We are back home in Japan! Never in a million years would I have thought this Texas girl would call Japan home. Yet, here we are! All the familiar things – the weird smell at my local grocery store, our favorite restaurants, the music (and bird chirps) playing at the train stops – are right where I left them. Anyways, we’re in Japan and getting back into the swing of things!
This year, we plan to see more of Japan. This means going to new areas, trying different foods, and more blog content! (I only posted about Japan 4 times last year. Whoops.) Our first weekend in Japan, I dragged Spencer and our friend, Nikita, out to Sagamiko. I only say dragged because I was under the assumption it was only a hour away by train… It was closer to two. Oops. I mean that’s one way to get over jet lag, right?
Sagamiko is a small town that promises the largest Illumination show around Tokyo. “Illuminations” are a pretty big deal in the winter months here. It’s similar to zoo lights but on a grander scale. Japan usually does things a little more “extra” than other places I’ve been. The city is also situated around a lake and the drone flying rules are a bit lax compared to other parts of Japan. So Spencer packed the drone, Nikita packed his fancy new camera, and I packed my iPhone. (My DSLR is still “in transit”… It’s been weeks.)
When we arrived in Sagamiko, we headed straight for the lake. I had my eye on renting a boat. The walk there we realized the town was pretty deserted. The bowling alley looked like it had been closed for years, so did the pachinko (casino) next door. The park near Lake Sagami looked like it used to see a lot of action. There were souvenir shops, boat rentals, and arcades. Including us, there were maybe 20 people total there. You get used to huge crowds and lines in Japan, so it was weird. The lake seemed to be the main attraction – people were fishing, riding around on swan boats, and at rowing practice. I haven’t been on a pedal boat in years so of course we had to get in on the action. Much to the guys dismay though, we rented swan boat made for two people. So I sat in the middle to “steer,” while they had to pedal.
The claim that Sagamiko has one of the largest Illuminations must be true because the population doubled when we got to the park! The Illumination was held at Pleasure Forest. The park is a must do if you have kids. It had a campground, onsen (hot spring), an amusement park complete with gondola rides, mountain biking, restaurants, and more. The entire amusement park was lit up. Every inch. We paid ¥2,500 (~$22) to get in and ride on the rides. The rides were a bit much for me. I screamed the entire time. No joke. I throughly enjoyed the lights though!
Our first venture out into Japan of the year was a solid A+. I hope this sets the tone for the rest of our trip!
Nikita made an awesome video of our day that included some of Spencer’s drone footage. Take a gander for yourself!
Found a ¥100 (~$1) DIY Cotton Candy machine!