Enter the hell , feel like heaven

Jigoku Meguri (Roughly called hells of Beppu) of beppu are center attraction point in Oita and attracts domestic as well as international visitors, all year around. These are basically hot-springs for viewing rather than bathing in it. You can find many natural hot spring(Onsen) in the city.Basically 6 hells are located in the same place known as Kannawa district and remaining 2 are in Shibaseki district which are 20 minutes away(2 Miles in distance) from each other.I have been there from Matsuyama and entered in the city through ferry on Oita port. As compared to Matsuyama or Tokyo city is not having enough local train network to move around city, so we preferred to take rental car and did one trip around the city.

Transport Note: Local train network is not strong but public buses are quite good and frequent. If you do not have driving license then do not hesitate to go ahead with public transport. You can book tour too via  tourist information centre at Beppu station.

Types of hell

1-Sea Hell (海地獄 ⇔ Umi Jigoku): This one is my favourite and is completely blue like ocean which make its name sea hell. This is my personal recommendation, you must visit this among all hells. There is a big pond near by entrance and have many lotuses with are of specific type namely Victoria. Victoria leaves are big enough to hold weight of small kid(You can see picture board with kids sitting on leaf). Do not forget to have look around greenhouse which has multiple variety of lotuses and orchids.

Umi Jigoku

Umi Jigoku

2-Shaven Head Hell (鬼石坊主地獄 ⇔ Oniishibozu Jigoku):  This name originated from the grey mud bubbles in pond which looks like head of a monk. If you are tired and want to give an extra time to this hell you can sit around the place and enjoy footbath next to it.

Oniishibozu Jigoku

Oniishibozu Jigoku

3-Cooking Pot Hell (かまど地獄 ⇔ Kamado Jigoku):  This hell is easy to identify with red color demon mascot on top. There are several smaller boiling ponds scattered here and there and again if you have time then enjoy footbath with eating onsen tamago(boiled egg direct from onsen water).

Kamado Jigoku

Kamado Jigoku

4- Demon Mountain Hell(鬼山地獄 ⇔ Oniyama Jigoku:  Place is well known as crocodile hell.It is home of many crocodiles and alligators.What I heard from the instructor is that temperature of this hell (Normal hot water) is perfect for their breeding conditions.This hell is bit scary due to giant crocodiles.

Oniyama Jigoku

Oniyama Jigoku

5- Mountain Hell (山地獄 ⇔ Yama Jigoku):  This is situated in hill and you may pass this hell as I personally feel it is less attractive than others, but if you love animals this is the place for you to enjoy small Zoo next to hell.

Yama Jigoku

Yama Jigoku

6- White Pond Hell (白池地獄 ⇔  Shirake Jigoku): Its names symbolizes white but it’s a kind of pale blue(or somewhere milky too) water pond with rocks in the middle of it. You can enjoy a little garden which is along the hell pond.

Shiraike Jigoku

Shiraike Jigoku

7-Blood Pond Hell (血の池地獄 ⇔ Chinoike Jigoku”:  This hell is located 2 miles away from above hells. Its name resemble the color of water and its complete dark red. The way I recommended you “Sea hell”,  I will recommend this one too and it’s worth to take bus ride or do self driving(15 minutes). At the exist of hell there is one souvenir shop where you can enjoy shopping for your beloved ones and buy something to make remember this place.

Chinoike Jigoku

Chinoike Jigoku

8-. Waterspout Hell (龍巻地獄 ⇔ Tatsumaki Jigoku): The last hell of your visit and it’s next to “Blood pond” hell. This hell has a geyser which erupts in every 30 minutes to the height around 50 meters.There is a place where you can sit with other people and wait for it show in every 30 minutes, so mind timing to visit this hell(Show and wait timings are written at the entrance).

Tatsumaki Jigoku

Tatsumaki Jigoku

Transport from Tokyo: You can use LCC Jet Star to Oita airport or you can use shinkansen upto hakata followed by local train to JR Beppu.

