Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
“Right now, the Nagasaki BIO PARK is have a rush of babies!!”
… is what I heard, so I went right over to check it out.
If you’ve met me, you know I’m a complete capybara freak!
And so I have to talk about the baby capybaras first.
These capybara twins, one male and one female, were born on May 16th.
This baby is getting a big drink of milk from Ms. Zabon, the mother of the twins.
I think to myself about how they’re still babies, but they were munching away on these hard bamboo shoots.
Food gets these babies’ undivided attention.
Capybara babies can eat hard food, the same as a fully matured capybara might eat, right after they’re born!
They may be rodents but they have the cutest faces. It takes them about a year to grow to their full size.
When you stroke their fur, it’s as soft as a kitten’s!
With their tiny voices they make a “kyuru-kyuru” sound ♪
Suddenly, it started raining!
We took shelter with the capybaras.
Even though they’re skilled swimmers, they appear to not be the biggest fans of rain…
Fewer people visit the BIO PARK on rainy days, so this was our chance to spend some extra lazy time with the capybaras in their hut.
They also have benches for humans there, so it was quite comfy.
I got these excellent views of their cute butts and ears. I’m so happy ☆
Next, I’ll introduce Arumu the llama. He was born on May 26th.
When I put my finger near him he sucked on it like it was his mom’s breast ❤
It tickled but it was so cute!!
We gifted some vegetables to his lovely mother. I’m very glad she seemed to like them a lot.
The little guy poking his head out of the hole is a baby prairie dog.
Seven of them were born on May 10th.
Prairie dogs come out of their holes for the first time about a month after they’re born, and now it’s been about two months.
They grow exceptionally fast and reach adult size after only three months.
You can get food for the animals out of these capsule machines.
Definitely get some and get up close and personal with the critters!
Come out and see the babies while they’re still tiny!
Nagasaki BIO PARK
Address: Nakayama-gou 2291-1, Seihi-cho, Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture 851-3302
Entry fee: Adults 1,700 yen, Junior-high school students 1,100 yen, Children 800 yen (There are group discounts)
Hours: Open daily, year-round. 10am – 5pm (last entry at 4pm)
PAW (petting area) Hours: 10:30am – 5pm (last entry at 4pm) Entry fee: 500 yen per hour
Hello, it’s Tomocchi ☆
This spring, Iojima, the resort island in the sea south of Nagasaki City, was reborn!!
The rooms in the hotel were renewed of course, but the real attention grabber is the night fun! Island Lumina (アイランド ルミナ) is a night adventure that unfurls before you with lights and pictures using the island’s nature as the canvas.
This completely new style of attraction allows guests to experience a magical world created by digital art using the latest technology as they walk along a 1km gently sloping path through a forest.
Moment Factory (モーメント・ファクトリー) who produced this work, is one of the leading digital art groups in the world and have done production for world class acts like Cirque Du Soleil and Madonna!
I’ve been looking forward to this since long before it opened and I finally got to go ♪♪♪
The bus from central Nagasaki City takes about 45 minutes. Once you reach the island, you take the shuttle bus (pictured above) from the Island Lumina shuttle bus stop to the venue.
Drinks are allowed in the attraction. Make sure to get a drink at the café near the ticket gate and stay hydrated on your adventure.
They also have small bits like sausages and apple pie. Having a snack before going in is part of the fun.
We wait for the sun to go down, then in we go!!
Here is where you buy tickets (cash and credit are both accepted). If you buy your tickets more than three days in advance you get a 100yen discount.
The free, colorful face painting pens help get you pumped for your adventure. Even if you aren’t sure what to draw there are staff there to help you out. Once we were set, we snatched a snap at their picture corner.
From here the fantastical world beautifully spreads out before you. Everyone who takes part in Island Lumina goes on an adventure with a girl named Yura to find the sorcerer’s stone. While enjoying the sea, forest, and night sky of Iojima, guests are treated to a night adventure full of fun and excitement!! The course takes about an hour and has a few hills, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
These round stepping stones emit light and sound as you walk across them!! It feels strangely like you’re in water.
It really feels like you’ve gotten lost in a world of magic!! Enjoy the movie-like story with all five senses as you move along the course.
Make it through the gently sloping forest…
… And as I thought I could smell the ocean… suddenly we’re on the coast!
I love hearing the sound of small waves through the clear night air. And when I looked up, the night sky was so beautiful!! The whole atmosphere was so perfect that I wished I could just stay there forever.
Oh, did you get lost??
Get out your penlight and search for the correct path. (You’ll receive a penlight from the staff)
You can leave the path at any time you like if you don’t feel up to it. (The staff will lead you out)
Some lively noises come into earshot… we’ve come to the active experience corner! If you beat the taiko drums as fast as you can, a beam of light shoots out with a byooon! It’s you vs the dragon!!!
