Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Beautiful Nagoya

I went to Nagoya for a conference recently and lugged the kids, my mum and my aunt along. While I only had two full days to enjoy what the Japanese city had to offer, my family visited several places of interest, led by capable J. This blog records the places we / they visited.


1) Legoland Japan

Legoland Japan only opened this year. The last time we went to Legoland Malaysia was three years ago (though we did visit the water park this year), and when I showed the website to the kids, they were both excited. Legoland was to be our first destination in Nagoya.

It did not disappoint us. We were enthralled by Mini Land, which had miniature structures of various landmarks in Japan. My favourite was Mount Fuji and it was here where J learnt about Oasis 21. Since Christmas was approaching, there was also a Christmas tree made of Lego.

Mini Oasis 21
The theme park was crowded the day we went, and we later learnt that it was a public holiday. Some rides were closed in the morning so queues for the ones which were opened were long. We managed to go on about six rides in all. Everyone enjoyed the Submarine, where we went underwater and saw sea creatures like sharks and clownfish up close.


The temperature was around 13 degrees when we were there, but that did not hinder us from going on rides that could get us wet. It was a good thing we went on such rides as we really enjoyed Splash Battle on Pirate Shores. On this ride, we could shoot at 'pirates' on other boats and when we saw the pirates on our next boat all clad in raincoats, we were not deterred and bravely fought. :)


The other two wet rides we took were Coast Guard HQ and S.Q.U.I.D. surfers. These rides are also in Legoland Malaysia, but J created an adventure for himself by reversing his boat and going against traffic! It was not intentional and we had to hit his boat gently on purpose to right him. Thank God that he made it back to shore safely.


We did not manage to go on the Factory Tour, but we saw how it was like from outside. It seemed interesting. If we ever return to Legoland Japan, we would certainly go on the tour.


There were also plenty of photo spots and indoor areas for building Lego structures. We were there for seven hours in all and there were many rides we missed due to lack of time. A heartwarming event occurred when J surprised his little sister with a personalised Lego brick. He himself acquired one on his last visit to Legoland and he would like A to have one too. He took pains to keep her away while he bought the keychain and went to the Brick Factory to have her name engraved. How sweet. :)

Transport
We took the subway from Nagoya station on the Aonami line to Kinjofuto station, then followed the signs to Legoland.

2) Makers Pier

On our way to and fro Legoland, we walked past Makers Pier. There were rows of eateries, shops, game arcades and so on. We did not have time to explore, but we did enter a shop which sold exquisite umbrellas and in another, there were children making miniature food figurines. It seemed like an interesting place to visit.


3) Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

My family went to places 3 to 5 without me, so I have to rely on J's account and their photos to give a short description.

At the aquarium, my family watched a dolphin show. They also admired the graceful dolphins swimming in their enclosures. The kids brought their notebooks along and drew pictures of the sea creatures they saw. These included belugas and sting rays.


I saw on the aquarium's website that there was a killer whale show, but J who acted as tour guide did not know, so he missed it! What a waste!

4) Nagoya City Science Museum

The Science Museum was in the Fushimi area where our hotel was, so the family took a short stroll there. My mother's verdict was that this museum was interesting and better than the Science Centre in Singapore. The kids enjoyed themselves too and spent about three hours interacting with the exhibits. J said his favourite was the deep freezing lab where they experienced sub-zero temperatures for twenty minutes. They were given the appropriate attire before entering the lab. There was also a dinosaur exhibition when they were there.



5) Higashiyama Zoo

I would not have thought of going to a zoo in Nagoya, but my planned itinerary (taking the Meguru bus to Nagoya Castle and Toyota Museum) was rejected in my absence. Instead, my mother suggested going to the zoo, so J checked it out and led them there. They enjoyed it! The kids excitedly told me they saw reindeer and a big bad wolf when I met them that evening. :)


6) Oasis 21

As mentioned earlier, J found out about Oasis 21 at the Legoland Miniland. He brought the family here on his own accord and when I called them after the conference, he chirped, "Mama, you won't believe where we are now! We are at Oasis 21 and you won't believe how beautiful it is!" I rushed down to Sakae to meet them and saw that Oasis 21 indeed had a unique structure. From the roof garden, we could see the TV tower and a ferris wheel. I enjoyed strolling at the roof garden as the water feature calmed me.


7) Nabana no Sato

I really wanted to see the winter illuminations at Nabana, but by this time, my family was exhausted and did not want to go. I went by myself and arrived at Nabana at about 5 p.m. on a weekday.

It was very beautiful! The red autumn leaves glowed against the evening sky, creating a surreal atmosphere.


The chapel shone like a beacon of light in the darkness as familiar Christmas carols were played, filling me with peace.


As I walked on, I came across a unique observation deck. I was curious and paid 500¥ to go onboard. At its highest point, it started revolving and we had a good view of the surroundings. I would not say it was breathtaking, but it was a nice experience.


Then came the most amazing tunnel I had ever seen. It was alight with a million plus LED lights, beckoning pedestrians to journey in it.


I totally enjoyed the light and sound show. Apparently, the theme of the show changes every year, but I could not find what this year's theme was. I just knew that a cute bear was featured and the backdrop was magnificent.


I was surprised to see another tunnel which had cherry blossoms as its theme. It was a very pretty sight. I lingered in it and took many selfies as I wanted to remember its beauty.


I thought I had seen all there was to see, till I came to the part of the garden that bore the sign "镜池", meaning mirror pool and I was simply fascinated by the hues and their reflections.


I wish my family could be there with me, but as they were not, I caught the 6.45p.m. bus back. I could have spent a lot more time there though. If I were to go again, I would try to arrive at around 4p.m. so I can also enjoy the park while there is natural light.

Transport
I went to Nabana on a bus from Meitetsu Bus Centre. The journey took about 35 min and it was convenient.

8) Others

There were other attractions like the Nagoya Castle, the Toyota Commemorative Museum and the Maglev Museum. There were also tours to Takayama and Shirakawago and I would have gone on such a tour if we had more time.

Accommodation

We stayed at Richmond Hotel Nayabashi while in Nagoya. The rooms were small, but it was value for money. We paid around 11500¥ (about SGD142 with our exchange rate) per room per night and this rate included breakfast for 2. I really enjoyed the cheese omelette and the bacon! The hotel also provided a handy phone which acted as our GPS, so we did not need to get a data plan. That was really useful.

Food

All the fish dishes were very fresh. I enjoyed the unagi and sashimi. At one restaurant, the karaage and chicken wings were mouth-watering and we could not stop talking about the kimchi soup we had. Its taste was perfect! The desserts were worth every calorie they piled on us.

Some photos were taken by a friend

We did not have much time to shop, but we went delirious with the myriad snacks at Chubu Airport. Here are some of our purchases:


Lastly, thank God for a safe and enjoyable trip and for enabling J to guide everyone around.

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