Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Giant Green Tea Tree: Ureshino Town, Saga Prefecture

There is a very impressive place located in the rural confines of Saga Prefecture that has significant historical and cultural connotations. It is called the giant tree of Ureshino and for a green tea buff it is the origins of the green tea industry in this region of Kyushu. 

Not only is the location completely in the countryside (it's about as rural as you are ever going to get) but no matter what the season the Green Tea fields are still an amazing shade of vibrant green.  It's hard to explain that in the middle of winter that colors like this even exist.  The contrast is so mazing that it actually blows your mind. The manicured hedges of the Green Tea fields are absolutely mesmerizing. It could be just me but every time I see another interesting hedge shape along the river bank or on the hill I just have to step out of my car and take another picture. It's like a drug, you just can't get enough!

I have been told that in summer the density of the tree when its leaves are at its peak are quite a lit more than in its current state.  However a 340 year old specimen that is 4 meters high and has an 8 meter circumference, i think that it has nothing to apologize for.  This is a true indication that nature is incredible and that we need to preserve and protect everything we can for the next generation to enjoy.

Even if there is no English signs to enjoy, this is one of those locations that no explanation is necessary. Nature trumps linguistics every time!

Please check out the Giant Green Tea Tree on the map below:

Please click the photos below to enlarge:

Great all year round

Rows and rows of green tea

Manicured perfection

Beautiful scenery

Big Green Tea Tree

It's massive

Close up of tea

The origins of Tea

Gotta love nature

Please click on the videos below to see more about the Green Tea fields in Ureshino, Saga Prefecture.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park- Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture

There is no doubt that the most historical and as a result the most popular location in Hiroshima City is the Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum. These 2 iconic locations always come up first on everyones agenda when planning a trip to Hiroshima, no matter whether you are Japanese or any other nationality from around the world.

It really is a bucket list location that we all must visit at least once in our lives and especially whilst traveling around Japan. In fact, all Japanese school students must visit Hiroshima and or Nagasaki at least once in their school education as mandated by Japanese law. For this reason, whether you are in Nagasaki or Hiroshima it is more than likely that you will encounter at least one school group at the Peace Park or Atomic Bomb Museum.  I have been told numerous times by my clients that it was amazing and beautiful to see the next generations of Japanese youths being educated about the horrors of war and why we should try and attain peace for humanity to thrive.

For me personally, it had been about 6 years between visits to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park but it was just as I had remembered.  The main attractions including the Prayer Fountain, Pond of Peace, Peace Flame, Bell of Peace and of course the main monument the Atomic Bomb Dome which is the most famous and iconic image as a result of these 2 devastating Atomic explosions during WW2.

However, what really delighted me, is to see the park being expanded and many more public spaces being created. The vibe and atmosphere of the area now is very different and the 2 separate parks have definitely improved the overall concept and image of the City.  It is not just a sad and depressing place where contemplation of humanity is fore-front in every visitors minds but an area where vision and a strong, vibrant and positive future can be visualized by everyone. It is for these reasons that you could easily spend 2 or 3 hours just in the parks let alone the Peace Memorial Museum.

Our professional guides will be able to show you all the main sights both on and off the beaten track to leave you fully satisfied at days end.

Please check out the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on the map below:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

The peace fountain

It's a very iconic view

The eternal flame

Always many school children 

A place to contemplate

The peace bell

Lots of info to digest

The atomic dome

Close up

Powerful images are everywhere

So much to see

The symbol of Hiroshima

Entrance to the Museum

A place for all to enjoy

Main entrance

Please check out these videos below to see more of the Hiroshima Peace memorial Park:

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Costco- Fukuoka City

Firstly, just to let you know I am a huge fan of Costco. I have been a member for at least 20 years and there aren't enough superlatives to describe how impressed I am with their level of service, quality and range of products and obviously value for money. In fact, I honestly doubt that I would still be in Japan after all this time if Costco wasn't accessible to me on a regular occasion.

So, if I am an absolute fan, then I have come to the conclusion that others must be in the same boat as myself. Therefore I have decided to make a Costco visit an option on the Private Tours that I perform as Shore Excursions and Day Tours in Fukuoka.

I have had the opportunity to visit quite a few Costco's around the world and always been intrigued about the differences and range of local products to choose from.  Obviously here in Japan, we have many unique and interesting products like Wagyu and Sushi but also there is an opportunity to buy quite a few products to take home with you to make excellent presents for relatives and friends.

On one of the last tours I did, my client wanted to pop in and have a quick look. So, we had a nice quick walk around the store and picked up some snacks, a traditional Japanese cake as well as some of the best instant ramen that you will ever have. I am sure you will find aomething to your liking if you decide to visit Costco on your private tour.

Please check out the Fukuoka Costco here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Wagyu galore

Selection of sushi is amazing

Checking out the snacks

A fun experience indeed!

A few presents for family and friends

Please click on the videos below to see more about Costco in Fukuoka: