4 things I love about Hamamatsu Flower Park

If I were to rank my favorite places to visit in another country, flower parks would probably be somewhere at the bottom of that list. You can imagine how a bit disappointed I was when, in Hamamatsu, our first order of business was to go to one.

Before buying our tickets for the Hamamatsu Flower Park, I didn’t feel any excitement or appreciation towards it. I mean, what else was there to see aside from flowers?! I’ve always been a see structure, see buildings kind of girl. Even while we were inside the gates, watching my mom pose for pictures, I told myself that the day was going to be excruciatingly slow. It was, but not for the reason that you’d think.

I was surprisingly the one who slowed down the group, because I ended up taking pictures in every corner of the place. There were so many parts of the flower park that I couldn’t get over with.

The rose garden

Things-to-admire-about-the-hamamatsu-flower-park
The roses took up a big portion of the area. It’s landscaping is circular and a bit like a maze. Different colors were spread in every part of the circle, so rich in vibrance. If it were possible to go blind from looking at those flowers, it probably would have happened to me (and my mom).

This room IMG_3782

It’s shameful of me to have forgotten the name of this room, but just look at this arrangement. I can see romantic photoshoots and movie scenes happening here. It’s like a picture taken out of a fairy tale book.

This could be a place where the princess spends most of her time, singing to the flowers and talking to the butterflies.

I can tell that this room was very well planned out, seeing that the colors match each other.

These backgrounds

IMG_3807

I’m sure that you can’t tell by simply reading these words, but I am getting giddy just looking at these pictures. The striking colors, and the fact that they show such peaceful harmony, make me think of hopeful tomorrows, and achievable dreams. Flowers do create a sense of happiness!

IMG_3812

The rose flavored ice cream

IMG_3817

The flower park had a green house where their guests could sit and recover from the brilliant sun. Inside it, is a store that sells differen flavored ice creams. I ordered the rose flavored one since I’ve never heard of this before. I’ve had matcha and sesame seeds, but never rose flavored. The store sells sakura flavored ice creams too, but unfortunately, we came late for sakura season.

The ice cream tasted sweet, just like every other ice cream in the world, but it definitely had the aftertaste of a rose. It actually felt like I was smelling rose rather than tasting it.

There are still so many aspects of the flower park that I admired, like the many options of desserts and snacks inside their souvenir shop. But the ones I listed above are those where I took my time more. It’s safe to say that I fell in love with the place, despite my previous cynicism.

In Sushi Heaven

Address: 36-2 Shogencho Higashi-ku Hamamatsu Shizuoka
Tel.: 053-463-7666 (+81-53-463-7666)

For our second day in Hamamatsu, my brother and I chose to stay in the hotel. I know, such a waste of day in a new city! No need to remind me since I’d been told many times by my mother and my uncle. I just wasn’t feeling it because of a couple of petty events which led to my loss of interest. Such events I will no longer recount because they are not the topic of this post.

What I want to talk about is the Daiju Sushi Restaurant, where we had a hefty dinner that night.

IMG_3889

According to my aunt who brought us here, the restaurant has been running for almost 50 years. The owner, Mr. Kazou, is the itamae of the sushi place which he inherited from his father and it looks like it’s always been doing great. I guess any establishment does well when the owners are hands-on.

IMG_3880
Left to right: my aunt Mildred, my mom, my sister, Mr. Kazou, my uncle, my brother, my aunt’s step dad, and our family friend Tita Edith.

IMG_3876
First thing you see upon entering. The trophy is the owner’s win in a golf tournament.
The Daiju Sushi Place isn’t your everyday go-to sushi restaurant. It is one of the fancier places in Hamamatsu. Reservations have to be made, money has to be prepared, and your attachment to said money has to end even before you go inside the restaurant.

IMG_3875

IMG_3877

Once you order your food, I guarantee that you’ll like what you see and will want to order more. In our case, our orders eventually stacked up.

IMG_3868
Sashimi Katsuo

IMG_3870
Kuchi No Nitsuke
IMG_3871

IMG_3872
Tempura

IMG_3884
Chawamushi
This was the most full I’d been during our entire stay in Japan. Even though I was almost full to the brim, I still had room for the sushi platter.

IMG_3882IMG_3886IMG_3888

Mr. Kazou is such a friendly guy and is very easy to talk to, despite the language barrier (we had my aunt translate for us). He was eager to let us try everything on his menu, but too bad we didn’t have enough room in our stomachs. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll be sure to order all the food that we failed to try and know that I’ll enjoy them just as much.

