The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Nagoya sights: the TV tower, castle and cherry blossoms

We are back home from our short whirlwind trip to Japan. The weather was beautiful there, and our trip was well-timed with the beginning of the gorgeous sakura blossoms. It was quite depressing coming back to stormy weather in Hong Kong, which began the day after we left for Japan a week ago, and hasn't stopped since. It was good to be back in Japan - it really felt like we were returning home. This was our first visit to Nagoya, and I wanted to see so much more than we did, but it is unfortunately a fact of life that caring for an infant takes up a lot of time. My expectations were realistic though, having first travelled with another infant five years ago, and I only planned for one main thing to do each day on our trip. Cramming in too much would be counter-productive, resulting in overtired children (and parents!), leaving no one to enjoy the experience. Better some than none, I say!

Without much further ado, here is what we got up to on our first day in Nagoya:

Our hotel was near the Nagoya TV Tower. Shot was taken somewhere along Hisaya Odori Park (aka Central Park):

We walked from our hotel in Sakae (shopping, nightlife and entertainment district) to Nagoya Castle - a rather ambitious feat while carrying a sleeping 4-month-old in a wrap and a 5-year-old trudging alongside. This path outside the castle grounds was lined on either side with cherry blossom trees that were beginning to bloom:

The rear of the main castle tower as viewed from the main gate:

This cherry blossom tree near the main gate was a popular one with the castle visitors, including us:

Family portrait with the sakura blossoms (the boy insisted on pulling funny faces for the camera):

Gilded sliding doors and walls inside Honmaru Palace:

We saw many paintings of the "jako neko" (musk cats):

A hallway inside Honmaru Palace:

The main castle tower, with a half-bloomed sakura tree and some shops in front to buy refreshments and souvenirs:

We enjoyed some ice cream while I nursed baby before going inside the tower. The flavours were sakura (pink on the left) and matcha (green on the right). Cherry blossom flavour is a popular seasonal flavour in Japan to celebrate spring and the sakura bloom, and it is quite a lovely taste. The boys had already licked the ice creams on their way back to where I was, so this shot was taken post-lick (and the camera was focussing on my friend in the background who was also taking a photo of her own cone):

City view from a window on the viewing platform of the castle tower:

A replica of the kinsachi, the mythological golden tiger-headed dolphins that sit on the roof of the main donjon:

There were many exhibition pieces and replicas on display inside the tower, but the one that took my interest were of food (of course!):

It was late by the time we headed to dinner, and even later still when we headed back to the hotel via central park. This is the TV tower at night:

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