Monday, 1 January 2018

Mishima Sky Walk

Kicoro Forest

On the way back from Izu Hokkawa to Tokyo, instead of taking the coastal road, we went inland to check out the Mishima Sky Walk, the longest pedestrian only bridge in Japan boasting a view of the tallest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji, and deepest sea, Suruga Bay. From there it’s about 1.5 hours to Tokyo. You could probably do a stopover on the way to or from Hakone. Although there were some clouds covering Fujisan, we still enjoyed ourselves.

We first checked out the Sky Garden with beautiful flower pots hanging from the ceiling. I love how they added mirrors on all sides so the small space looks very open and spacious. There were some interesting gardening stuff on sale and you can even make your own terratarium. You can get snacks, drinks and souvenirs here.

After crossing the 400m bridge, we reach the other side and walked through a windmill tunnel to enter Kicoro forest in search of the adorable little round wooden figures.

The flower drop is something I found very interesting. For ¥200, you can pick a wooden card with a seed and throw it off the bridge (with a wish). The seed will supposedly germinate and flowers will bloom. Incidentally, I picked one with my Chinese name!

Izu: Pottery experience, Antique cup museum and cafe, Capybara rotenburo, Mount Omuro, Dog cafe

Izu Shaboten Park: Capybara Rotenburo

We stayed at Bousui Ryokan which I wrote about here. On our second day, we drove out about 20 min from the ryokan and visited these places which are clustered around the same area.

Pottery-Making Experience
On the second day, we got the ryokan to make a reservation at えんのかま En no Kama for a pottery-making experience. The instructors speak only Japanese and they were very patient even though I kept making mistakes. I selected the JPY3000 course for making two pieces and it took about an hour. They were able to ship it to Singapore for a small fee of JPY2400 after drying and baking it in the kiln.

Shop name: えんのかま En no kama
Address: 静岡県伊東市富戸 1317-1053
Contact: 0557-51-8069 (+81-557-51-8069)
Parking lots: 7
Open every day 0930 - 1630 hrs (last appointment 1600 hrs)

Courses available (prices stated in JPY, tax and delivery charges not included):
Electric spinning wheel (1 hour): 3000 for 2 items
Hand-spun (2 hours): 2000 for 2 items
Painting or pastel colurs (45 min): 1500
Name Plate (1 hour): 2500
Animal food dish (2 hours): 2500 for S size 135mm, 3000 for M size 160mm, 3500 for L size 195mm. 

They don't seem to have a website so here is a photo of the brochure and more photos of the place and my experience.

Instructor explaining the procedure. He made it look so easy.

Me, trying not to mess up.

Instructor to the rescue

My heart-shaped bowls

Binya Antique Cup Museum and Cafe
We chanced upon a lovely Binya Antique Cup Museum and Cafe (along the same road as the pottery place, like 2 mins drive away) with a wide collection of exquisite tea sets. I also had one of the best Mont Blanc Cake ever. The chestnut cream was light and not too sweet which I absolutely loved.

Mont Blanc

Capybara Rotenburo
A short 5 min drive from the pottery place is Izu Shaboten Zoo. We wanted to visit this place mainly for the capybara rotenburo and we were not disappointed! 

Capybara Rotenburo Timings:
Weekdays: 1330 - 1430
Weekends and public holidays: 1030 - 1130, 1330 - 1430.

You may park at the carpark near Mount Omuro lift and take a short walk up or go further up to the carpark near Izu Shaboten Zoo.

Here's a photo of the schedule and type of baths from 18 Nov 2017 to 8 April 2018.

We arrived at the pool 15 mins before the scheduled time and there was already a crowd! Thankfully we managed to still get “front row” standing space. The capybara started appearing when the traditional matsuri-like music played, as though they know it’s time for a bath. When the hot water gushed out, everyone let out a waaahhhh! They were sooooo kawaii! What an unforgettable experience. Here’s the video.

Izu Shaboten Park also has a wide range of cacti
Cute containers for bringing home some cacti

Love 湯! In Japanese, 湯 which is pronounced "yu" means bath. I see what you did there!

I wish I had the luggage space for this cutie
Mount Omuro
Mount Omuro lift was just beside Izu Shaboten Park so we made a quick ascent by ski lift, walked one round to take in the picturesque scenery, including a peek of Fujisan before heading back to the ryokan for onsen. It is a dormant volcano so you can walk along the rim and there is actually archery experience right where the crater used to be. On a good day, you can see Mount Fuji!

Aiken no eki
The next morning after checking out, we stopped by 愛犬の駅 Aiken no eki that seems to be an outlet of the one in Shinjuku. The love Japanese have for their furry companions is evident from the facilities and thoughtful amenities provided. There’s an outdoor dog playground where you can have a footbath while watching your dog, dog wash areas, wet wipes, towels, dog toilets, indoor playground, waiting area for dogs when you need to take a leak etc. It’s just so amazing! We also noticed that this town is very dog-friendly with places allowing your pet dog. In our brochure, there’s a note on places that allow pet dogs.

Thankfully, humans only = OK!

Hats for dogs


Pottery making experience with your best friend

Ingredients for dog pancakes

Menu for dogs

Dog water bowls

Water for dogs

Towels for dogs

Towels for humans

Washing area for dogs

Outdoor playground

Footbath for humans while you watch your best friend running in the playground

Indoor playground

Photo spot

Waiting cubicles for dogs outside human toilets

Because you need to smell fresh for your doggie

Dog toilets
There are actually many more places to explore such as wasabi farms, teddy bear museum, stained glass museum etc but we didn't have time to do so much as we were only in that small area. We will definitely come back to Izu!