Korankei Stop

In the Spring, the Japanese enjoy seeing the first cherry blossoms bloom. In the Winter, they look forward to the first snow and now that Autumn is here Nagoyans celebrate it like many others by watching the leaves change color.  Every city has their favorite spot, and in Nagoya that spot is Korankei. Located near Toyota City, the home of Toyota Motor Corporation, traveling here by car is straightforward and doesn’t take more than an hour from Nagoya by the highway.  The community in this town has embraced these visitors by setting up beautiful shops and stands, as well as offering parking (for a small fee).  The town is extremely pleasing to the senses. From the colors of the shrines, temples, and buildings to the smell of the fresh country air, everything is organized to welcome thousands without sacrificing the small Japanese town atmosphere.

A short walk from the parking lot takes you over the first of many bridges, which is not necessary to cross if you want to enjoy the festival game stands or snacks that litter the boardwalk.  The most famous of the bridges is red and most visitors choose to take pictures of it or of it, while also capturing the beautiful leaves change colors and the river that runs all around.  From there, you can reach the center of Korankei’s festivities where they hold activities, sell delicious local foods, namely deer, and boar.  From here, you can continue north to a large building resembling a temple, enter the village museum, or go further into nature and the suspension bridge, that bounces as you walk.  Wherever you choose to go, the beautiful colors of the rainbow accompany you for a wonderful time.

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Kyoto in the rain

 

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Kyoto station’s Christmas tree!

On the morning of the 23rd, a national holiday in Japan, we took a train out to Kyoto. The train ride went smoothly, and with the exception to the heavy rain, we had a pleasant stay. We started out with something to eat before heading over to see the castle.  The meal was some quality beef from Miyagi-ken! The restaurant is actually a chain one, and can be found near most Japanese stations. There is actually one near where I live. The name is however, on the tip of my tongue.

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Beef dishes can be expensive in Japan

Nijo Castle in Kyoto actually doesn’t look like a castle. Traditionally, this is how most castles in Japan looked like due to the influence of Buddhism. Nobunaga and other warring state generals changed how Japanese castles look. This castle definitely felt more like a temple or a shrine than a warring castle. However, the interiors were very similar!

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What a shape?!

It was a very rainy day, but the castle grounds were still as beautiful as ever. The rain was making it difficult to shoot on this day, so I didn’t take many shots. Unfortunately, photos are prohibited inside Nijo Castle. The walk from the JR station can be a bit far, but there was a subway nearby.

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Small store, big on culture.

Afterwards, we stopped by the Kyoani shop, located just below the actual studio! The rain was really heavy about now, and I was slightly disappointed about its size. However, there were rare things to be found here. Particularly posters and board games from older series! However, 50% of the store was made up of Free merchandise. I haven’t seen the show yet.

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I love chain Pizza restaurants! Especially, all you can eat ones. The wacky Japanese flavors and side menus!

We headed to the covered shopping area afterwards. Turns out there was a convenient station right by the Kyoani store. I didn’t have to get wet anymore and all we could eat Pizza was available before Blitz had to head home and get ready for work the next day.

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Kyoto Tower at night

On our walk back to the hotel and Kyoto station we got to have one look at the illuminated tower. I don’t usually stay the night in Kyoto and this was probably my second time ever seeing it. Quite a wet and eventful day with a lot of eats and sights. The prices were reasonable for what we did and see. The castle didn’t cost much and we got to enjoy a sweet sake drink with small amounts of alcohol. The next day we would begin our roadtrip to Western Japan! Note: All pictures were taken with an iPad on this day.

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Breakfast for the next day!

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Our rental car. A Honda Fit!