Tag Archives: nagoya

Japan 2014 – 37 From Kyoto to Ina (and throw in Karaoke and an Izakaya) (2014-10-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 23 DEC 2015

Heading into our third leg of the holiday (the first being Tokyo/Yokohama, followed by Kyoto), we were now to travel to Ina, a small city in the Nagano Prefecture which is near to Komangane where the big wedding (and reason for the trip) was to be held.

Having successfully navigated a high speed train from Kyoto to Nagoya, we had hopped off, seen a sight, and then successfully navigated our way to the Meitetsu Bus Center.

IMG_20141008_153341 ryan and craig lotter on the bus and on our way to ina, japan

Ryan’s happiness at being featured on the Hamish and Andy podcast (he had just finished taking their call), soon dissipated at the realization that he would be squashed in a bus next to me for the next couple of hours (something he was slowly but surely kind of getting used to over the duration of this trip!).

IMG_20141008_165553 highway rest stop on the bus trip to ina, japan

As comfortable as the bus trip was (for me, not poor squashed Ryan), it was a lengthy highway bound journey and sights or no sights, we were pretty happy when the stopover to stretch our legs happened.

(That said, neither of us wanted to risk being left behind by the bus, so we didn’t stray particularly far!)

IMG_20141008_165516 highway rest stop on the bus trip to ina, japan

The countryside was slowly giving way to the stunning wooded central alps region, and the last half of the highway bus trip was particularly pretty, though Ryan and I had to keep our wits about us because we needed to listen/lookout for our scheduled stop, the in the middle of nowhere Komangane IC Highway stop.

(Not that there was any reason to worry though. Just as everything had been running super smooth since the start of our trip, we didn’t muck this one up either.)

IMG_20141008_192451 terrance brown and yuko eating izakaya food

At the highway stop, Yuko and Terrance were patiently waiting for us and our luggage, and after a happy reunion, we were ferried away towards Ina, where the next adventure was to be trying to find our hidden away in the backstreets accommodation, the old Ina-chuo Hotel.

As it turned out, luckily Yuko and Terrance were on hand for the check-in, because unlike at Kyoto (where the younger staff member could actually speak a bit of English), this hotel is run by a very, very old Japanese couple – meaning that other than the occasional smile, nod, shrug, or look of confusion, Ryan and I were complete and utterly unable to communicate with our hosts!

IMG_20141008_195039 enjoying izakaya food in ina, japan

Bags unpacked, we were then immediately whisked away to a local izakaya, with Yuko and Terrance eager for us to drink some sake and partake in some proper Japanese food – not the fast food that Ryan and I had up to now been living off of. (So sue us, neither Ryan nor I am adventurous when it comes to food, and we certainly weren’t there on a gastronomy holiday!)

[Note: An izakaya is essentially a type of informal Japanese drinking establishment that serves food to accompany the drinks, acting as casual places for after-work drinking. So kind of like a pub or tavern, but also not quite.]

A super fun, and properly authentic Japanese experience for Ryan and myself then!

IMG_20141008_212938 craig lotter attempts karaoke in ina, japan

Not that Yuko and Terrance were quite finished with the two of us just yet. After enjoying some food and drink, we next drove around the small Ina looking for a karaoke shop that might still be open this late on a week night.

Sadly for Ryan, they found one, and soon the four of us were belting out one bad song after the other. Ryan hated it, but I loved it. You have to karaoke when you are in Japan because they certainly seem to know how to do it!

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With that, the evening drew to a close, and Ryan and I were returned to our rather spacious (in Japanese hotel terms) room at the Ina-Chuo Hotel. The furnishings were ancient (but in working condition), and as our trip was proving, the less modern were were going, the more space we were getting.

Which I kind of liked.

Related Link: Ina | Komagane

Japan 2014 – 36 From Nagoya TV Tower back to the Meitetsu Bus Center (and Nana-chan!) (2014-10-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 22 DEC 2015

I’m not entirely sure why I’m posting these photos separate from the photos taken on the walk to Nagoya TV Tower and then the photos taken at Nagoya TV Tower. Nevertheless, I do have a separate folder for these, so if you have to know, these were all taken on the long walk from Nagoya TV Tower to the Meitetsu Bus Center.

DSC07797 walking through hisaya odori park, nagoya, japan

Starting from Hisaya Odori Park, Ryan and I made our way back towards the Nagoya Station area (taking a different route of course), with our goal being the Meitetsu Department Store (and Bus Center), where we would be catching a bus to Ina.

