Akebono Children’s Forest Park (あけぼの子どもの森公園)

akebono
Love exploring out of Tokyo as everything could just move back in time.

akebono
a very retro and old convenience store that looks like it was back in the 1980s

akebono
The park was 30 minutes walk from the station so we here was the view we saw as we strolled along.

akebono

Lots of children out playing since it was the summer holidays.

akebono
Finally, we see the name of the park!!! Hopefully it would be near so.

akebono
Another sign of the park after crossed the park.

akebono
Yes we are finally here!! We are all melting from the heat already.

akebono
This is a free entrance Moomin theme park that was built for the children of Hanno City in Saitama but it was also to welcome children from all over too.

akebono
Here we are visiting the Moomin’s houses and enjoying the nature.

akebono
I think it would be a perfect place to chill when the weather is cooler.

akebono
Though it was very hot when we visited but it was still quite fun to check out the various fantasy theme buildings.

akebono
At least we were close to nature.

akebono
The exhibition hall was air conditioned so we headed there to cool down.

akebono
I think it would be more fun if Baby M understands the figurines.

akebono

akebono
Hopefully, one day, she would also enjoy the nature bestowed to this country.

akebono
Visiting Moomin’s house, heavily fashioned with north European flavors.

akebono

akebono

akebono
Since this is a entry park, it would be nice when the weather is cooler and we could sit down for a picnic. I think we would come here again when she is older and if we are in Japan during Spring or Autumn to picnic and let her run freely.

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Shake Shack Ebisu & Conrad Tokyo

conrad
August was a special month, as part of the Baby M’s birthday celebration we booked a room with Conrad Tokyo just because Mummy loves the place (more for myself) I wanted a place to chill for 2 nights and a good hot bath soak. Not that I don’t love staying with my in law but still I would love to get out of bed and just leave the room to come back with everything cleaned and packed away nicely and lots of SPACE. Thanks to Baby M’s charm, we got a free fruit platter from reception just because they knew it was her birthday.

shake shack
Always wanted to try out Shake Shack that came from NYC but the wait line is always about 2 hours at their main branch in Jingju Maen so I was happy to hear that they opened a 100 seater branch near to Ebisu Station.

shake shack
Here we go, it was full house at 530pm on a Saturday evening.

shake shack
Checking the menu

shake shack
Waiting in line to buy our burgers.

shake shack
Fret not, the menu is in English and Japanese.

shake shack
After placing our order, we were given a buzzer and headed to the other side of the restaurant to wait in line to be assigned a seat.

shake shack
Finally, I got to try this after months of waiting. Beer with burger – YUMMY! Plus catching pokemon go!

shake shack
Shake shack originally started as a hot dog food truck so of course we must try it too.

shake shack
Cheese fries. Loved the food but the portions were really small so I would recommend getting more if you want to fill your tummy up but we were planning to go for 2nd helping with other food so we were fine with what we had. The overall wait at the Ebisu branch was not more than 20minutes but we were early at 530pm.

Address:<a href="https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130302/13194431/東京都渋谷区恵比寿南1-6-1 アトレ恵比寿西館 1F

Conrad
The humor from the Conrad team with their turn down service with Baby M’s snuggly toy and blanket.

Sado Island – Day 2(c)

Sado Island Sunset
We returned to our onsen hotel at around 4pm as we were all dying from the heat and baby wasn’t too happy too. Chilled in the room with family, watched the sun set and headed for dinner after a soak in the hot spring.

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Dinner for day 2, was still a lot of food.

Onsen Dinner Day 2
The cold appetizers

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Grilled beef saald.

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Smoked salmon salad

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Fish stew with radish

Onsen Dinner Day 2
6 cuts of sashimi

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Steamed meat dish

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Grilled fish

Onsen Dinner Day 2
Cold noodles and missing are the miso soup and steamed rice. TOO MUCH!

Ferry ride back to Tokyo
On our jet boat back to the main city of Niigata.

Sado deep sea water
Good bye, Sado Island!

Sado Island – Day 2(b)

five-story pagoda
Lots of historial sites around Sado island, so we just did a drive around the nearby shrines

Insect skin
Been a long time since I tried to play with my camera.

Daizen Shrine Noh Stage

Noh (能) is a form of theater involving music, dance and drama, originating in the 14th century. It was developed together with kyogen, which are comical pieces performed during interludes of the main noh performance. The dual art of noh and kyogen is known as nogaku, and was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. – Japan Guide

Daizen Shrine Noh Stage
Small temple opposite the stage

Daizen Shrine Noh Stage
Super serene when you visit these places.

Sado Island Man Face Stone
1 of the places of interest along the coastal drive is a stop over for photo with the man face rock.

Sado Island Day 2 lunch
How can you miss eating seafood in Sado island

Tub boat ride
The highlight of the day trip today is the Tarai Bune (tub boat) ride. 500JPY per person for about 20minutes

Tub boat ride
It is a little scary to get on the tub boat as it was quite shaky.

Tub boat ride
We were told to scoot ourselves to spread out the weight evenly.