Not only for children, Island Lumina is a night attraction fit for adults too. The animations are beautiful and expertly executed. The high-level images are ahead of the pack, and I was constantly wondering what was waiting around the next corner.
After this, I definitely recommend taking a slow dip in the hot springs and then staying a night in one of the lovely rooms in the renewed hotel ♪
Night Attraction Island Lumina
Address: 1-3277-7 Iojima-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture (inside i+Land Nagasaki)
Hours: From Sunset to 11:00pm (last admissions at 10:30pm). These times will fluctuate with the seasons.
Price: Age 18 and up: ￥2,400
Age 13-17: ￥1,800
Age 4-12: ￥1,500
Children under 4 are free.
The attraction occasionally closes due to inclement weather. Thank you for understanding.
Hello! It’s Tomocchi☆
So, the sweaty season is finally here.
It makes me want cold sweets!!
That’s why this time I want to tell you about the ‘Nagasaki Castella and
Fresh Soft Serve’ that’s making a splash in the city!
New York Do is in Nagasaki City’s All-Core Nakadoori.
It’s very close to Spectacles Bridge, one of the most iconic tourist spots in the city.
This shop was started in 1937 as one for western sweets, and for more than 50 years their ice cream has been hand-made in a workshop right behind it.
The soft-serve at New York Do has been loved by locals for decades, but it became known across Japan last June when a popular TV program picked up its story!! It’s become so popular that there are lines on the weekend!!
The program showed the soft serve being eaten by being sandwiched between two pieces of castella which looked delicious. I saw tourists eating it in that way and it seemed a bit cumbersome.
So, to make the treat into something you could eat while walking, as of last October they now put it in a small bag that you can hold in the palm of your hand.
Here is that popular innovation.
Nagasaki Castella and Fresh Soft Serve (400yen)
Doesn’t it look amazing!?
This treat is fresh soft serve made right behind the store, sandwiched between two pieces of Nagasaki’s iconic castella cake, and garnished with a cookie.
This sweet is so Nagasaki!! And you bet it’s popular!!
This soft serve is made with Taiyou-tamago eggs from Nagasaki.
It’s silky smooth and melts slowly in your mouth ｡♥｡･ﾟ♡ﾟ･
(This company makes even the ingredients for the ice cream from scratch!)
The castella, with its generous helping of granulated sugar, and the crunchy cookie are both also made in the workshop behind the shop.
As for ice cream flavors, they have: Vanilla, matcha, red bean, loquat, chocolate, strawberry, apricot seed, and whatever others they might be making at the workshop. They don’t have all the flavors all the time, so the available choices will depend on when you visit. But, that’s one of the fun parts of this shop.
The rich vanilla flavor is the most popular, but the red beans are cooked right there in the shop, and the loquats are locally sourced, so each of the flavors has been crafted with care and superb effort!!
The shop is not far from Nagasaki’s iconic Spectacles Bridge.
Nagasaki locals and tourists alike, why not treat yourself to a delicious Nagasaki Castella and Fresh Soft Serve in this hot weather?
New York Do
Address: 3-17 Furukawa-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture, 850-0851
Open year-round except for around the New Year Holidays
* However, Nagasaki Castella Soft Serve is available everyday but Tuesday, 11:00 – 17:00 (until 16:30 on Sundays)
Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
Champon is undoubtedly one of the most famous things to come out of Nagasaki.
There are innumerable champon shops across the city, but I’d like to introduce one to you that I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl.
It’s called Suzuya in the former Chinese Settlement near Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown. People in the know go to Suzuya for their champon
Now, it’s not a Chinese food restaurant. Around Nagasaki, a champon-ya is synonymous with a local cafeteria. Actually, from long ago and up to my parents’ generation, there were so many champon shops around that the people of Nagasaki simply called local cafeterias “champon-ya”.
Not only does Suzuya have delicious champon, but the location is also excellent!
When people think of where foreigners lived in Nagasaki during the period of national isolation, most people think “Dejima”. The former Chinese settlement was essentially the Chinese version of Dejima.
During the Edo period, the Chinese were forced to live all in the same place, despite being able to live wherever they liked up until then.
There are four unique temples and the remains of an old-style market that brings to mind images of times past. The whole area exudes a nostalgic feeling and has a unique charm.
To introduce the former Chinese settlement, let’s head straight through the main gate that was reproduced on entrance to the area!
As you go up this road with a retro-style market, a Chinese temple comes into view.
Dojin-do (Hall of the Earth God)
Beyond the gate and bridge, the gods of agriculture and commerce are worshipped inside this beautiful hall with Chinese circular windows. This is the first temple constructed in the Chinese settlement, and the dances that would become the Dragon Dance in the Edo Period have their roots here ☆
Let’s go up the charming stairs to the right of the hall. On the right is a public bath house, on the left is the roof of the hall.
