Have you ever tried picking fruit? It's definitely a great way to relax and enjoy nature in Yamanashi. You can visit there as a day trip, or stay at an onsen ryokan for an even more relaxing trip.
The most famous spring flower in Japan is of course the cherry blossom, but I would like to say another spring beauty is the "momo," or peach flower.
Riding on a special train called "ozashiki ressha" which features Japanese style tatami rooms in the actual train car, I went to the Togenkyo area of Yamanashi prefecture. Togenkyo means not only "a hometown of peaches" but also "paradise." There are lots of fruit orchards in Yamanashi, and it is particularly famous for peaches and grapes.
I visited a peach farm and saw many pretty pink peach flowers last April. A farm owner told us that the peaches were so delicate that you must treat them very carefully and gently, just like a lady. Actually, the word "momo" is a very popular girls' name in Japan. We also decorate with peach flowers during the girls' festival in March. Anyway, after I enjoyed watching the beautiful flowers, I decided to come back to Yamanashi in summer, during the harvest season.
Then, just as I planned, I came back to Yamanashi again to pick sweet and juicy peaches! It was not easy to pick the peaches because you have to treat them delicately, but the peaches I picked were so delicious. After picking, we learned how to make peach jam, which turned out to be very enjoyable!
Get in touch with your true spirituality with a Zen stay at a shukubo (temple lodging) on Mt. Koya!
I went to Mt. Koya for a spiritual stay with some international students from Hong Kong who were staying at my house.
Mt. Koya is sacred site of Buddhism: it is the birthplace of Shingon Buddhism. The temples are spread over a 900 m high mountain, and the area was registered as a World Heritage Site in July 2004. On Mt. Koya, there are 53 temple lodgings, or shukubo, where visitors and tourists can stay and have special vegetarian dishes and experience some of the aspects of living in a temple, for example the natural hot springs and the hand-copying of sutras.
The rare opportunity of staying in a priest's living quarters is not one to be missed!
It costs just JPY 100!
I definitely recommend trying this before you go into the Okuno-in.
Social Section (Shakai-ka), Daishi Kyokai Center
132 Koyasan, Koya Town, Ito-gun, 648-0294 Wakayama Prefecture
JAPANiCAN.com's Top 3 Shukubo Temple Lodgings
1. Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin Koyasan, Wakayama
Guestrooms are surrounded by a large garden that was designed by a famous landscape artist. The hot spring (onsen) bath is open 24 hours a day.
2. Hongakuin Koyasan, Wakayama
Hogakuin is surrounded by five unique gardens, in the center of some woodlands.
The food here is especially famous.
3. Henjoko-in Koyasan, Wakayama
This temple used to be the imperial chamber for Emperor Shirakawa. Here, visitors can see many items on display that have been designated as important national treasures. Visitors can also enjoy rooms facing a bright new garden, each with fusuma (Japanese-style sliding doors) covered with gold dust.
[Access to Mt. Koya]
Nankai Dentetsu Railway Nankai Koya Line from Osaka Namba station to Gokuraku-bashi station. (One and a half hours.)
Transfer to the Nankai Koya-san cable car for Mt. Koya.
I went to Aomori Prefecture in July.
One of the reasons I went was to see the Aoike (blue pond). The Aoike is located in the western part of the World Natural Heritage Site of Shirakami-Sanchi.
The Aoike has clear blue water.
It is not likely to be solved scientifically why the water of this pond looks blue in this way.
It is very beautiful and mysterious...
I had a BBQ Party with my friends in Sarushima, Yokosuka.
Sarushima (Monkey Island) is a small, uninhabited island in Tokyo Bay.
Here we are enjoying a BBQ party at the beach!
Many people have picnics, BBQs or go fishing here every day during summer.
This is the boat you have to take to get back to the mainland.
Access to Sarushima, Yokosuka
The boat to Sarushima leaves from Mikasa pier, which is a 15-minute walk from Keikyu Yokosuka Station.
*From March to November, the boat runs from Mikasa pier every hour, from 08:30 to 16:30.
For the return trip, boats leave Sarushima every hour from 08:45 onwards. The last boat is at 17:00.
*From December to February, boats run only on Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese national holidays.
The boat from Mikasa pier to Sarushima takes about 10 minutes.