DSC07810 maserati showroom in nagoya, japan

Along the way we crossed a river, saw some pretty cool buildings, and took our time walking past a Maserati dealership, kind of the last expected thing we thought we would see in Nagoya.

DSC07813 river in nagoya, japan

With time to spare, we reached the Meitetsu Building, did a spot of shop browsing (so, so many levels of high-end stores, and boy, are CDs and DVDs expensive over there!), and then took a couple of photos under the famous Nana-chan, a massive white mannequin that gets a new look every month and acts as a popular meeting spot for people in Nagoya.

DSC07822 fashionable nana-chan mannequin outside meitetsu bus center, nagoya japan

Yup, and then it was time to try and figure out how to find our bus (which is tricky given the massive size of the building), all while Ryan anxiously waited on his phone call from Hamish and Andy (which apparently are a reasonably well known podcast pair?).

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If you have to know, his phone call went well. (And we found our bus.)

Related Link: Meitetsu Bus Center


Japan 2014 – 35 A jaunt up the Nagoya TV Tower (2014-10-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 22 DEC 2015

Having enjoyed a scenic stroll along the streets of central Nagoya (while we were waiting for our bus transfer), we eventually reached Hisaya Odori Park where the object of our mission resides – Nagoya TV Tower.

IMG_20141008_111835 outside the nagoya tv tower, nagoya japan

Nagoya TV Tower is the oldest TV tower in Japan, completed in 1954 (and bearing quite the resemblance to the Eiffel Tower!). The tower is 180 metres high, and has two main observation decks at the heights of 90 metres (the indoor Sky Deck) and 100 metres (the outdoor Sky Balcony).

The tower also includes a restaurant and gallery at 30 metres.

DSC07800 inside the nagoya tv tower, nagoya japan

(Neat fact: Nagoya TV Tower keeps getting destroyed in Godzilla movies. In 1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla beat Mothra with it, whilst in the 1992 remake, Battra took down the tower during its attack on Nagoya!)

DSC07802 aerial view of nagoya, japan, from the nagoya tv tower

Although obviously not nearly as high as some of the other observation decks we had already visited whilst in Japan (e.g. Tokyo Tower, Landmark Tower, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and Kyoto Tower), we still got some pretty awesome views of this pretty city – and the outdoor viewing deck was an particularly enjoyable (refreshing) experience.

IMG_20141008_113911 ryan lotter inside the nagoya tv tower, nagoya japan

As it turns out, Nagoya TV Tower also happens to be quite a popular spot for weddings and wedding photos, hence the Promise Heart:

DSC07798 promise heart inside the nagoya tv tower, nagoya japan

So, with our impromptu sight seeing trip now complete, we grabbed some refreshments from a vending machine and hit the road back towards the Meitetsu Bus Center to catch our ride…

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Related Link: Nagoya TV Tower

Japan 2014 – 34 Walk from Nagoya Station to the Nagoya TV Tower! (2014-10-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 DEC 2015

So having stayed in Yokohama whilst visiting Tokyo, then moving on to Kyoto via bullet train, time had now come to move on to the third and final leg of our journey – a stay in Ina, a small city situated in the Nagano prefecture.

However, without a direct rail route to get there, Ryan and I was to take a shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya, where we would then catch a bus and travel to the Komagane highway bus stop where we would be picked up by Terrance and Yuko and then ferried to our Ina accommodation via their car.

Eh, simple enough.

DSC07755 architecture along the streets of najoya, japan

Nagoya in case you are wondering is Japan’s fourth largest city in terms of population, and with the headquarters of Toyota being situated nearby, well, you can expect a pretty well off and modern city.

Having successfully arrived at the huge train terminal via train, Ryan and I found ourselves a few hours to spare, and eager not to waste any of our time in Japan, we immediately started walking, setting our sights on the Nagoya TV Tower as a suitable destination.

DSC07758 public telephone booth on the streets of najoya, japan

Nagoya is a beautiful city, and the street that we happened to be marching down was littered with public art everywhere you looked. Beautiful sculptures, statues and architecture certainly was the order of the day.

DSC07768 bicycles and a girl along the streets of najoya, japan
A particularly interesting sight that we stumbled on was the Sky-Boat Ferris Wheel, which believe it or not, is attached to the side of a shopping center! (Sunshine Sakae in case you want to look it up.)

DSC07785 ferris wheel attached to building in nagoya

Eventually we stumbled into the pleasant Hisaya Odori Park, with the sight of the Nagoya TV Tower looming largely in front of us…

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Related Link: Nagoya | Nagoya Travel Guide