December 2014

Autumn in Ogori

Autumn passed here and the leaves were changing colors in home gardens, school grounds, or trees alongside of a road in Ogori. There are several spots around the country to optimally enjoy these views. Hope you can enjoy beautiful autumn views in Ogori next year!

< Shiroyama Koen (Shiroyama Park) >
This park is located at the foot of Ogori’s only mountain, Hanatateyama, and is full of bright yellow ginkgo trees right now. In the spring, you can enjoy cherry blossoms and azaleas and summer Japanese irises. You can also rent a boat at the pond or reserve a barbecue pit for free.

Best time to view the autumn colors: Late October
Directions: Take Amagi Railway, Amagi Line. It is about 2 km from Nishi Tachiarai Station.

Otherwise known as the Frog Temple, Nyoirinji has over 5,000 stone frog statues and figurines. There are also a number of Japanese maple trees that show off bright red color during this season. The contrast between the green moss and the yellow leaves is quite spectacular.

Best time to view the autumn colors: Beginning mid November
Directions: Take Nishitetsu Railways. 15 minute walk from Misawa Station.

Umi no Nakamichi Kaihin Koen (Uminonakamchi Seaside Park)

Umi no Nakamichi Kaihin Koen is a flower park that boasts seasonal flowers in bloom as well as beach attractions. Unfortunately, comos were not quite in full bloom when I visited, but kochia bushes were showing several beautiful bright colors of the season. Kochi, otherwise known as broom weed, is abundant in a particular part of the Ibaragi Prefecture and famous for its round and bushy appearance. I also recommend the Flower Museum and the Animal Forest along with many other exhibits.

You can see the details here (Only in Japanese, though).
Here is the park guide in English.

Owl Café

Similar to the cat cafes, there exist owl cafes that are gaining popularity in Japan. In Fukuoka, you can find one such café in Kawabata Shopping Arcade near Kushida Shrine. Here, you can see several owls outside their cages and take photos or even touch these owls. During the daytime, they are not very active and usually allow you to touch and lift them on your arms. A novel idea and something unique to Japan, the owl cafes are beginning to attract locals and tourists alike. The relaxing atmosphere combined with the presence of the owls makes for a very popular attraction.

Cat Café

The Cat Café is exactly what it sounds like; a place where a number of cats, 10 to 20, walk around the tables as you relax and play with those cats. Yes, cats are part of the staff. If you like cats, I highly recommend these cafes. This type of café is not so common yet, but Tenjin has 2 such cafes and Kurume has one. It’s becoming popular in Japan and is also starting to spread outside Japan. Why not drop by a cat café when you feel tired after a long of day at school or work?

Pokemon Center

I would like to introduce an interesting spot related to Pokemon (Pocket Monster). I understand Pokemon is very popular overseas as well. Pokemon Center Fukuoka is a store located in Hakata City 8F. This store is full of game related goods, stuffed animals, stationary, food, etc. You can also find game contents that you cannot buy elsewhere. The store provides space for playing Pokemon card games, and even if you don’t know much about Pokemon, charming goods will bring you a smile. My favorite items include Fukuoka goods sold only at the Fukuoka Store and Pikachu shaped cookies and candies. They are perfect as souvenirs from Japan.