Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ukai Toriyama

Tom wanted to take the kids somewhere very special after they finished school this year.  He could not have chosen a more beautiful place.  He made all the reservations and arrangements a month in advance.  He scheduled a 1/2 day off work and took us to a place that people travel from all over the world to come to.  Absolutely gorgeous.  The pictures do not do it justice, but it gives you a sense.  Click on a picture to make it larger if you would like to see more detail.

The Entrance to this magical place.  Everything was designed around 16th century Japan.  You can click on the picture to make it bigger for detail.

 Traditional tea ceremonies are held here.  I would absolutely love to have a room in my house designed like this.  Serenity.

The Lantern boats floated on many of the streams and ponds that dotted the landscape of these gardens.  Each party of 4 or more dined in their own little room.

Miranda and Aaron watching the evenings fish being prepared.

The details of the entire place were very well presented.  This restaurant represents the true identity of Japan.  Zen at its best.

A tea house
Miranda enjoying the enormity of the place.  You don't often expect to see such large houses in a garden

Aaron following our Japanese guide to our dining house.  We enjoyed an hour before our reservation to wander the gardens.  It was a perfect evening.  Pretty awesome for reservations made a month early.


7-course meal.  We did pretty well with most of the food...tried a few new things.  This is river fish.  It was actually quite appetizing, I could have done without all the bones.

Exit after dark.  In June, at dusk, the gardens go dark and they release hundreds of fireflies into the gardens.  They place some very relaxing music and you view the fireflies for about 45 minutes.  They capture several of them and bring a firefly to each house so that you can have your "private" viewing.  It was very magical.  I can't imagine there is a more perfect experience to view Japanese beauty then we had this evening. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Play Time

Keeping a two year old busy isn't real hard here in Japan, just takes a little effort.  There are multiple parks and indoor play areas.  One of my friends from MOPS introduced me to this one in Yokohama.  We bought a month membership and plan on tiring Evan out there often.  We've already played off half of the price for the month membership and it is only June 10th.

It has to be the cleanest play area I've ever been to.  And of course, there are a lot of rules to follow.  We are not always real good at "rules" but we are learning that sometimes they pay off.

 Evan's favorite place is the sand pit, of course.  I love that the kids wear Croc Boots to play in the sand pit.  They have a variety of sizes to choose from.  Once you are finished, you remove your boots and "sweep off" with little brooms to make sure you don't take any of the sand with you to other parts of the play area.  What a clean way to play in dirt.

The Gear wall is one of our favorites.  Really a great way to watch how your child thinks through the workings of wheels that turn.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


This past weekend was the start of rainy season in Japan, so of course, it rained all weekend.  Not to worry, Japan is full of activities to do even when the weather is bad.  We are dying to get up to Hakone to sight see but decided this wouldn't be the best weekend.  We instead hit the indoor/outdoor water park and onsen.  I can say one thing, you never have to worry about being clean in Japan.

These were outdoor slides, but the hot spring water kept them warm enough even in the rain.

This is where it starts getting weird.  This is a coffee bath.  It smelled more like noodles to us, but the taste was bitter coffee.

The Tea Pot

Sake bath.  Yes, we let Evan sip as much of this water as he wanted. May explain his long nap that afternoon.

And of course, the wine bath.  This had red wine pouring out of the bottle.  I think this one was definitely just coloring.  I tasted the water and I didn't take any wine. 

Of course you would not have "weird" without a green tea bath.  The vote is still out on whether there is actually green tea in the water or just green coloring.  Our skin was not glowing green when we got out.

One tired little boy at the end of the day.  The waterpark included a bath where you dipped your feet into a pool where they had fish nibble all the dead skin off your feet.  I am not a fan of fish, so I let Miranda and Aaron enjoy that bath by themselves. 

Afterward, we chowed down on a great buffet and finished the day at an onsen, a true one, before heading home.  We can't wait to venture back to Hakone for sightseeing and may just find ourselves at Yunnessan in the future.

The little things

Sometimes we find the little things in Japan really catch our attention and bring a smirk to our faces.  Thought I would share a few....

Evan wears GOONS!!  Yes, I am still trying to figure out the meaning of this brand of diapers but what I do know is GOONS hold a lot and in my book, that makes them a good thing.
 The second thing is watermelon.  Tom tells me it will get cheaper further into the season, but I just can't help myself.  A sliver of watermelon costs $5.00 bucks, a whole one about $25.00.  Hopefully, we'll get invited to a couple parties that include watermelon on the buffet so we can eat our fill.