Travel Reports

Of Fish, Trains, Hot Springs and Lights

By HO Chui Ping. Posted on February 1, 2013

December 15, 2012

10:30 – There were gasps of awe as we rounded the corner. I took in my surroundings, allowing my eyes to adjust to the dimness. I found myself in the corner of a large room. In front of me, were three life-sized train models – a locomotive and two bullet trains – all dramatically lit to showcase their sleek lines and gleaming surfaces. I hurriedly stuffed my ticket stub into the back pocket of my jeans and started snapping away on my little camera.

I was at the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park at Kinjo-futo in Nagoya, accompanied by a kind and very professional tour guide who provided interesting morsels of information as we explored the railway museum. In addition to the rolling stock displays and simulators, the museum also had many informative and interactive displays, as well as a corner for children to build their own railway tracks.

12:30 – The second stop of the day was the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. We left the railway museum and walked a couple of minutes to the Kinjo pier. In a nondescript corner stood a lone man, who asked us whether we were waiting for the water taxi. At 12:30 sharp, a water taxi docked and we were allowed to board. Although it was a cloudy day, we were lucky enough to be treated to a magnificent view of the sea and both the Kinjo and the Nagoya ports.

13:00 – Dolphins! We arrived in time for the dolphin show at one. The dolphins were amazing, effortlessly propelling themselves several meters into the air at the blast of a whistle. We also saw penguins, tropical fish, jellyfish and a school of sardines at the aquarium!
16:00 – After a relaxing afternoon watching penguins waddling, fish swimming and jellyfish floating, we bid goodbye to the aquarium and headed to Noritake Garden. I did not have time to visit most of the facilities, but the grounds were very peaceful and beautifully landscaped.

18:00 – At night, we stopped at Hisaya Odori Park in downtown Nagoya. The display of lights was beautiful! We went up the Nagoya TV Tower to have a bird’s-eye view of Nagoya at night. We were lucky to be able to catch a gospel performance too!

December 16, 2012

08:30 – I skipped along the sidewalk. It was a beautiful Sunday morning; the sun was shining, chasing away all vestiges of cold. A gentle breeze ruffled my hair and carried our excited chatter. We were on the streets of Nagoya, making our way to the first ever Komeda coffee shop for their much-loved ‘breakfast service,’ where customers are given a free slice of toast with the purchase of a drink in the morning. Delicious!
10:30 – Tickets in hand, we boarded the express bus to Nagashima Spaland in Mie prefecture. We were off!

11:00 – We reached our destination in under an hour and headed for lunch at the Yuami no Shima onsen (hot springs) complex. We had lunch in a huge hall with low tables, zabuton (floor cushions) and people milling about dressed in light cotton yukata. I had the ‘Tonteki’ (pork steak) set meal at the recommendation of a local. Lunch was a merry affair as we were entertained by stage performances.

13:30 – After lunch, I headed to the hot springs for a relaxing soak. There was an outdoor hot spring, beautifully set in stone and overlooking a gurgling stream. Nearby were young trees with overhanging branches, some whose leaves were turning red with the changing seasons.

14:30 – I reluctantly left the hot springs and had a refreshing drink of coffee milk, the drink of choice of many Japanese after a hot bath. I then headed to the Nagashima Spaland amusement park where I got on the Ferris wheel and was treated to a lovely view of the park and the sea!

16:30 – After a whirlwind window-shopping session, I headed to the bus stop with my fellow travelers. We boarded the bus for a short ride to Nabana no Sato for the famed winter illumination. It was breathtakingly beautiful! The lights were so pretty! We also had the chance to visit the greenhouses, where hundreds of flowers were in full bloom, creating a riot of colours. Every moment at Nabana no Sato was filled with wonder and awe. It surpassed all my expectations and left me wishing that I could stay longer. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip.

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HO Chui Ping

Chui Ping is from Malaysia, studying at Nagoya University, majoring in economics.

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