Go up a few flights of stairs and turn right at the first corner. Our destination, Suzuya, comes into view on the corner after crossing a bridge on the border of Kannai-machi and Junin-machi. (By the way, that bridge spans the remains of the moat of the Chinese settlement)
The big navy-blue sign curtain marks the spot. The interior is designed just as you would imagine an iconic Showa Period eatery to look like. (Due to the high number of patrons having their lunch, we omitted taking pictures of the interior)
Champon (700 yen)
The bright shredded egg topping makes for an eye-catching visual. The clear soup is delicious! It’s just a bit sweet, with a light mouth-feel. Use your Chinese spoon to get in there! …Oops! I nearly drank all my soup before getting to the big ingredients (lol).
Those main ingredients include pork that’s full of sweetness and umami, and crisp green onions. There’s also Nagasaki’s pink kamaboko (boiled fish paste), and the shredded egg which is quite uncommon.
These thick noodles really make it into the traditional champon I grew up with!!
All these ingredients tangle up together to produce that sweet, delicious, and nostalgic flavor of champon, am I right?
I drank the soup down to the last drop… Gochisousama deshita!!
Sara udon (700 yen)
This looks like too much for one person!! The sweet, thick sauce looks like it’s going to overflow off the plate!! I have to restrain myself in the face of such a delicious meal to eat it without spilling.
The crispy noodles are so thin and light! They aren’t oily in the least despite being fried. The noodles stay crunchy and melt in your mouth along with the sauce.
By the way, in addition to champon and sara udon, Suzuya also has makizushi, inarizushi, and other delicious dishes ♪
Oh! There was also something on the menu called “chan udon” that I want to try the next time I’m there.
Lunch is their specialty. They close at 7pm, so if you’d like to get dinner you’ll need to go early. They are closed on Sundays and holidays.
These cats live a lazy life in the former Chinese settlement’s streets too small for a car to go down. In the early afternoon, this grey kitty showed me a big yawn. They say that bent-tail cats, colloquially called o-magari neko, are quite common around Nagasaki. One explanation for their prevalence is that they came in on trading ships from south-east Asia and propagated across the city ☆ Such a fitting story for the international trading port city that is Nagasaki.
Address: 10-15 Junin-machi
Hours: 10am – 7pm. Closed Sundays and Holidays
No parking available
Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
At the end of last year, a shop opened up where you can enjoy hand-dripped coffee and freshly made waffles while taking in a view of Spectacles Bridge.
It’s located near Spectacles Bridge, the prominent tourist destination (on the Allcore Nakadoori side of the river). It’s on the first floor of the sharp-cornered building on the corner.
The name of the shop comes from Miss Awajiya Tsuru, who was the woman to whom Thomas Glover fell in love with. Thomas Glover was a Scottish trader based in Nagasaki’s Minamiyamate in the mid-1800s.
Coffee was introduced to Japan through Nagasaki, so it’s easy to imagine that the real Miss Tsuru brewed at least a few delicious mugs of coffee for her lover, Glover ♪
This shop’s signature item is hand dripped coffee made delicately with freshly ground beans.
The most popular menu item: Miss Tsuru’s Coffee (450 yen)
It’s a blend of five different coffee beans with Columbian and Brazilian varieties as the base. It’s neither too bitter nor too acidic so even people who aren’t big fans of coffee can enjoy it to the last drop.
Fruit and Custard Waffle (550 yen)
A hot-off-the-iron waffle topped with fresh fruit and custard ♪
This thick and fragrant waffle is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I recommend dipping it in custard cream and eating it while it’s hot.
They make the batter for the waffles in-house. The waffle batter is not merely poured into the correct shape, but rather pressed and cooked in the Belgian style. The balance of unrefined and powdered sugar in the recipe allows the light insides to stay moist.
Guests can see Spectacles Bridge from this counter.
In the evening, it becomes quite romantic with the setting sun coming through the window ♪
Also for sale are coffee beans, original high-quality chocolate, and drippers, mugs and plates made of Hasami Pottery. There are also books related to Thomas Glover and other books related to the foreign settlements in Nagasaki.
You can make delicious coffee with the drippers and mugs made of Hasami Pottery, and they make great Nagasaki souvenirs.
This casual shop is easy for locals and tourists alike to drop into.
They also offer their items to-go, so why not take a leisurely walk around Spectacles Bridge with a freshly made coffee in one hand?
Or maybe drop into Miss Tsuru’s Coffee for a nice little sit down?
Miss Tsuru’s Coffee
Address: 6-27 Suwa-machi 1st Floor, Nagasaki City
Hours: 10am to 8pm
Closed: New Year’s Day