Official website: For more detail information you can visit official website of Jigoku Meguri

Fee and business hours: Each hell you can enjoy with the amount of 400¥ and if you are willing to visit all the hells then you can buy full package around 2000¥. All the hells are operating throughout the week from 08:00 to 17:00.

I had wonderful time in Oita and hope others will have same experience too, city is very beautiful and surrounded by multiple attraction around the city.

 

Special Note: Do not forget to visit Beppu beach sand bath, Lake shidaka ko and Beppu ropeway to surumi mountain to have panoramic view of the city.

Tosa Dog Fight In Kochi, Shikoku Japan

Have you heard about dog fight , I think most of us had heard about bullfight and cockfight but yes Katsurahama shikoku Japan is the place which organize dog fights events, few times in a month.Don’t you think it’s just a event it’s “THE EVENT”.There are special bread of the dog called “Tosa”. Tosa dog came from breeding of kochi prefecture local dog and bulldog and now a days it’s a cultural icon. The dog which I saw at the time of fight was 50~70 Kg , yes big and brave.Fight is arranged by Tosa token center inside the park and by the way Tosa is the old name of Kochi Prefecture.

kochi station

Kochi station

If you are thinking to have one day trip to Katsurahama park it’s worth. Katsurahama Park is a bit far from the city center.If you start early in the morning, it will be always plus point for you to reach early, people reach this place around 12:00 ~ and this is the peak time when there is long queue of cars and yes you have to wait, drive and stop for an hour without a single step ahead.if you are coming from your own car then take exit on Kochi IC and secure a bit cheap parking compare to city center. If you are coming by public transport then in Kochi station just look for My Yu Bus which take  30 minutes to park.

fighter_dog_tosa

fighter_dog_tosa

We were on road trip to Kochi and planned to visit dog fight as well as coastal line there.  There is sea aquarium and one beautiful shrine at the end of coastal route, which will give you panorama of the place and it claims to be most famous scenic spots in Kochi prefecture.

What I have seen that sea waves are strong here and swimming is not allowed in this beach so it avoids beach tourist but you can enjoy coastal walking road and near by attraction.

water_wheel

water_wheel

When you enter in stadium you can see fighting ring  at the center, organiser will explain about both the dogs which are going to take part in fighting. Then the first dog will come and his master will show dog’s features and his previous fighting record with ranking.Both dogs fight with some strict rules and always obey their master’s commands.Once they will give signal to start the fight, dogs will just get wild and start to bite each other.

PERSONAL DECLAIMER: I DON’T KNOW IF IT IS NECESSARY OR NOT,  BUT PERSONALLY I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS BRUTALITY .TOSA ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR SURVIVAL AND SOMEHOW WE SHOULD TAKE CARE OF THAT 😦

If you are weak heart person then better to avoid this place to visit.Firstly I was thinking the dog, which will make maximum bite will be considered as winner but what I saw from this fight, that they declare winner by fighting spirit of the dogs.If one dog will leave the ring or is about to leave,then that dog is declared the looser.Next to ring center there is Tosa museum too, where you can meet little puppies and history related to Tosa dogs.

Tips: If you are buying a ticket, then just buy a ticket for back seats.If you are sitting nearby the ring you can get some splash of blood during the fight and there are chances you will be scared by dogs expression.

Tosa token center website: http://www.tosa.or.jp
TEL: 050-3033-3166

kochi_dam

kochi_dam

Dare Your Limits For Rafting In Tone River Gunma Prefecture

Thrill

Thrill

When it’s summer, Tokyo is really hotter than places in outskirts of Tokyo like Yamanashi, Niigata and Gunma. It’s really a good time to escape Tokyo for a day or two in weekend. Every time I choose outskirt of Tokyo, I prefer two days outing and in case there are some couple of holiday then 3~4 days.So this time, we decided to explore Gunma for adventure sports. There are many options for adventure in Gunma, here I am listing few of them

  1. White water rafting in Tone river
  2. Bungee jump
  3. Canyoning
  4. Kayaking
  5. Cycling

We planned to go for white water river rafting. Water is speedy and rafts are good in minakami. Minakami is just 2 hours by car if you are using highway and 4~5 hours incase avoiding toll fee, which I prefer sometime.You can go by train too from shinjuku or shibuya, use either way explained below.

