Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Golden week holidays

Golden week is a Japanese term applied to a collection of four national holidays from end of April through May 5th. The golden week is one of Japan’s three busiest holiday seasons, besides New Year and Obon week. The national holidays that make up the golden week are April 29 (Showa Day), May 3 (Constitution Day), May 4 (Greenery Day), and May 5 (Children’s Day). My hubby’s office was closed on April 30, May 01, and May 02 also. In combination with well placed weekends and an additional holiday on May 06th, this year we got 10 days holidays.

This year during the golden week holidays, we went to our new home in Ichinomiya City of Aichi prefecture. On 27th April, the first day of the long holiday, we were busy packing several things that we wished to take to our new home. On 28th April, we loaded our luggage in our car and left home in Yurihonjo City at about 9 am. While driving we saw many beautiful scenic landscapes along the way. We had decided to stay at Kanazawa City in Ishikawa prefecture for the night. Kanazawa City is located about 530 kilometers southwest of our Yurihonjo home and it took us almost 9 hours of car ride to reach Kanazawa.
A snow covered mountain in Yamagata prefecture

On 29th April, we left the hotel in Kanazawa City early in the morning and went to see Kenrokuen Garden near the hotel. After enjoying viewing the garden for almost 2 hours we continued our car ride to Ichinomiya City. Ichinomiya is located about 220 kilometers south of Kanazawa City and we had a long drive ahead of us. On our way, on Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway, we saw mind refreshing picturesque spots in the mountainous regions. After almost 4 hours of car ride we reached our home in Ichinomiya at about 4 pm. Hubby was rather tired due to driving for such a long time, and so he took rest for some time. Afterwards, we went to see a baseball game at Nagoya Dome. It was fun to watch a baseball game at a stadium. It was almost 11.30 pm when we returned back home.
Hubby inside Kenrokuen Garden

I am inside Kenrokuen Garden

Picturesque mountains as seen from a rest area on Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway somewhere near Shirakawamura Village in Gifu prefecture

The mountains

Hubby standing at the rest area

The mountains and I

Hubby driving his car

Nagoya Dome

Hubby inside Nagoya Dome Stadium

On 30th April and 1st May, hubby and I went shopping and purchased furniture, kitchen utensils, and several gadgets for our new home. On 2nd May, we just relaxed at home as we were tired of driving around and all the shopping we did in the past two days. It was the first day that I cooked lunch at our new home. It was a simple lunch of Karaage, Miso soup, salad, and rice. We enjoyed our lunch. In the evening hubby’s sister and her two daughters visited us. We had fun playing with the kids.
Hubby relaxing on our new sofa

Kitchen cabinet

Hubby having lunch at our new home

My younger niece sitting in front of the dressing table mirror and combing her hair

A compiled video of my younger niece in front of the dressing table

On 3rd May, hubby went to play golf with his father and a few other relatives. I preferred to stay at home and relaxed all day. In the evening, hubby and I had dinner with several relatives at a Yakiniku restaurant. We were all hungry and ordered a lot of food items. We had Yakiniku, salad, soup, rice, and dessert. We cooked bite-sized beef and offal over a gas grill. We grilled several kinds of beef meat like Rosu, Karubi, Harami, Tan, Horumon (check here for details) etc. The dinner was very filling and satisfying. We all had fun chatting and catching up with others.
Yakiniku meat

Grilling Yakiniku meat

Hubby’s uncle, father, and father’s wife having Yakiniku

Hubby eating Yakiniku and chatting

On 4th May, we had a simple breakfast of Onigiri and Natto. At about 11 am, we started back on our journey to Akita. During our return trip, my father-in-law and his wife also accompanied us as they wished to do sightseeing in the Kanto region in the evening and the next day. We all drove up to Yokohama City in Kanagawa prefecture by our car. Yokohama City is located about 380 kilometers east of Ichinomiya City, and so we packed a lot of snacks and cold drinks and prepared ourselves for the long drive ahead. On our way, we had lunch at a rest area somewhere on Shin-Tomei Expressway. It took us almost 6.5 hours of car ride to reach Yokohama due to heavy traffic. We dropped my father-in-law and his wife off at a hotel in the city and then continued our ride up to Chiba City in Chiba prefecture. Chiba City is located about 80 kilometers northeast of Yokohama and it took us another 1.5 hours of car ride to reach Chiba. During the car ride, we saw two important and famous bridges named Yokohama Bay Bridge and Tsurumi Tsubasa Bridge, both of which cross Port of Yokohama. It was almost 8 pm when we reached Chiba City where we stayed at a hotel that night.
Hubby having breakfast at home

Hubby eating Onigiri and Natto for breakfast

Hubby eating softcream at a rest area somewhere on Shin-Tomei Expressway

Yokohama Bay Bridge

Tsurumi Tsubasa Bridge

On 5th May, after breakfast we left the hotel in Chiba City and visited Umihotaru on Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line is a highway that is a bridge-tunnel combination across Tokyo Bay. It is located about 50 kilometers southwest of the hotel in Chiba City where we had stayed the previous night and it took us about 45 minutes of car ride to reach the bay area. At the bridge-tunnel crossover point, there is an artificial island called Umihotaru with a rest area consisting of restaurants, shops, and amusement facilities. We spend about an hour at Umihotaru rest area and enjoyed the views of Tokyo Bay. Next, we visited Aizuwakamatsu Castle in Fukushima prefecture. The castle is located about 380 kilometers north of Umihotaru rest area and it took us about 5.5 hours of car ride to reach the castle. During the car ride we saw many interesting monuments and buildings like a pedestrian bridge named Dream Bridge and a Ferris wheel at the artificial island Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, Asahi Beer Hall Building and Tokyo Skytree Tower in Sumida Ward in Tokyo, and a wonderful scenic mountain called Mount Bandai in Fukushima prefecture. We reached Aizuwakamatsu Castle located in Aizuwakamatsu City at about 3 pm, and enjoyed viewing the castle for about two hours. At about 5.30 pm, we left the castle area and started on our way to Yurihonjo City. Yurihonjo is located about 330 kilometers north of Aizuwakamatsu City and it took us another 6 hours of car ride to reach home. Hubby was very tired due to driving for such a long time and immediately retired to bed.
Hubby getting ready for the day

Umihotaru rest area on Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line

Hubby at Umihotaru rest area

Odaiba Dream Bridge and Ferris wheel

Asahi Beer Hall Building and Tokyo Skytree Tower

Tokyo Skytree Tower

Mount Bandai

Aizuwakamatsu Castle

Hubby tired due to driving a long distance

A beautiful view of the sun setting at dusk

On 6th May, we took rest at Yurihonjo home and spend almost the entire day sleeping. This year, the golden week holidays were a bit hectic for us but we enjoyed the stay at our new home in Ichinomiya City. We also loved visiting several sightseeing spots during the holidays. In the next several posts, I will write in details about all these sightseeing spots that we visited.