Hotel Review: Hotel Meijiya

Address: Japan, 〒430-0807 Shizuoka Prefecture, Hamamatsu, Naka Ward, Sato, 1−1−30

Wifi: yes
Breakfast included: yes
Parking space: yes

Trying to stay cheap while traveling with five other people isn’t an easy feat. It’s difficult to find accommodation that can fit everyone’s budget. Even a two star hotel like Meijiya burned holes in my mom’s pocket for accommodating her and her three children (yes, me included). Although, she did share the expenses with two other people we were traveling with. Still, 104,400 JPY (46,056.78 PHP) for a total of three nights in a combined room, with free breakfast, a few futons, and a shared toilet and bath is a shocker. So for this review, affordability is definitely out of the question.

As for comfort, Hotel Meijiya is the place to go when staying in the quiet city of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka.

The rooms are quite spacious – ideal for those traveling with a number of large luggage. Ideal for me and my family. lol. There are huge cupboards where one can place mountains upon mountains of clothes. Ideal for my mom who can never seem to pack light, even when she says she will.

The futons aren’t anything extraordinary but they do the job. For some people, they can be rough on the back. The pillows can also be uncomfortably hard but we made do. On the other hand, the comforters are DIVINE. I’d never touched anything so soft and smooth in my entire life! I could roll in those things and immediately fall asleep within minutes. Wake me up while I’m in them; we’re going to have a problem.

A review of Hotel Meijiya in Hamamatsu Shizouka

The shared bath and toilet are something else. 

There are only two toilets on our side of the building. One for males and one for females. They can be shared by everyone staying on our floor level. They are quite small but nothing that can make you claustrophobic. The good thing about the female’s restroom is the Toto bowl, complete with front and rear sprays. I felt clean dispite the place looking shady.

The shared bath is on the 9th floor. Of course, the baths for men and women are separate. The bathrobes and towels are provided for and are stored in one of the closets. I had to walk around the floor in a robe because I didn’t want to bring anything down after taking a bath. I’m not sure if that’s acceptable in Japanese culture since a guy eyed me down while going out of the elevator. I clearly didn’t do much research, but I advise against it. Then again, a woman walking around the hotel in just a robe isn’t an everyday attraction.

I’m a somewhat conservative person. Getting naked with the possibility that another person, even a woman, will see me is intimidating. I didn’t know how to feel about our situation but hey, it’s not everyday that I get to experience a Japanese hot bath. I went for it while constantly praying that no other person would feel the need to use the showers and the tub while I was in there.

Shared bathroom in Hotel Meijiya Hamamatsu Shizuoka

The showers have fast running water, both hot and cold. There’s enough supply of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and even facial wash. They are of good quality too, courtesy of DHC. Plus points for Hotel Meijiya making sure we were always smelling fresh!

It is proper manners to shower first and clean everything, everywhere before jumping in the hot bath. I googled this before using the showers. lol. The tub was a haven for me because I felt less vulnerable in there. Especially since the bathroom only has glass surrounding it. Yeah, that’s how uncomfortable I felt while showering.

A Review of Hotel Meijiya

The temperature of the water wasn’texactly relaxing all the way through. I had to dip my feet first and inched down little by little until the heat got bearable. There was a point that it was relaxing until it wasn’t again. So I dedicated only about 15 minutes, including the time I used to ease into the water, for the hot tub until I couldn’t handle the heat anymore. It’s either Hotel Meijiya has their temperature way up, or I can’t handle heat like the Japanese can.

Overall, I’m giving Hotel Meijiya a 5/5 for comfort and for all the other things like their food and service. Would I go back? Maybe not, because I’ve seen almost all that’s to see in Hamamatsu but also because I solely can’t afford 7,676.13 PHP a night. Would I want to experience a hotel that’s like Meijiya? Of course. Only if it’s cheaper. I enjoyed the hot bath, regardless of the uncomfortable heat, and the food that they served. Even the shared toilet is something I can get used to.

 

Dude, where’s our bullet train?

As I looked up from the bottom of the stairs to the platforms, I died a little inside. How are we going to cover more than 20 steps in 5 minutes? Five minutes was all we had before our bullet train to Hamamatsu, Shizuoka left. I was with five other people, my mom, my brother, my sister, my uncle, and my mom’s friend, each of us carrying a luggage that weighed about 10 to 15 kilos each.