Safety Instruction

Safety Instruction

Source Destination line fare
Shinjuku Minakami Shonan-Shinjuku 3020¥
Tokyo Minakami Joetsu Shinkansen 4800¥ ~ 7000¥

We were enough number of people to rent a car for 2 days including two people having Japanese driving license. We rented a car from Chofu and headed toward costco wholesale warehouse to buy necessary foods, snacks, drinks and enjoyed some household shopping. We started our journey in downpour and was I was happy because, during the rain water level in river increases and will give us chance for more speedy raft.

There were few of our friends who were joining us in Maebashi city for night hang out. We were thinking to go for full night full tight, but somehow we didn’t as we needed to drive a car and to be prepared for rafting.If you are thinking to take break in Maebashi or Takasaki make sure to arrange night stay in advance as many of place just shut down after 21:00~ 22:00 even on weekends. We were so hungry and it was difficult to find the place for eating as it was already 22:00. Fortunately we found few restaurants, where we tried sushi and sashimi. After finishing dinner we went to rainbow club in Maebashi garden. In rainbow club you can enjoy 24 hrs bowling and karaoke. So our team just splitted, some people enjoyed bowling, some karaoke and even some both. We met some new local friend in rainbow club and they were explaining, that what Gunma is famous for and what you should not miss while in you are in Gunma. After 23:00 we took break and had power nap to recharge ourself for driving in the morning. The Morning was beautiful no more rains and sunny weather with additional humidity.

We booked our rafting with big wave river rafting through @sotoasobi .We headed to big wave rafting minakami base. We were a bit late but it was no problem to get lecture regarding safety.Place is really good surrounded by splendid natural beauty.

Relax

Relax

Staff of big wave rafting is very generous and welcomed us with good hospitality.I was surprised that some of the staff people were able to speak hindi(I am an Indian and hindi is our mother tongue).For first 30~40 minutes company gave us time to exchange words with other rafting members and safety guidelines related to rafting. Many of the companies provide rafting shoes, jacket and outerwear.

Tips: If you are travelling in summer better to use beach wear with light sports t-shirts which can dry easily. In spring it’s good to use outerwear provided by rafting companies.(Depends on weather and months)

Finally, time came to visit base point of rafting , we headed there by bus. In Tone river rafting base, again guide will give you some tips regarding how to handle boat raft and support each other in your team. We did some small exercises in water to get accustomed with cold water. Here, I want to mention that, there are many boats of different companies in the base site so remember your rafting company logo and rafting guide.

Track was around 2~3 km with many good points for feeling adrenaline rush in your body and to enjoy the thrill of water. In starting it was like oh! water is not too much, so it will be easy going but this is not true at all. The rafting challenges your strength.

Yosh !! we started with saying Yeeeee.In starting we were confused about instructions in japanese and when he said “migi” we understood “left”(migi is for right direction), then he said please follow people sitting in front seat who understand japanese. There were two places on the way where you can enjoy cliff jumping. In first place all jump together in a group(4~5 people) while in second place its solo jump in 3~4 meter deep water from 10 feet above. In between if you don’t want to go for jump then you can enjoy swimming around the rafting boat. You will pass through bungee jump bridge and can easily feel how it looks like to hang in air for a moment.

Tips:
Minakami is also famous for bungee jump, so if you are interested you can enjoy ½ day rafting and ½ day bungee jump.Around April, May water level is around 5~7 meters depth while in september it’s about 2~3 meters only, as per communication with our guide.

After finishing the rafting, we came back by bus to company office. If you booked barbeque you can have lunch with your group else you can have lunch outside minakami station(Kubota restaurant famous for 3 type mushroom soba). Here one more thing in front of minakami station there is rail museum if you have time you can go and take a look.

