have many English speaking guides. We had 3 on our tour and one Japanese guide for the Japanese couple that joined us. Everything was very well organized, instructions were thorough, and the guides were very attentive to questions and concerns. We did the Fox Canyon trip which was a half day, approximately 3 hour tour. From the main Canyons base you take a short bus ride to the start. One of the guides will take photos the entire trip that you can access after the tour for free. They also take videos but they were un-savable from their site. I personally was challenged by parts of the Canyon but my husband thought the entire trip was a blast. I had a moment of being sucked under a waterfall where they had to pull me out and push me to the other side but I survived to tell about it. I would definitely recommend this trip for any thrill seekers wanting a challenge. You cannot be pregnant or have any heart conditions and will sign a waiver before starting. After the tour was complete they brought us back to the Canyons office for a snack. You could purchase beer and additional food also at their snack bar. Canyons also offers White Water rafting tours and you can do a combo trip if you want to make a day of it. They also offer tours at an Okutama location. – Angela Vaillant, May 2018
Website: https://canyons.jp/en/ Hours: office is open 8:00am-5:00pm daily
Last August my family of 4 visited the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum. My husband found this place on Google maps and knew I was missing Europe’s charms during a particularly wet August here and wanted to give me a piece of Tuscany! We escaped the rains of Yokota one Saturday and enjoyed beautiful sunshine in Hakone where we visited several museums and the infamous ropeway. I am writing just about this museum, lesser known among Americans, though the entire Hakone area is beautiful and definitely deserves much exploring! This complex consists of a garden, Venetian glass museum, modern glass museum, cafe, gallery shop, and glass experience studio.
The beautiful spring through fall blooming garden features paved walks lined with many statues and sculptural elements – both glass and other elements. When we visited mid August, some late blooming blue hydrangeas were still hanging on to life. There are also rose features, a Christmas feature, a mountain of glass leaves and Autumn foliage feature as well as a permanent light corridor and outdoor gigantic hanging crystal glass twinkling and glittering in the sunlight. I loved the glass sculptural elements playing off the sun, combined with the natural flowers and water features to create fantastic photos! We spent our time walking through every inch of the gardens looking for hidden surprises in each nook and cranny.
The museum buildings housed Japan’s only collection of Venetian glass – both from ancient times, through the Renaissance period, up until modern times. The exhibition was very nice and somewhat extensive but I felt just a bit underwhelmed having toured Venice, Murano and Burano, Italy glass factories just 4 years ago. In the small rotunda of one of the museum buildings there was an area roped off where, several scheduled times a day, 3-4 talented Italian men would play the filled water glasses in a 30 minute concert – featuring a famous Japanese song, a classical music repertoire, and even a Disney favorite! It’s much more than Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde”! The glass concert alone made the visit to the museum worth the trip!
The cafe was gorgeously situated on the manmade link with outdoor covered seating overlooking a panoramic view of the lovely gardens. There was also an Italian music show featuring piano and singers. Unfortunately, this is where the similarities to Italy ended as the small menu only offered one Italian dish!! I have to tell you the quality was bellisimo, though the portion size was rather small! The rest were Japanese curry and beef stew and, I believe hamburger. However, looking at the website as I write this, they seem to have amended their menu and now offer only 1 seasonally changing Italian selection along with a variety of teas, coffee and pastries!
The glass experience studio we walked by and didn’t partake as we have done glass blowing before in Europe and didn’t want to spend the money and wait in line for a turn. They have a special Venetian mask creation studio right now for those visiting in the winter of 2018! The price for creating your own work of art is on the webpage as varies based on what you create but is not included in the museum visitation price but an additional charge. – Julie O’Leary, March 2018
This lovely, private, flowering tree and floral garden is atop a very steep hill not too far from Takahato Fudo temple in the Tokyo -Hino area. It is an inexpensive 40 min drive from Yokota and not to be missed if you are a flower lover like me! In late February through early March they have a plum blossom festival which just means the private garden is open to all visitors with a small charge of 300¥ for adults and 100¥ for children, when the trees are blooming in all their pink, white, and yellow glory! The garden features 500 plum trees in 50 varieties!
We visited on a late Saturday afternoon, Feb 24, 2018 and it was only slightly busy. Besides the stalwart walkers, there were several groups arriving by taxi up the steep hill coming from nearby Mogusaen station. It’s 1/4 mile up a 20% grade slope to give you an idea of the steepness for those with elderly or mobility impaired visitors. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous! There were some flowering plum trees that I’d never seen before! There was one field even featuring small yellow and white daffodils in full bloom as far as the eye could see! I am a flowering bulb enthusiast and seeing daffodils in February made my heart happy!
Even my teenage sons agreed it was a beautiful place. There are many beautiful uneven stone stair steps as well as some gravelly inclines leading up to the top past the restaurant where in nice weather you can barbecue and several 30 minute walking trails leading through the garden. At the summit are nice views of Tokyo! Lots of climbing and exercise for energetic kids as well as a man-made tree lined, koi – filled pond with traditional Japanese building housing an art exhibition. I’m not sure strollers could visit all the trails and do the steps leading up to the cashier at the entrance without difficulty. A better bet might be a carrier for babies. We will definitely visit again during their wisteria festival and I will report on this garden again! – Julie O’Leary, March 2018
Unfortunately I could only find a Japanese language webpage but the photos and map on one of the page links were helpful.
Here is the pinned location (actually of the BBQ garden restaurant 200 or so meters straight up many stone stairs from the cashier booth at the entrance to the gardens) on Google Maps:
There is NO parking at the gardens but if you’re lucky you can find places along the street going up to the gardens or in pay parking lots at the bottom of the hill. Note: It is about a 5 minute steep walk up a paved hill to the gardens from parking. Below is information from their website’s lavender link and it’s in English!
Traffic Get off at Keioi Jusugyoen Station 10 minutes on foot or 10 minutes by taxi from Sacred Sakuragaoka Station · Takahata Fudo Station. There is a steep slope partway from Hakusakuen Station to this garden.
Address Hinohikusa 560, Hino City, 191-0033
Telephone number 042 (591) 3478
Closed holiday Wednesday
(in the case of a holiday, next day, New
Year ‘s holiday from 30th December to 3rd January) ※ It is closed every day during the event period
Opening Hours 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
(November and December until 4:30 pm) Entrance fee Adult / 300 yen Child / 100 yen