Autumn Japan 2016 – [Day 8] Shizuoka

Trip Posts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 and 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 |


Hamamatsu Fruit Park

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DIRECTIONS:
Shizuoka Station to Kakegawa Station > SHINKANSEN KODAMA 633
Kakegawa Station to Fruit Park Station > Tenryu Hamanako Railroad  for SHINJOHARA
Cost: Y700

This was probably the day Sue was looking forward to the most. We arrived at the Fruit Park after about 2 hours of travel from Shizuoka Station. The good thing about Shizuoka was that the prefecture was mostly tropical, so the weather was pretty warm – perfect for fruits!

The front entrance was really colorful and filled with a lot of plants. Sue and I immediately got excited and started exploring the place using the map provided – we usually do not read the map!

The first thing we saw was an icecream stand. It was a hot day out, so we both opted for icecream! We bought 1 matcha and 1 raspberry swirl! The sun was really hot so the icecream was starting to melt, so we ate quickly while we continued to walk.

Our next stop was the tropical flowers exhibit. Despite being 2 girls who came from a tropical country, we spent a lot of time exploring the tropical dome, filled with plants we could even see from home.

Trust the Japanese to decorate even the simplest of things – the tropical dome was filled with green foilage and even a waterfall and a stream that ran under us.

Our next stop was the wine factory, where we tried out a few different types of wine, and Sue made fast friends – with a robot that was following her wherever she went, as though worried that she would break something LOL.

We stopped by the cafeteria, and shared a pizza while sitting in the cooling wind outside. After lunch, we decided to explore the other half of the fruit park – the part with actual fruits! This was the part we were both looking super forward to! And we weren’t even sure what fruits were available!

Rather than take the tram, we took a long walk around the compound. It was really sunny, and we were one of the only few people there. We enjoyed the long walk, before we reached the first fruits!

Here, we saw a lot of families exploring the area. There were different vendors who taught us how to pick the different fruits. Sue and I made calculations on how many we could eat, considering the variety of fruits that were available at that time. Our first stop was ORANGES!

We picked about 6 oranges, before making payment and moving to our next fruits!

The next fruits we saw were persimmons. Sue got quite excited by the persimmons, and we ended up picking around 5. They were really sweet and juicy, and considering the price we paid for fresh fruits, definitely worth the price!

We also took a chance at picking 1 pear – since Sue knew I didn’t really like pears. The family next to us had a little daughter who picked a pear that fell on her. She started crying but we both found it quite cute.

The land area of the Hamamatsu Fruits Park was large – and we spent the entire day walking through the landscape.

After a full day exploring the fruits park, we headed back to Shizuoka, got our luggage, and moved to our next prefecture! SHIZUOKA – DONE!

DIRECTIONS:
Shizuoka Station to Okayama Station > SHINKANSEN HIKARI
Okayama Station to Fukuyama Station > SHINKANSEN KODAMA

Our next stop was Fukuyama, where our next activity would take place tomorrow. Fukuyama was about slightly more than 200 minutes away from Shizuoka. By the time we had reached Fukuyama, it was almost midnight. We were tired, and glad that we could check in for the night.


Toyoko Inn Fukuyama-eki Shinkansen Minami-guchi

https://www.toyoko-inn.com/e_hotel/00259/index.html
Check In & Out: 5th November 2016 to 6th November 2016
Cost: Y8856 for 2 persons, Twin Room
Rating: 39159_large_light_blue_glitter_star_with_silver_outline39159_large_light_blue_glitter_star_with_silver_outline39159_large_light_blue_glitter_star_with_silver_outline

We stayed at Tokoyo Inn for the night, before our early start tomorrow morning.

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The rooms weren’t very large, but they were sufficient – the typical size of rooms that Japanese hotels had.

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It was clean enough, but it had a slight stuffy feel which made us both somewhat happy that we were only staying one night. The room definitely had all the necessary amenities for comfort, but we were definitely looking forward to our next hotel – as this hotel made us feel somewhat claustrophobic.