Jump 123

Jump 123

Tips – After rafting body is a bit dehydrated so keep enough water with you and drink regularly. There are many natural hot spring (onsen) near minakami so go make you body relax from your day time adventure sport , I am sure that you will enjoy it.

What I learned from the trip is that, there are many more beautiful place in Japan which are maintaining their natural beauty.Overall the trip was awesome and I am thinking to go next year spring too. Hope other people also enjoy the place and surrounding beauty.

Summer fun with firework around Tokyo

Summer is incomplete without beach party, drinking beer in garden and firework festival called ‘Hanabi’ in Japanese.This year I participated in three events mainly around Tokyo.

Cheris Moment

Cheris Moment

Sumidagawa fireworks festival

This was the first hanabi for us in summer. Venue was very crowded and it was not easy to find out space to see firework. We went there around 17:00 and started to walk from Asakusa station toward the river, people were hardly moving forward.If you really want to enjoy this place, go very early like 14:00 and find out space for you.View was obstructed by skyscraper and it was difficult to enjoy firework with humidity.

Edogawa fireworks festival

Best one which I recommended to all. You can go early to secure good place around 16:00 ~17:00. There is much space along river bed and you can enjoy hanabi while drinking and eating with friends. Best for this season and easy to access from Shinozaki Station.

Iidabashi fireworks festival

This was on same day as edogawa river firework took place. I think it was visible from edogawa too.Nearest station to reach there is Ukima-Funado Station.

Hachioji  fireworks festival

This was on same day of edogawa firework this year. I love this place because of quite and less crowd.It’s in Fujimori Park and nearest station is Nishi-Hachioji Station

Tamagawa fireworks festival

Looking forward to join here at the end of august and will write review soon.

Small hanabi nearby station

If you have kids, you can enjoy firework as well as drinking while enjoying near local station. Local events usually take place on weekends and always fun for kids.

Enjoy Time

Enjoy Time

Hope you will enjoy upcoming events in august

 

Mount Fuji With Daring Hikers :)

Floating in clouds

Floating in clouds

If you are planning to go 2 days trip around mount fuji for hiking, then you are on the right page for getting summarize information about the hiking.We were group of 7 people,some were slow, some were fast but all were having strong determination to reach the top of summit with beautiful sunrise.If you are heading from Tokyo, then the best way is to take highway bus from Shinjuku bus terminal to fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (2700¥ each way fare).It takes two hours to reach there so, you can have a good nap in the bus to save energy for night hiking.

Note: Buy tickets in advance from Shinjuku bus terminal, It’s hard to find ticket on same day.If you are confirmed about your return then book round trip ticket else just book one way.

There are several different trails to climb Mt Fuji. We took Yoshida trail starting at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.This trail is considered as an intermediate level hiking to the summit. Depending on your pace, it will take 5~8 hrs climbing.The trail is approximately 7km long with an elevation change of around 1500m.The descent from the summit takes a slightly different trail and is quicker than to climb up, taking around 3~4 hrs.If you have time you can prebook 1night stay in huts (6000~7000¥) by phone on 8th~9th station with breakfast and enjoy sunrise from the top(Just 2 hrs from 8~9 station)

Sample itinerary

13:45 Board the bus in Shinjuku and leave for Fuji.

16:00~16:30 Arrive at Mt Fuji 5th Station (2305 m). Once you reached buy extra water/snacks etc if needed. There are lockers over there, where you can put your extra luggage. Click photos for sunset.

19:30~20:00 Start Hike to the 6th station, safety guidance centre,warm up, stretches and get used to the altitude.

20:30 Start from 6th station and stop for rests / toilet / snack breaks at all stations along the way.

1:00~1:30 Arrive at the 8th station.

04:00 You are suppose to be on top, so rest at the summit and watch the sunrise with floating cloud.

5:00~6:30 Optional 1~1.5hrs walking around the crater at the top(Really strong windy area, but good if you want to see highest post office and weather station).

