Chubu Trip Wrap-up

What a trip to cap the year! I have been looking forward to this trip for months, and speculated endlessly about our itinerary. When I received the itinerary, I ended up having to Google every place listed, because I did not know any of them, apart from Nagoya, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go, which was actually perfect, since I’m all too happy to go off the beaten tourist path, specially in Japan.

Dai-o Wasabi Farm at Azumino
A section of the Daio Wasabi Farm where Akira Kurosawa filmed the “Village of the Watermills” segment in his movie “Dreams”

The Chubu region shows plenty of promise, and it’s an amazing place to explore. If you love history, heritage, nature, and small towns and cities, this is the place for you. I liked Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, but it can get too crazy and crowded there, so I take refuge in smaller, quieter places in between.
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Souvenirs from Japan

Like Filipinos, the Japanese has a tradition of bringing home pasalubong everytime they go on a trip. That’s why you’ll always find souvenir shops with beautifully wrapped goodies, even in the supermarket (there is usually an area for souvenirs right at the entrance). The souvenirs are always locally made, unique to their region.

Gujo City souvenir shop
Souvenir shop in Gujo City

Here are some of the souvenirs you can pick up when you travel in Japan.
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Meitetsu Department Store

If you’re flying in and out of the Chubu Centrair International Airport and you’re taking the µ-Sky Airport Rapid Limited Express train to get out or get in the airport, you might as well make Meitetsu Department Store your first and last stop.

Meitetsu Department Store
One of the entrance to the Meitetsu Department Store from the Meitetsu-Nagoya Train Station

Connected to the Meitetsu-Nagoya Station, the department store entrance is just a few steps away from the turnstiles. The Meitetsu Department Store has two buildings: the main building with over 10 floors of retail, and the 6-storey Men’s building.
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Shinhotaka Ropeway

The Shinhotaka Ropeway is in the far reaches of Takayama. About an hour and half drive away from the city center, the ride took us through and up the mountains. The snow-capped mountains we saw in the distance were now looming over us, and white blobs of snow can be found in the road side.

Shin-Hotaka Ropeway
Shinhotaka’s No. 2 Ropeway as seen from the top

If you want to experience snow without the heavy snowfall and double-digit sub zero temperatures, late Fall or early Spring would be a good time to go. In late November, we were lucky to experience a combination of the Fall foliage, and a liberal dusting of snow on the mountain.
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Chubu Day 4: Shiojiri, Magome, and Nagoya

It was another early morning for all of us. The travel agents making sure to drop of their big luggage at the reception to have it sent to their hotel in Yokohama, us writers making sure we have everything packed for our trip back to Manila.

Fuji apple
Fuji apple

We tucked in a heavy breakfast, which proved to be a mistake, as our first stop was apple picking at Shiojiri, a town about half and hour’s drive away from Matsumoto. It was a farm that had both apples and grapes, and though the grapes are already all gone, the apple trees are laden with fruits.
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