Sunday, February 19, 2017

Akita Furusatomura

One of our friends living in Akita City will be leaving Japan soon. He is an Indian working on a time-limited research project at Akita University in Akita City. Hubby and I met him and his family for the first time in 2014 and we were very happy to meet an Indian family in faraway northern Japan where foreigners are still a rare sight. His family left for India before the winter season probably to avoid the severe cold of Akita. On 11th February, hubby and I hosted a farewell dinner for him at a Nepalese restaurant named Namaste located in Akita City. The restaurant serves Indian as well as Nepalese food. We invited another Indian couple also. We all enjoyed having various kinds of Indian dishes for dinner and it was fun recalling the nice time we had over the last couple of years. We wish him good luck and best wishes for his future endeavors.
Our friend (middle) soon to leave Japan

We all having dinner at a Nepalese restaurant

While having dinner, I remembered about hubby and my trip to a sightseeing place called Akita Furusatomura with our Indian friend who is leaving Japan. It was way back in July 2016, and his wife and young son also had accompanied us. I had completely forgotten about that trip and therefore thought about writing a blog post about Akita Furusatomura today. Akita Furusatomura is located in Yokote City of Akita prefecture. It is an amusement theme park where we can play and learn. The park has various facilities like the Akita Museum of Modern Art, the Wonder Castle, a planetarium, and an exhibition and demonstration of traditional handicrafts facility. In the theme park, we especially focused our visit to the Wonder Castle, which features trick art and indoor playground fun for kids.

On the morning of 16th July 2016, hubby and I first went to Akita City by our car where we picked up our Indian friend and his family and then went to Akita Furusatomura in Yokote City. Akita Furusatomura is located about 75 kilometers southeast of Akita City and is situated near the Yokote junction of the Akita expressway. It took us about 1.25 hours of car ride to reach Akita Furusatomura. We parked our car at a parking lot located outside the theme park. On entering inside the theme park, first we took a ride on a bright red colored train type bus named Choo Choo train. It is very popular with kids and we thought that our friend’s son would like it. We bought 4 tickets each worth 410 Yen for the adults and another ticket worth 200 Yen for the kid for the bus-train ride. When the bus-train started moving we felt the pleasant breeze and enjoyed the short journey inside the theme park. As the bus-train moved along the route, adults as well as children became curious and started wondering out loud about various buildings, play area for kids, and many statues along the way. Fortunately a train guide announced the salient features of each facility in an easy-to-understand manner. It was a fun ride.
Hubby fastening the seatbelt of the son of our Indian friend before starting on our car ride to Akita Furusatomura

Our friend’s wife and son inside Choo Choo train at Akita Furusatomura

I am enjoying the Choo Choo train ride

Next, we went to Akita Museum of Modern Art but decided not go inside the museum building as we thought that the 3-year-old kid will not find it interesting. So we all strolled outside the museum building for quiet some time. It was a cloudy day but we enjoyed the walk surrounded by many huge outdoor statues. I found three statues to be very interesting. One of them was named Koeyoshidori, which is a long-crowing chicken breed of Akita prefecture and is designated as a national treasure of Japan. The statue was sculpted by Aikawa Zenichiro in 1952. It is 1.1 meters high and looks majestic and cheerful. The second statue was named Daichi no Kodo which was sculpted by Ando Izumi in 1993. It is a statue of a huge mammoth and measures 3.5 meters high. This statue was constructed using forged copper plates by hammering them several thousands of times. The third set of statues was named Inu mo Arukeba. This set of statues was sculpted by Yabuuchi Satoshi in 1993. All the statues in this set are 79 centimeters high and is a playful work with the motif of Akita dogs. This set of statues has a sense of continuity as if a dog is walking. Children as well as adults enjoy riding them. We enjoyed taking a stroll outside the museum building and took several photos of us with a few of the statues.
We all are strolling outside the museum building in Akita Furusatomura

