Monday, September 2, 2019

Umegae Sake Brewery: Nagasaki Prefecture

Every now and then in my travels around Nagasaki Prefecture you come upon a special place that instantly makes a strong and lasting impression on you. Umegae Sake Brewery is just one of these places and as a result of this positive and uplifting experience we intend to make this location a regular attraction on our full day tours.

To tell you the truth, for quite a few years now, I have been intending to visit this location and highlight its wares but for some reason it never did fit neatly into my schedule on the day.  Luckily a few hours opened up for me and my original plan had to be changed, however the god`s shine on me and my chance to check out my first Sake Brewery in Nagasaki came to fruition.

The rest is history!  Right from the beginning the friendly ladies welcomed me with open arms (not figuratively) allowed me to wander around on my own device, allow me to ask a multitude of questions and to basically give me full access of their facilities in order to make this report.  Even though I was here for only 45 minutes or so, it felt so much longer as there was some much information that i was able to digest and use.  Unfortunately there is not a huge amount of written and spoken English in this environment but the warm hearted smiles and manners of all the staff members really hopes to overcome any language communication difficulties.

I was not able to drink on the day (zero drinking and driving policy in Japan) but the range of Sake (Japanese Rice Wine) Shochu (Japanese Distilled Spirits) and Liqueurs is more than enough to satisfy everyone`s requirements.  So I am absolutely sure that I will be back as a non driver to sample at my hearts content in order to be the best guide and provider of information on the day.  It`s a hard job but I am sure I can handle it!

Please check out the Umegae Sake Brewery here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

English explainations

Recommended place

Special Sake

Storage Vats

Nice welcome for everyone

Factory Floor

Love the entrance

Very reasonably priced

Let`s try them all!

Lots of variety

Here is a video of my experience at the Umegae Sake Brewery that I am sure you will enjoy:

Monday, August 5, 2019

Hakata Station- Roof: Fukuoka City

Many of our Private Tour pick ups and or drop off originate from Hakata Station in Fukuoka City.  Basically, Hakata Station is the most centrally located area of Fukuoka City and the mainstay for incoming and outgoing travel into the City limits.

As a result of this, evert Tom, Dick and Chieko are driven towards Hakata Station like flies to honey.  It is a shoppers delight with any and every shop you could desire.  It`s a hang out destination for the younger Japanese Millennials so be prepared to be crowded like sardines because from morning to night the place is packed and this is no joke.

However, there is a secret spot to take a timeout if you get overawed with the situation.  It is on the roof of the building and it serves 2 purposes.  It`s main purpose is to showcase Fukuoka City by giving you a Panoramic 360 degree view of the city and outlying area.  I always find it essential on my private tours to give people an idea on actually how Mountainous the areas around Fukuoka City really are.

Once we have our bearings, I usually take the group and participate in a small blessing at the Shrine that is dedicated to safe travels.  Quite a lot of Japanese travelers will come to the roof, give a blessing to the Shrine and then catch their train to their destination.  To many people this has become second nature just like buying a ticket for their journey.

Finally, there are also aspects of nature of the roof, the sounds of running water, flowers, plants and you wouldn`t believe it a miniature Rice Paddy to show you how intertwined rice is in daily life here in Japan.

It`s just a great way to start the tour and the beginning of our great day together.
I am sure you will agree at the end of the day.

Please click here to see Hakata Station on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Please click on the following videos to see more about these 2 interesting places on the roof of Hakata Station.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Ohori and Maizuru Park: Fukuoka Prefecture

Although the 2 parks are adjacent to each other there have been and continues to be attempts by the Local and Prefectural Governments to combine the 2 areas and make it a SUPER Park of sorts.

Absolutely there are so many things that you can do and see here.  From the Old Castle Ruins of Fukuoka Castle where the powerful elite reigned and wielded power in their Domain to the peaceful and idillic Man made lake that is the center of Fukuoka`s exercise and leisure community.

