Kouri Island is connected to the main island of Okinawa by a long bridge that stretches over a beautiful blue ocean. Parking lots are located at the two ends of the bridge. I recommend parking at the one on the main island and crossing over to Kouri island using the bridge’s walkway. A small farmer’s market and a beach are located on Kouri island near the end of the bridge.
The Nojiriko Hotel El Bosco has a special concept of ‘a hotel made for reading’ and is definitely a relaxing place. The architecture was designed to blend with the surrounding nature. The lobby and the restaurant feature large windows with a view on the forest. Also, each bedroom offers a view of the Nojiriko lake. The restaurant offers European and Japanese-inspired cuisine with fresh local ingredients. A separate, small and cozy room of the hotel serves as the soba bar where one can enjoy delicious soba noodles, famous in Nagano prefecture, with their favorite drink.
Taking the ferry in Japan is a peculiar experience. Ferries are typically divided in different classes. All classes share the common characteristic that most Japanese try to sleep during the trip, even if it takes only a few hours during daytime. Upper level classes consist in large rooms filled with individual and fully horizontal mattresses on which customers can sleep. Few first class rooms akin to hotel rooms are sometimes available on the upper deck.
I was in the lower class, which is more rudimentary. It consists in carpeted floor area where one can lie down. Customers seemed to consider the carpets dirty since the best majority sleep on old journal paper. While older folks take a nap or watch baseball while lying down, kids feed the marine birds with potato crackers. I personally choose to eat a warm bowl of ramen noodles and to document in photos this interesting experience of Japanese culture.
Is it your wish to escape the scorching summer heat of Tokyo? Or simply evade the frenetic lifestyle of Japan’s metropolis? Let me tell you a secret: this place is located only about 2 hours from Tokyo, on Enoshima Island! Shhhh, keep it as a secret between you and me but this site also offers a fantastic view on Mount Fuji! Don’t be afraid, get close to the water, in case of trouble, lifeguards are on duty!
The island of Enoshima makes a perfect day-trip from Tokyo and will give you a glimpse of the Japanese beach culture. From the Enoshima train station, a short walk leads to the pedestrian bridge which most visitors cross to visit the island. The bridge is an excellent location from which to take photos of the island. It is also a good occasion to study the current Japanese beach fashion of the moment. From the bridge, you can see some of the major attractions of the island including the Enoshima tower, the Enoshima island spa and some buildings part of the Enoshima shrine, partly hiding under the dense vegetation.
Restaurant-boats are a common sight along the Sumida river in the evening but can also be seen in great numbers in the bay of Tokyo.
On the menu : typical isakaya-style fare or okonomiyaki and plenty of beer. Some of them have a terrace accessible on the roof to take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the night scenery of Tokyo.
While walking toward Angel rock, Ayako and I observed many locals with feet and hands in the water looking for something. I wanted Ayako to ask them what it was but she thought I had to do some effort if I wanted to know! So I asked the one guy : “kore wa nani desu ka? (What is this thing?). And he told me it was Asari, a small type of shellfish. Later that evening, we went to the local Isakaya to taste the delicious Asari no Sakamushi (Asari steamed in sake)!