Hubby, our friend and his son enjoying a walk

Hubby and our friend’s son enjoying a walk

Statue of Koeyoshidori as viewed from two different angles

Our friend and his family standing in front of the statue of a huge mammoth

Hubby and I standing in front of the mammoth

We all enjoyed riding the statues of Akita dogs

Hubby sitting on a statue of Akita dog and clicking photos

Afterwards we temporarily left Akita Furusatomura premises to have lunch at a Nepalese restaurant located about 8 kilometers south of the Furusatomura. The restaurant serves Indian as well as Nepalese food. We enjoyed having various kinds of Indian dishes. Hubby especially loved having cheese Naan which came with his set menu. We were quite full and satisfied with the lunch. After lunch, we returned to Akita Furusatomura and entered the local handicrafts, food, and gift shops. It was nice to look at all the handicrafts but we did not buy anything. In addition, we skipped visiting the planetarium as there was not enough time to visit all the facilities of Akita Furusatomura that day itself.
My lunch that I had at a Nepalese restaurant located in Yokote City

Hubby’s lunch set

Hubby enjoying having Cheese Naan

Our friend and his family enjoying lunch

I am standing with our friend’s wife and son inside the local handicrafts, food, and gift shop at Akita Furusatomura

Next we visited Wonder Castle building located inside Akita Furusatomura premises. Wonder Castle has an exhibition of illusion type pictures and a lot of trick arts. This place is ideal for kids as well as families. At the first floor entrance area of the building, we bought tickets worth 520 Yen for the adults and it was free for the kid. First we went to the fourth floor of the building and enjoyed being inside the Mirror Room and the Giant’s Room. Next, we saw a wonderful trick art area named ‘The World above the Clouds’ where we enjoyed ‘balancing’ ourselves while coming out of a castle located amongst the clouds. We also enjoyed flying like a bird amongst the clouds in this area. Then we went inside the Slanting Room also located on the fourth floor. It is a gravity hill type distorted room that is used to create tilt-induced visual illusion. We really loved this room where the rules of gravity did not seem to apply as we expect them to. Once we stepped inside this room, we felt as if we had abandoned all sensations of balance, proprioception, and general physical stability. Thanks to the architectural trickery, it felt as if we could tilt our bodies unrealistically in this room. We loved being in this room and it is no wonder that the Slanting Room is the most popular corner of the Wonder Castle. Afterwards we went to the third floor of the building where more trick arts and optical illusions were present. We enjoyed tightrope walking, cage for human, pulling a portable Mikoshi Shrine, and Ames Room at this floor. I loved the optical illusion of the Ames Room very much where hubby standing in one corner of the room appeared to be a giant while I standing in the other corner appeared to be a dwarf to the our friend photographer standing outside the room. The illusion was so convincing that hubby walking back and forth from the left corner to the right corner appeared to grow or shrink. It was really impressive optical illusion. At this point, the exhibition of various trick arts and optical illusions were over. We adults enjoyed looking at various trick arts and loved the place more than the kid. I guess we adults are still kids at heart!
Our friend’s wife and I inside the Mirror Room

I am standing inside the Giant’s Room

We are the food for the Giant

We are ‘balancing’ ourselves while coming out of a castle located amongst the clouds

I am flying amongst the clouds

Wondering how hubby can tilt his body so much inside the Slanting Room

Well, I can tilt my body too

I am a tightrope walker

I am inside a cage for human

I am pulling a Mikoshi Shrine

Hubby is a giant and I am a dwarf inside Ames Room

Our friend and his family inside Ames Room

Afterwards we returned to the first floor inside the Wonder Castle building where we saw a giant ball pool. Our friend’s kid became very excited seeing the ball pool filled with colorful balls. The kid, his mother, and I had so much fun playing in the ball pool. We spent about 40 minutes at the ball pool. The amusement park closes at 5 pm and so the kid very reluctantly left the ball pool area where he seemed to have maximum fun.
I am playing in the ball pool

I am playing with the kid in the ball pool

The kid, his mother, and I having fun in the ball pool

Tired hubby and our friend taking rest while we played in the ball pool

We all had a nice time at Akita Furusatomura and left the premises at about 5 pm. We then took our friends back to their home in Akita City. It was about 7.30 pm when we returned to our home in Yurihonjo City. It was a fun filled outing with friends.


Kokila Gupta said...

Great account!

Jyotirmoy Sarkar said...

Interesting places ....enjoyed reading.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Kokila Gupta for your comment.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Jyotirmoy Sarkar for reading and commenting :).