Trip Posts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 and 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 |

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Autumn Japan 2016 – [Day 7] Shizuoka

Trip Posts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 and 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 |


Shizuoka

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Today was the first sporting activity that we had done on this trip – and that was to go white water rafting! We wanted to do something that we couldn’t do in Singapore, and stumbled upon this activity. Unfortunately, water rafting season had almost ended in Japan as summer was over, but fortunately for us we found NATURALACTION, who ran white water rafting activities all year round as long as the weather permitted.

We took a train to Shirakaba Station, where the staff of NATURALACTION was kind enough to pick us from. We were the only 2 due to ride today.


NaturalAction White Water Rafting

URL: http://www.naturalaction.co.jp/en/

The staff at Natural Action were really warm and nice. We were given wetsuits to put on, which Sue and I did, with a lot of laughing, commenting on how it would help us lose weight since it was so tight. With a lot of grunts and pulls, we finally managed to get our wetsuits on!

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They quickly explained to us the safety requirements, what to do if we were to be washed away (in which case they would throw a rope to us, how to catch it, which way to face when they are pulling us back in). The staff spoke good english, so it was pretty straightforward and easy to understand, and pretty soon we were off!

The sun was pretty hot, and the water was freezing cold. It was a good idea we both decided to wear old shoes (that we were not bringing back), because almost instantly our feet were soaked!

We started out sharing a raft, with our 2 guides on another raft guiding us (more like pushing us away from rocks when we got too close). Afterwards, we were each given a raft to maneuver on our own. I felt I did a lot better – at least Sue and I stopped clashing with each other LOL.

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The staff were also very fun loving, and more often than not we ended up splashing each other with water. While rowing, we also had very interesting conversations about food and sake – the fish, not the drink.

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One of the highlights was also jumping into the water. The guides showed us up the rocks where we climbed slippery rocks to the top. The guide wanted us to go higher, but Sue was adamant that she was not going any higher. Instead, we jumped off the middle ledge. It was quite frightening because we didn’t know how deep the water was – and we knew exactly how cold it was. After jumping in, we had to SWIM back to our boat, and pull ourselves back up on it.

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Pulling ourselves up took some training. One of the instructors kept making us “rescue” the other. I had to single-handedly pull Sue back up into the boat, before we rowed our way back to the starting point.

We quickly took a shower, before one of the instructors told us the train was due to depart in about 5minutes. The next train would not leave for an hour. Like mad, he drove us to the train station. I remember a conversation we had while going back – he knew Singapore had something called the merlion, he asked us what it was, and whether it was edible, or if it was some kind of god we worshiped. For lack of better explanation, I told him it was similar to the Tokyo tower, in the sense that it was a monument of some sort.


Nanaya Ice Cream

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By the time we woke up it was fairly late, so we decided to do some shopping, and chanced upon this unique ice cream shop. They sold different flavors, but their specialty was in matcha icecream, where they had different intensities to select from. Being in the prefecture famous for matcha, we decided to stop and get a taste.

Sue (obviously) went for the “darkest” purest matcha, whereas I chose matcha yuzu – you know I can’t ignore anything yuzu.

The icecream was really intense and really suitable for us who loved matcha – it was flavorful and strong just like how we enjoyed it. It was definitely a good place to stumble across and I wish we could have more of it. While there, we also bought some tea products to bring home.

After that, we shopped and laughed the rest of the night – talking about how Sue’s mom had lost her daughter once, who had wandered off (no prizes where she gets that from). We also ended up buying some winter wear for our future trips, which included thick winter leggings and some gloves for Sue’s daughter.

With our baggage full, we decided to buy a quick dinner and headed back to the hotel to rest, feeling fulfilled and tired from our adventurous day out.

All images of rafting were taken by the Natural Action staff, who kindly shared it with us.


Trip Posts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 and 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 |