Looking back, we definitely love our trips to Japan. Except we almost exclusively go there during winter in the past primarily to fit in a snow trip as well given the awesome snow that can be found there. The last time I’ve been to Japan that isn’t during winter season was probably when I left my last job at EMC something like 7 years ago. As the ‘noise’ from my other half gets louder each year about a “non-winter” trip, I finally got a reason to go during a season other than winter. This year, I decided to tick off one of the F1 Grand Prix that I most wanted to visit.. the Japanese F1 Grand Prix. Good thing is, I also get to tick off visiting Nagoya/Takayama/Gero Onsen all in this 13 days trip.
With the Suzuka F1 Grand Prix race falling on 8th Oct, my holiday basically starts that weekend (6th Oct). Nagoya city itself hasn’t been high on my list to cross off, as its bigger siblings seem to take the lime light of most tourists namely Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto. The last time I was here, I came to watch a sumo wrestling match, and that was pretty much it. And judging by how easy it was to get a Krisflyer reward flight ticket to Nagoya last minute even for a F1 Grand Prix weekend, it was then no surprise that we ended up with a whole 4-seater row to ourselves (of three)! Ethan was, I believe for the first time, able to sleep through the entire flight just lying flat on the economy seats!
Our intent was to arrive into Nagoya city, pick up a hire car and just find a big shopping centre to relax. As our flight arrived on an early Friday morning, and cheking in to our hotel wasn’t due until 3pm, we essentially had all day to kill time. Fortunately, we found a perfect place to do it… namely Nagshima Spa Land! It’s basically a massive entertainment catered for the entire family from outlet shopping for the ladies, relaxation (onsen/sauna) for the men, and theme park for kids! To start the morning, we went with Anpanman (アンパンマン) park first (for Ethan). We don’t have Anpanman in Singapore, nor does he watch any Anpanman cartoons in the past. But he seemed to have enjoyed it.
Lunch was a ‘touristy’ affair with Anpanman stamped inari (rice sushi) and mega-long chips..
We skipped the next door theme park with seemingly scary looking roller coasters. Definitely need to try it with Ethan when he’s a bit older. It’s definitely looks a lot scarier than the ones I’ve seen at Universal Studios in Singapore.
Then it was Mitsui Outlet Shopping next for wifey. It was basically a time for me to babysit Ethan alone for while while wifey goes shopping. Lastly, it was the onsen spa called Yuami no Shida (湯あみの島) onsen.. It’s the one that I looked forward to at Nagashima Spa Land the most, with supposedly the ‘largest outdoor onsen pools’ anywhere in Japan. I can’t think of too many times where I was in a hurry to get naked! Ethan looked pretty comfortable in his little yukata too. It’s probably the first one we’ve been to, where they offer yukata for kids..
Though, it does tend to come off pretty easily..
Though, to finish it all off.. Ethan actually enjoyed drinking a bottle of fresh milk like how the locals would do it..
The outdoor pools did live up to my expectations, and from memory, the only experience that would top this one was if it was snowing instead of raining! Too bad I don’t have any photos to show for it!
By the time we were done with all of the above, it was already about 8pm. By the time we reached our hotel to check-in at Kuwana (桑名), it was almost 9pm. The hotel was definitely a let-down being a small double room with smells of cigarette included. Having said that, we didn’t have trouble going to sleep after an eventful ‘Day 1’ of the trip!