The parks are a fabulous place for families, kids, couples and tourists to come for a leisurely stroll, partake in many of the cafes and restaurants as well as participate in the many exercise minded activities of the area.

It must be said that at certain times of the year there are a plethora of flowers blooming continuous with the change of seasons.  Of course the most famous is the Cherry Blossoms in March/April and there are thousand of these trees to fill your photographic needs.  However, the plum blossoms are also magnificent in late Feb/ early March but you must also mention the Lotus Flowers in June and the Wisteria Flowers in late May are a real find as well.  I am sure you will find the right flower at the time you are here.

Maizuru and Ohori Parks are a great tour finishing location.  A wonderful last attraction to satisfy your requirements of what a good tour requires.

Please check out Maizuru and Ohori Park here on the map:

Please click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Cherry Blossoms

City view

Well signposted


Many flowers to see

A tranquil place

Aerial View of the Cherry Blossoms


Plenty to do

Please click on the Videos below to see more about Ohori and Maizuru Parks:

Monday, July 1, 2019

Sotome Museum of History and Folklore: Nagasaki Prefecture

This Museum is in Sotome, Nagasaki.  The Museum features 2 floors of exhibits that teaches and educates the public on the history of the areas and its claim as the birthplace of Christianity in Nagasaki and ultimately Japan.

The first floor although quite interesting in its own right, is dedicated to the history of Sotome and the development of its society thru cultural events plus its development in farming/ fishing/ mining and other techniques over the years.

The main reason for me to come to this Museum today lies on the 2nd Floor of the building.  It is dedicated to the Christian History of Sotome and specifically during the 16th and 17th Century.  Sotome was home to a community of Hidden Christians and including ones that moved from various spots allover Japan to join a group of like minded people to practise their religion in secret and away from prying eyes.

The 2nd floor contains many artifacts and exhibits a lot of very interesting items that show how desperate the villages were to hold on to their religion during these times of persecution.  An example is a recording of prayers that were kept secret by the Hidden Christians of the area to be passed down from generation to generation as to not lose that they held on so dear to preserve.

If you have any interest in the plight of the Nagasaki Christians and would like to do a Christian Pilgrimage of the area then our Nagasaki Private Tours can take you to all the sights of the Sotome area and other Christian associated site within the Nagasaki Prefecture.  Please inquiry of what kind of service we can provide for you and your party.

Please click here to see where you can find the Sotome Museum of History and Folklore:

Please click the photos below to enlarge:

Map of the Area

1st floor

Go to the 2nd floor

Lots of exhibits

Secret images

Timeline of Sotome Christians

Lots of English info

Please click on the videos below to see more information about the Sotome Museum of History and Folklore:

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Unzen Power Spot: Nagasaki Prefecture

The Unzen Power Spot is located half way up the Mountain between Obama and Unzen Towns. At first glance it looks like a place with just a couple of statues but after a minute or 2 of walking around one comes to understand fully really how much there is to offer and see in this interesting and diverse place.

I am not a Power Spot fanatic or anything like that but when someone told me about this particular Power Spot just up the mountain from my place I literally jumped in my car and went for a gander. There is a peacefulness and a sense of purpose regarding the Unzen Power Spot, even in the 25 to 30 minutes that I was there I was able to feel a sense of worth and sincerity about life that really makes you think of what is important in life and for me that is my family, consisting of the wife and 2 kids.

In particular the statues of the Mother surrounded by babies was the most intense feeling for me, it brought back memories of both my children births which of course put me in my happy place for many hours, days and weeks since.  I know when I need a boost in the future, the Unzen Power Spot  is the place for me to return and put everything back into perspective again!

I urge you to visit the Unzen Power Spot, it will definitely provide the spiritual connection that you are looking for and of course give you the chance to see beauty in nature, artifacts and most importantly from within.

Check out the Unzen Power Spot on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Spiritual Healing

Interesting face

A place to pray

Powerful image of Mother and Baby

Lots of individual prayer boxes

Enlightenment is just around the corner?

.......and ponder

Please check out the videos of Unzen Power Spot Nagasaki here: