Road Trip on Nagoya Railroad (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Nagoya Railroad

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Road Trip on Nagoya Railroad (Part 2)

More local attractions await us as we explore Aichi Prefecture by travelling on Nagoya Railroad’s Nishio/Gamagori lines. Our first day was spent riding on the Nishio Line so we plan to travel on the Gamagori Line the next day. On the second day, after a delicious breakfast buffet at Resort Linux Mikawa Bay, we reserve the hotel’s shuttle bus to take us to the train station at 9.40am. That gives us about an hour to check out Kira Waikiki Beach and other places nearby. At the beach, we chat with some locals who recommend we visit two spots - a senbei rice cracker shop and a dried fish shop run by the Kato family. However, we are unable to find either place and are running out of time so we head back to the hotel to take the shuttle bus to Kira Yoshida Station.

We board the 10am train and travel along the Gamagori Line to our first destination of the day, Nishi Hazu Station. After a five-minute train ride through the scenic landscape, we arrive at the station and look up the timetable. We have an hour till our next train at 11.05am. After speaking to some folks at the station, we decide to walk for 15 minutes to a temple at the foot of Mt. Mikage, where twin statues of famous monk Kobo Daishi are enshrined. This temple used to hold only one Kobo Daishi statue but another one was relocated here from its previous location halfway up the mountain.

We make our way back to Nishi Hazu Station and take the train to Higashi Hazu, which is less than five minutes away. Our train from Higashi Hazu will only leave at 12.40pm. Someone at the station suggests we go to a restaurant called Nakashin Hompo. We head there to try its famous grilled octopus, which is a local favourite. Then we go to another recommended spot, Hazu Kannon Myozenji, which is also called the Pumpkin Temple. It was built in the 8th century. From September to November each year, pumpkins from all over the country are shipped to this temple and a Pumpkin Summit is held. In addition, in winter, people would bring pumpkins to the temple and a contest would be held to see who has the biggest one. The temple has many interesting pumpkin-themed items; we even get to try some pumpkin tea.

After this, we take the train from Higashi Hazu to the next station. After a two-minute ride along Mikawa Bay, the train pulls into Kodomonokuni Station. Our next train will depart at 2.45pm. The local residents tell us we should go to Children's Land, which boasts over 70 theme park attractions and installations. We have to walk up a steep hill for about 20 minutes before reaching the sprawling park which occupies an area large enough to house 22 stadiums. Visitors can go around the park by trolley car. Some of the highlights here include a 130m-long dragon with lots of hoops, resembling a long series of interconnected jungle gym units. There is also a ferris wheel and a giant roller slide, among other things. We spend about 40 minutes at the Children’s Land after which we walk back to Kodomonokuni Station.

Our next stop is Mikawa Kashima, three stations ahead. We have an hour here till we catch the train at 3.55pm. We ask people at the station to recommend a restaurant. They suggest Yamame. For lunch, we order the grilled red bream set and jumbo fried shrimp set.

Before catching the train to Gamagori Station, the final stop on the local line, we talk to residents at Mikawa Kashima. They tell us about a shrine dedicated to Benten on Takeshima, an island. Later, from Gamagori Station, we walk to the Yaotomi Shrine which is within walking distance. We meet the chief priest who tells us the shrine was built in the 12th century and that Takeshima has been designated as a natural monument. Along with Enoshima, Itsukushima and others, it is one of seven Japanese shrines dedicated to Benten.

During this two-day journey on the Nagoya Railroad's Nishio/Gamagori lines, we have discovered 10 tourist attractions recommended by the locals.


Tips:

1) Check out rare twin statues of famous monk Kobo Daishi at a temple at the foot of Mt. Mikage
2) Pumpkin lovers should visit Hazu Kannon Myozenji, which is also called the Pumpkin Temple

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