Note: From 9th station, it will take 1.5~2.5 hours to reach on summit.You can see summit from 8.5th station and yes its name is 8.5. Distance between 7th station to 8th station is too much as well as tuff to climb, so take care of all people with you.You can have optional visit after the hike to hot spring bath.

Must to do’s
  • Bring some snacks like biscuit, chips,, bread or something light food which is easy to carry.
  • Bring 1~2 liter water or tea as water is expensive but available in each station (500¥~ 600¥).
  • Raincoat and 2~3 pair of shocks.
  • Plastic bag to carry out your trash.
  • Sturdy hiking boots/shoes.
  • Warm layered clothing, sunglasses, hat(while it may be nearly 40deg at the base of the mountain it can get to below freezing at the summit).
  • 100 yen coins for the pay toilets on the way up the mountain.
  • Headlamp Or small powerful torch.
  • Carry more of energy drink and eat less solid food.

Note: For souvenir you can buy Hiking stick at base station and get stamp on it at each station around 300~400¥ per stamp.Finally I am totally agree with the proverb “A wise man climbs Mt. Fuji once, only a fool climbs it twice.”(一度も登らぬ馬鹿、二度登る馬鹿。)

Fuji Station 5

Fuji Station 5

 

An evening worth spending in Tokyo

If i said spending beautiful evening means 17:00 to 19:00 ~ 20:30 in….for “in” you have to see the list.Here i am listing few of them which can be informative for few people.

Tokyo Tower:

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower From World Trade Center

Nearest station for tokyo tower – Daimon in subway line and Hamamatsu in JR line

Operating Hours: 9:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:30)

Admission Fee: 900 yen (main observatory), 1600 yen (both observatories)

You can enjoy Zojoji temple’s  peace which is near by the tower. This one is full of people during new year ceremony.

Next to Tokyo tower one of my favourite place to have  a cup of coffee is

World Trade Center Tokyo Observation Deck.

Operating Hours: 10:00 to 20:30 (entry until 20:00)

Admission Fee: 620 yen (500 yen with online coupon)

You can take panoramic view of Tokyo city including mount Fuji as well as Tokyo tower on clear sky day. Here you can spend some time and have dinner in relaxing mode. There are many restaurants and cafe inside the building on different floors.

Tokyo Skytree:

Sky Tree

Sky Tree

So again next destination tower is  TOKYO SKY TREE which is one of tallest towers in the world.Transportation to reach Tokyo sky tree is station Oshiage (SKYTREE) the nearest one and of course TOKYO SKYTREE station.

Operating Hours: 8:00 to 22:00

Admission Fee: 2060 yen (first observatory), 3090 yen (both observatories)

You can visit aquarium next to sky tree and sensoji temple on a walking distance of 10-15 mins and this tour can be taken before or after visiting skytree as it is so nearby.If you have enough time and some sumo match is going on Kokugikan sumo wrestling ring in Ryogoku. Then definitely this is one of must visit destination while you are in Japan.For sumo wrestling the tickets cost around 2,100 yen to 14,300 yen please check more details on there official website http://www.sumo.or.jp/kokugikan/index.html .

Shoppers stop Odaiba :

Daiba

Daiba

 Odaiba is a nice place to spend a cool time away from hustle of city with lot of shopping , cafe, chocolate ice cream and some time in hot spring (onsen 温泉). If you are working nomad, then enjoy it with  a coffee in starbucks, free wifi as well as charging station. There is a small beach where people sometime enjoy barbeque and party with friends or  family. If you have never been there , on that case I will say don’t forget statue of liberty and Guandum comic character over there. There are many restaurants for veg and non-vegetarian people, enjoy dinner once you tired with shopping. Many times I have spotted live music show over there.Now let me discuss how to go there , you can travel via train and alight on Tokyo teleport station or Odaiba station , Even you can try waterbus from Asakusa to odaiba and here my recommendation is Himiko bus services which cost from 500 to 1500 for different service provider.