Strolling around Obama

03Feb 2012 tomocchi

When I think of Obama, the very first thing that comes to mind is onsen (hot springs). Besides this there are other famous things like the “Hot Foot 105” foot spa – the longest in Japan – and Obama champon. However, there are many other things to see here. 


One unusual thing is this onsen, sitting quietly in amongst all the houses. 



This spring, burbling and welling away, is Obama’s only carbonate spring.

At first glance it seems hot…



…but when you touch it, it’s not hot at all!
Why only this one?! How strange! w(*゚o゚*)w


In actuality, the source water for Obama’s onsen is 105 degrees Celsius, so be careful not to touch it if you come across it anywhere apart from here.



Next is this place – Kaminokawa Spring.



People come here one after another to draw water for daily use around the house and as drinking water. Coffee made with this water is said to be amazing!



There’s also this:



Yorokobi no Koimizu (Joyful Tears of Love).


There’s a rumour that if couples touch the water then something might happen!

Well, Valentine’s Day is on the way, and it might give my prayers for love a bit of a boost…(* ´艸`*)
No, it’s too embarrassing…



Then, over by the Unzen City Obama General Branch Office, is a building giving off thick plumes of smoke…



Here, Ryoukan Tanaka Sou has opened this up so people can freely come and pump out the source water for the Obama hot springs. 


As you’d expect, it’s too hot to take it home with you, but you can come and boil your own eggs and potatoes here instead!



This is a generous bit of free service from Obama, with its abundance of hot spring water.



Obama is full of narrow streets and there are places which are difficult to find (the carbonate spring in particular being one of them), so I recommend dropping by the Obama Hot Spring Tourism Association before you do your sightseeing here!


There’s also an Obama onsen saruku walking route for those of you who want to stroll around the hot springs.





【Obama Hot Spring Tourism Association】


Address: 14-39 Kitahonmachi, Obama-machi, Unzen city




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Nagasaki: Legend of the Red String

13Jan 2012 tomocchi

This year between Monday 23rd January and Monday 6th February, the 2012 Nagasaki Lantern Festival will be held.

※Caution :All pictures were taken before.


Every year central Nagasaki comes alive with lanterns and people, but there are some places that are crowded with young visitors in particular.

So why is this lantern, an old man who you can almost hear laughing, surrounded by people?



This is Gekka Roujin, a god of matchmaking, and he can be found outside the Hamaya department store in Hamanomachi arcade.


I have to try this out.

Here you buy a “red string charm,” make a wish and tie it near the matchmaker lantern.




What do you mean, I’m being manipulated by a commercialized farce?!
I know, I know…

But I can’t help trying it out, because it’s fun!

But I do tie it up while making a wish quite seriously!



There are so many threads tied here that each section looks almost like a rope.



The strings that everyone has tied here are prayed for at Soufukuji temple, which is also displaying lanterns, in a traditional ritual.

Each charm pack is 100 yen. There are two threads in each – one for tying, and one to carry around with you.



The right one is for carrying around, and the left is to tie.





Gekka Roujin


Where: In front of Hamaya department store, Hamanomachi arcade,Nagasaki city

Display period: 23rd January – 6th February



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The Kujukushima Cruise

21Dec 2011 tomocchi

Today I’d like to introduce to you the Pearl Queen, the sightseeing boat touring the Kujukushima islands which is popular for the views of the beautiful surrounding ocean it gives as it threads between that islands that dot it.



Here the Pearl Queen receives a send off as it sets sail.




The tranquil and beautiful Kujukushima islands.



Apparently in the clear winter air you can see as far as the Goto archipelago.
It’s cold, but if you want to see a great view then I’d recommend going in wintertime!




The islands look different in each season. In spring there is the Sakura Cruise, where you can see wild cherry blossom dotting the trees. In summer and autumn, watching the setting sun on the Sunset Cruise is highly recommended.


For those of you out there thinking, “I couldn’t survive outside on the sea in winter – it’s too cold!” please enjoy relaxing inside the boat instead.



And on that note, I made a discovery whilst I was wandering around inside the ship!



If it says “Try on freely,” then I can hardly say no, can I?


I feel a bit like the captain of the ship!
Incidentally, the children’s jacket was the perfect fit for me.



Now we will pass between the islands.



Make sure to experience the breathtaking Pearl Queen cruise for yourself!









