I got 9 days off work over new year and wanted to get away, so we decided on Nagoya. It’s not that far away from Osaka and we’ve been before,but we hoped to visit Gifu and Mie (Ise) at the same time.
We took a Kintetsu train from Tsuruhashi to Ise-shi just after 9am,and arrived just before 11am. As did loads of other people! All the lockers were full at the station but luckily they have a separate baggage counter, we walked over to it and the queue was already 20 people deep. Eventually we off loaded our suitcase and walked to Ise Shrine Geku.
We said our last prayers of 2013 and then got the bus to the other part of Ise Shrine – Naiku. Before we went in though I wanted to walk down the old shopping street with J, unfortunately so did everyone else!
We browsed the shops, saw a taiko drum performance, ate Ise soba (below) and Akafuku mochi, drank Ise craft ale and made friends with a nice couple.
Just before it got dark we went in the other part of the shrine.
On the famous bridge at the entrance.
We took a bus back to the station, collected our suitcase and caught the train to Nagoya.
At the hotel we crashed out and relaxed!
The next day we went to Gifu. What I really wanted to do was go to Shirakawa but it was too far / expensive. Instead we settled for Gifu City.
Gifu Castle…at the top, where the arrow is! Luckily there’s a ropeway!
At the top there’s a Squirrel Village, for ¥200 you can go in and hold out crumbs for them to eat!
A cafe / restaurant place with great views and stressed out staff. I’m not sure what was going on when we went but the woman was having a bit of melt down. Service was slow, at one point she brought me my food and as I picked up my chopsticks she whipped it away without so much as an ‘excuse me’ and put it on another table! Lol. We had plenty of time so just relaxed and enjoyed the view.
Js Miso Katsu a Nagoya speciality.
And here’s the castle itself!
Apart from New Year’s Eve the rest of our time in Nagoya was spent shopping and eating famous Nagoya chicken and drinking beer in Yama-chan.
On New Years Eve we went up Nagoya TV tower, we had a great view of the city and we could see a blimp!
We ate soba noodles (a Japanese new year tradition).
Then went to the bus station and went on an epic journey to Nagashima Resort to see their light up event! The bus was ¥810 each way, and it cost ¥2000 entrance, but then we were given half the entrance cost back in shop vouchers to spend on anything at the resort! As it was still light we went and browsed the gift shops and cafés, stopping for some craft beer, which we paid for with our vouchers.
The sun setting on the last day of 2013.
Wow the illuminations were amazing! The tunnel of lights went on forever! And at the end was the main attraction…
Fuji-san! It changed colour to reflect the seasons of the year, and showed the sun rising over the top. I pretty much took 100 photos of it!
Back in Nagoya we quickly dropped off our stuff, changed and went out! We were surprised at just how many places were closed! No Yama-chans open…we did rediscover a Mexican bar we went to on our last visit. J got 10% gaijin discount at the bar, and I got 15! Lol.
So many places were closed, so we headed to Osu to be near Osu Kannon for countdown. In the closed shopping streets we found a friendly man selling hot wine!
It was really good too!
About 11pm we went in the shrine grounds, there were lots of festival food stalls set up and one biggish one for drinking and eating. We went in and enjoyed the festive atmosphere, J got some special sake in a masu!
At ten to twelve we joined the crowds in the main area, and counted down with the crowd! Boom! The bell started being hit and the monks started chanting!! The police moved to one side and everyone swelled forward towards the shrine steps!
We waited a little while and could enjoy hatsumode, our first shrine visit of the year!
I really enjoyed New Year this year, happy year of the horse! I hope 2014 will be a good one!