Our day started well, we heard mass, ate a hefty lunch, and finally left Keio Plaza Hotel at 1:00 p.m. in no hurry. We were to go from the Shinjuku train station to the Tokyo station and from there, ride the bullet train to Hamamatsu. Like a leisurely stroll in a park, the supposed 10 minute walk from our hotel to the station turned into 15. We had no time to keep up with – until we bought our bullet train tickets.

IMG_3622

After another 15 minutes of figuring out the maze that is Japan’s underground metro, we finally reached the gates to the JR Line. I asked an information officer how I could buy tickets for the Shinkansen (bullet train). She said that I could either buy it in the ticketing office next door, or buy it once we were in the Tokyo station. I chose the first option.

In the ticketing office, my mom and I were informed that the next train leaving Tokyo for Hamamatsu was at 2:26 p.m.

Time check: it was 1:45 p.m.

I asked if we had enough time to get to it, and he shrugged it off like 40 minutes was a life time. In retrospect, as a tourist, I never should have listened to a local who’s probably been living fast paced his entire adult life. But I did, and so we bought 6 bullet train tickets for 8,290 JPY each. That was including the fare from Shinjuku to Tokyo. We said our thank you’s and went back to the rest of the group waiting by the platform gates. I distributed the tickets one by one and, in a fuss, prodded everyone to move quickly into the electronic gates.

In my worry and hurry, I forgot to ask which platform the Rapid Line for Tokyo was on. This was the second lesson learned: never forget to ask. So we all stand there like a bunch of lost kids on a field trip, looking at the signs and directions for the rapid line. Alas, I find platforms 11 and 12 and, with hesitation, went down the steps hoping that I would read the word Tokyo on the walls somewhere below. You know the names of places that they usually put underneath the platform numbers to tell you which big stations the train will be stopping at? I knew Tokyo should have been on the list for 11 and 12. It’s a main stop, for crying out loud! But in my desperation at catching the bullet train, I still went down, hoping that Tokyo will be in the more detailed list of stops. What a joke. Third lesson: keep your common sense.

What’s even funnier is that we actually waited there for a minute or two until we asked two locals for other platforms of the rapid line. The first person was a young lady who spoke no English and wasn’t really sure which platform we needed to be in, although she was kind enough and made an effort of googling it. I would have so done that if I only had data or wifi, or if I even had the time to pull out my phone. The second person was an old man who spoke impeccable English and was very sure that we had to transfer to platform 8. I swear to goodness, those were the longest three minutes of my life. When we finally set foot on number 8, it was 2:00 p.m. only 26 minutes left till our train in Tokyo Station choo-chooed (zoomed? –modernization and all) away without us.

I was going crazy, thinking that we were about to waste a total of 49,740 JPY – or add another certain amount to it, like a fee for catching the next train. Then again, due to my lack of research, I don’t know how the system works in Japan. But I digress.

IMG_3623

As I sat in the train going to Tokyo station, I counted the minutes that passed between every station. Four minutes, then five, sometimes three. I believe there were about 4 stations until we finally reached our stop. But the craziness didn’t end there. We still had to navigate the underground chaos and we had to do that in under 10 minutes!

I remember going down some stairs, going out one gate and into another, and then asking two different station staff which platform our bullet train was in, you know, just to be sure. We could have saved 2 minutes If I hadn’t. But if I hadn’t asked the second staff, the train would have left us because there I was standing at the bottom of the stairs, thinking how we were all going to carry our bags up there in less than 5 minutes – until the staff pointed behind me. There was an escalator that I previously had not seen. No joke, it seemed like spotlights were shining on the thing, telling me what a blessing it was.

I didn’t expect the train to still be there once we arrived, but it was. The funny part is that I went in the number 7 cart and came back out because my brother told me that our seats were in cart 16. Outside, I was turning around on the spot because I couldn’t find the 16th cart until that same brother suggested that we just get back in and transfer carts inside. We could have already done that a minute before, but all my common sense just goes out the window whenever I’m in a fuss. So we went inside cart 7 once more and covered two carts until the doors of the train finally closed. How horrible would it have been if we were still outside running towards cart 16? I was finally able to sigh in relief and laughed at how crazy everything was. Trying to catch the Shinkansen, in under 16 minutes, was a great big adventure all on its own!

IMG_3636