Tub boat ride
All the boats were armed by old ladies who told us about the history of the area.

Tub boat ride
The view along the ride

Tub boat ride
Beautiful day though it was sizzling hot

Tub boat ride
It was so warm that the jelly fishes were out to play.

Sado Island – Day 2(a)

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
On the hunt for some gold and silver mining heritage by visiting the national heritage site on Sado Island.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine

Sado Kinzan was the most productive mine in Japan, annually producing nearly 400 kg of gold as well as smaller amounts of silver and copper. The mine was in operation throughout the Edo Period and served as a major source of funding for the Tokugawa Shogunate which directly controlled Sado Island and its mines.- Japan Guide

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
There were 2 routes to choose from, we chose the Edo period mine course since it would be more educational to see they managed the mine way back before industrialization. From the picture, you can observe that they dug really deep and extensively.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
It was a cool 10c degrees inside the mine while it was a sweltering 36c degrees outside. It was very much a cool relief from the heat.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Digging through to create pits for mining.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Drainage become really important as they dug further, hence plumbing workers were very well paid.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Working on the drainage system.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Checkpoint for the workers as they moved the ore out, this is to prevent smuggling and also a reference point for payment as they are paid on how much they dug.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Only the specialized miners who worked on the difficult areas were paid better, worked in 4 hours shift with a proper rest area.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
The specialized miners working with the tiny chisels to get the ore, the chisels usually worn out in 2 days.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
The black stripes at the back are when they hit an area with high density of silver and gold, a praying session would be in place where they pray that the ore would be soft enough for quick retrieval.

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
End of our tour, and back to the summer heat

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine
Then we spent some time in the exhibition hall, looking at models of life outside the mine where the families lives and how they cleaned the ores. A challenge area is also setup where if you can pick up this 12.5kg gold bar with one hand through the glass hole, you would be rewarded with a certificate (No, you can’t take the gold bar with you). Only 1957 persons have succeeded so far over the past 20 years. 😛

Sado Island – Day 1(b)

Sado Island

Setting off from the bus station for our 45 minutes bus journey to Aikawa from Ryotsu port.

Sado Island
Almost empty streets, shutters down on most of the shops and everything just oozed of 80s feel.

Sado Island

That weekend was the Tanabata Festival celebrations, some places in Japan still follows the lunar calendar for some festivals. Some families were preparing the bamboo for hanging the wishing stars.

Sado Island
View from our onsen hotel, Mancho in Aikawa.

crawly baby

Gone are the days where you can just lie down and be a vegetable when you check in. We still have to entertain an active baby who was crawling non stop and exploring many places.

Niigata Sake
Just how much drinks we had that night with our family. I think the reason they gave was “we have to try the different Niigata flavors”

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The tip of the ice berg of how much we were to eat.

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The grilled dish

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The cold cooked dish – crab legs

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The sashimi

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The grilled beef cubes.

Onsen Dinner Day 1
Another grilled fish with sauce

Onsen Dinner Day 1
Deep fried dish of vegetable tempura and local fish head

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The hot plate dish of abalone slices with butter. Yes, Japanese love to eat the intestine of the abalone too.

Onsen Dinner Day 1

Squid ink steamed rice.

Onsen Dinner Day 1
Amond jelly with orange for dessert. Too much food right? I was super super stuffed.

Sado Island
Took a walk around the hotel

Sado traditional dance
nightly Entertainment from the hotel with traditional Sado dances.

Sado Island – Day 1(a)

Sado Island

It was a long long journey for us to head to Sado Island for our family trip. We had to take a train from where we lived to Omiya, changed to a 1.5 hours ride on the shinkansen, then another 1 hour on the jetfoil to Sado Island and another 40 minutes of bus ride to arrive at our accomodation in Aikawa. Sado Island
It is about 15 minutes by bus from Niigata Station to the ferry terminal, but we took a taxi as we were rushing to catch the connecting jetfoil. It only takes 60 minutes by jetfoil to arrive in Sado Island (but almost 6000JPY for 1 way trip) and it is about 2 hours by ferry (but much cheaper at 2500JPY)

Sado Island

We chose to take the jetfoil so that we can arrive at our destination faster. I was initially worried that it might be a choppy ride but lucky for us, it was good weather and hence baby M enjoyed her first jetfoil cruise. Sado Island
As we were at the port area and it was their Sea summer Matsuri at that time so we got to see many decorated boats

Sado Island

Breastfeeding seats on the jetfoil which was clean and spacious, a very good gesture for mummies.

Sado Island
Finally arrived at Sado Island port, it was already 2 pm when we arrived. We were so famished!

Sado Island

Welcome to Sado Island

Sado Island
Everything on this island were pretty retro, made me feel I stepped back at least 10-15 years in time.

Sado Island

A lot of souvenirs were gold related due to their gold mining history on this island. Welcome to Sado
Off we go hunting for lunch near the Ryotsu Port.

Sado Island Day 1 lunch

See the plastic fake food also looked so weathered. Sado Island Day 1 lunch
But seafood was great on this island.

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