【Saikai Pearl Sea Resort】


Address: 1008 Kashimae-cho, Sasebo city
TEL: 0956-28-4187
Kujukushima Cruise: Adults/1200 yen, Children (elementary school and under)/600 yen


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Floating in the sky feels like this, perhaps

05Dec 2011 tomocchi

Has everyone already ridden the new Nagasaki ropeway?


The new gondola cars, changed for the first time in 16 years, are called “Stardrop” and “Moondrop.”



The new cars, put into operation on the 1st November, are made entirely of glass apart from the floors.



They do look very stylish…


…which is no wonder, considering they were designed by the CEO of KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN, Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who has also worked for Italy’s Ferrari.


This is him below.



It uses one sheet of glass from top to bottom, and asymmetrical glass at the front and back.



Acacia wood has been used for the floor and benches inside to make it a more comfortable ride for nervous passengers.



You get a 360 degree panorama!



Seeing the streets below during the day does make your heart rate pick up a bit! 



At night it feels like you’re flying in the sky, and the view of all the twinkling lights once you reach the summit is breathtaking.



To those of you out on a romantic night who want to make it a very special evening with someone you really care about, and even to those who don’t, I would recommend riding the ropeway up toMountInasaafter dark.

Come and experience your own five minute journey through the sky, as you ride up the 1090 metres to the summit.







【Nagasaki Ropeway】


Enquiries: Nagasaki Ropeway & Aquarium

Address: 364-1 Inasa-machi,Nagasakicity

Tel: 095-861-6321

Fare: Return    Adult 1200yen, Junior high school/High school 900 yen, Child 600 yen

        One-way Adult 700 yen, Junior high school/High school 500 yen, Child 400 yen

Opening Hours:09:00 – 22:00

 (Cars run every 15-20 minutes during normal operating times)


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The Outdoor Hot Spring for Capybara

22Nov 2011 tomocchi

※This year ‘The capybara outdoor hot spring’ is open between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., from 1st  December until 29th February.



And so the cold has come again, leaving us longing for hot baths…




  At Nagasaki Biopark in Saikai city they open the Outdoor Hot Spring for Capybara during the winter.


  The capybara’s original habitat is by the sea and they are skilled swimmers, but in the winter the water is too cold for them to enter. Because of this there were some capybara who suffered from skin trouble because of the lack of moisture. To counteract this, an outdoor bath was constructed three years ago and it is very popular with the capybara!


  Relaxing in the warm water seems to have done wonders for the capybara’s skin.


  And now the outdoor bath is opening for another winter. The bath itself is amazing, constructed from stone and large enough to fit a person inside. Let’s see what the capybara do.




  First it’s time to clean the bath…


The capybara crowd around once they hear the sound of the warm water flowing.




(Text:Black… ”Is it okay to get in?”

     Red… “It’s fine, it’s fine!”

     Blue… “I’m still cleaning it!”)


  It’s been a year since the capybara were last allowed in, as the bath is only open during the winter.



(Text:Black… “I will go first!”

            Red… “I can’t wait any longer!”)


These capybara have really acquired a taste for the bath!

There’s also a rush for the cascading bath.



(Text: “Aaah, feels so nice!”)


  Apparently, when the outdoor bath was first built three years ago no-one thought the capybara would enjoy the cascading bath, but the capybara realised that the water that comes out there is the warmest, so they’ve grown to enjoy it.




  However, space for the cascading bath is limited, so the capybara split into two groups – those who sit under the cascading bath, and those who immerse themselves in the main bath.




(Text: Yellow… “We’re the Cascade Club.”

            Red… “The water will take a while to fill up in here…”)





(Text: Red (left)… “The bath has finally filled up!”

            Red (right)… “Let’s get in, then!”)


  There are even capybara who feel so good that they turn over on their backs and show their bellies! That’s relaxing a little too much!




  But while there are capybara like this, who love the outdoor bath, there are also capybara who steadfastly refuse to go in.



 (Text: “That’s because we’re the conservative group!”)


  The conservative capybara refuse to even look at the bath, shivering in the cold instead.


  Nagasaki Biopark, with 35 capybara, has the largest number of the animals in the country. With so many of them, there are bound to be a lot of different  personalities…


  The sight of the capybara relaxing in this outdoor bath is a soothing one that everyone can enjoy.





【Nagasaki Biopark】


Address: 2291-1 Nakayamagou, Seihi-cho, Saikai city

Tel: 0959-27-1090

Opening hours: 9:00~17:00(Last entry 16:00)

Entry fee: Adults 1,600 yen, Children 700 yen



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