Miishima, Shizuoka

12 07 2009

I just realized that I haven’t written a post about Japan in a long time, oops.  So today, will be a post about the trip I went on last month.  I went to the town of Mishima in the Shizuoka prefecture.  Note that in the case of Japan, “town” means an urban area of 100,000 people.  From most other countries, that would be a major city.  Anyway, read on from for a small account of my trip.

427There really isn’t a whole lot of reason to head to Mishima besides their unagi don, but I’ll get to that in a bit.  The reason I went in any case was to go see my Japanese friend who lives there :).  The train journey itself was rather interesting, so I’ll explain that too.

In Japan, there is slow rail and the bullet train.  In my case, since I’m poor, I had to use the slow rail, which involved switching between two rail systems, five transfers, and a travel time of 4hr 45.  In contrast, taking the bullet train would take only a little more than an hour.  To compound the problem, there is no coherent overall map.  So you’re stuck with trying to piece together maps from different services.  The map below is the one of the Meitetsu Line.  I had to take the route that I’ve drawn in red.  Riding the express trains, it took me around 1hr 30 minutes.

DSC_2006

I guess the red line isn't very visible

At the last station Toyohashi, I had to switch trains to the JR Tokaido line.  For some reason, there are no maps of the actual Tokaido line, but the trains go very very far.  The Tokaido line runs alongside the ancient rode that used to connect Tokyo to Kyoto, or so I’ve heard.  Along the road there use to be towns which people used to stop at for lodging or food.  It’s no surprise that these old towns have developed into major metropolises and are now major train stations as well.

Toyohashi Station

Toyohashi Station

Thanks to the fact that no train actually runs the entire length of the Tokaido line, I had to switch at the major stops to keep going.  Next stop Hamamatsu.

Hamamatsu

Hamamatsu

Another interchange at Shizuoka, and 5 hours after I departed…. MISHIMA!  The total fare was 4,400 yen.  The bullet train is roughly double, but takes about 1/4 the time.

DSC_2016

What's this? Who told me this was a small town...

Mishima is a city located somewhere in the foothills of mount Fuji.  As a result, many rivers pass by the city which are fed by run off from the top of the mountain.  The town itself celebrates the abundance of water with lots of fountains, parks, and related tourist attractions

First things first, lunch!  I covered the unagi don that was served, but I never mentioned the restaurant.  Arugably the most famous restaurant in Mishima, Sakura-ya!

Sakura-ya, sorry image ninja'ed from somewhere else.  (How befitting of me :P)

Sakura-ya, sorry image ninja'ed from somewhere else. (How befitting of me :P)

Thanks to the ginormous line for the restaurant, you have to sit outside.  However, the restaurant itself is next to a river, so it was actually quite cool.

People actualy use those steps... kind of dangerous

People actualy use those steps... kind of dangerous

A bell where people gather around to chill.

A bell where people gather around to chill.

After about an hour’s wait, we finally had our lunch.  In case you forgot, it was unagi 🙂

UNAGIIIII

UNAGIIIII

There really isn’t all that much to see in the town, but we took a walk anyway.  Along one of the bigger rivers, they setup these catwalks that are only wide enough for one person.  Getting through was a mess of “sumimasen” and “gomenasai”, for excuse me and sorry.  Though my friend, who’s a local had no such problems.

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Whee, depth of field.

Whee, depth of field.

Antique Water pump.

Antique Water pump.

Mishima is quite the multi-faith city with buddist temples, Shinto shrines, and even Christian churches all built close to each other.  Make sure you can tell the difference or else people will get upset.

I believe this is a temple :P  お寺 otera.

I believe this is a temple 😛 お寺 otera.

These doll looking things are what people put up when an infant dies I believe.  Not a good thing to be taking pictures of.  Of course, my friend only kindly informed me of the fact AFTER the picture was taken.

Not a good thing to take a picture of.

Not a good thing to take a picture of.

Next up we have the biggest shrine in Mishima.  Unfortunately, I have forgotten the name.  I’m sure my friend will post here and kindly remind me of it soon though :P.

The approach

The approach

A small temple devoted to a smaller god

A small shrine devoted to a smaller god

The Entrance

The Entrance

Um strange building in the middle of the complex.

Um strange building in the middle of the complex.

Main Temple for those seeking to make a wish

Main Building for those seeking to make a wish

When making a wish, you need to toss in a coin that has a value with a number of 5 in for some reason.  That means you can either toss in 5 yen, 50 yen, or 500 yen.  Obviously, most people are stingy and go for the 5 yen though.  Went through the whole toss coin in, clap clap, bow, make a wish, clap, clap, bow routine, let’s see if my wish comes true :).  There’s also an unspoken rule that animals are not to be obstructed in the proximity of a shrine, was news to me when I first heard it.

Keeping with the theme of water, there are parks set by river banks that make them a great place to spend the time.

Park

Park

Water Fountain

Water Fountain

And finally, there’s cultural center, which is in the town center with a bunch of karaoke places.  An interesting point about the karaoke places for the week I was there.  The K-ON OP and ED were the #1 and #2 most popular karaoke songs in Joysound across Japan.  Vocaloid songs made up the #6-10 spots in the ranking.  The power of otakus in Japan is astounding.

Cultural center on a rainy day.

Cultural center on a rainy day.

Mishima is really a nice place to live and visit to get a taste of a Japanese suburb.  None of the hustle and bustle of the city, but in exchange there isn’t a whole lot to do either :).  Ah well, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Time to wrap it up with three pics I took as I was walking home from my station.

Some station where I had to transfer

Some station where I had to transfer

DSC_2101

Vending machine, um.. pretty lights I guess? :P

Vending machine, um.. pretty lights I guess? 😛

Ah well, That’s it for this trip.  Well then, until next time!  Thanks for reading!

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12 responses

12 07 2009
Devake

why do you ALWAYS have unagi rice?

12 07 2009
Lenners

OMURICE!!! I DEMAND MORE FOOD PICS & JAPAN POSTS!!!

Cool trip though ;D

13 07 2009
Nyarth

@3rd photo from last

Who’s she? =3

15 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

No one in particular, she just fit in with the photo composition I was seeing at the time, so I put her in :P.

13 07 2009
bluemage

Cool trip that you went on! The feeling that Miishima is a more calming, suburban area of Japan emanated through the photos that you took. Pretty lush town too.

13 07 2009
robostrike

I see Junichiro ^_^ in one of the pictures…glad to see he has not changed ^_^
Wow, Miishima is such a tranquil city…so peaceful and quiet ^_^
Wow, piecing together slow train routes…that must have been a lot of work ^_^

13 07 2009
Yuki Phnx

wow, the parks around the riverbanks look so romantic!

and i really want to walk those catwalks! looks like so much fun! =D

15 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

Haha, they actually are more of a hassle than anything, since people sit on the catwalk and make it even narrower than it is already 🙂

19 07 2009
Yuki Phnx

they sit and block people walking by????

mendokusai na

but still looks fun!

17 07 2009
T.I.P.

Nice pictures, I remember stopping by Mishima last year since I wanted to go to Mt. Fuji, but didn’t do squat in the end because it was too cloudy so continued on my way. Luckily I had the JR pass so I just hopped from train to train. ^^

19 07 2009
jun

>A small temple devoted to a smaller god
It is shrine

Name of shrine is Mishima Taisha(三嶋大社)which enshrine Ohoyamatsumi and Kotoshironushi.

19 07 2009
aaroninjapan09

Sorry, I fixed it :(. I even wrote be careful not to mix them up too 😥

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