Autumn leaves for FavFotoFriday

This is part of  Sandy (of Scribbles and Musings) #FavFotoFriday challenge. I am not a photographer, nor am I aspiring to be one. I just like taking photos. 🙂

The #FavFotoFriday is a WordPress Daily Post approved challenge. It’s simple; pick a favourite photo you took in the last week, share it, pingback to Sandy and use the tag.

I knew when I was taking this photo that it would be my favourite photo for this week.  It was taken yesterday, Thursday morning Japan time, when we broke up a cycle at a playground on temple grounds. The leaves are starting to change colour, everything looks so beautiful in Autumnal colours.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere – are you seeing any changes in the trees at the moment? Please do comment, if you have the time.

Thanks for joining in our Friday fun.

Autumn leaves in Saitama

Crunching colourful leaves at a Shinto Shrine

Saitama is abundant with free playgrounds. You can find them in the most random of places. Some are huge play jungles with elaborate equipment and others are small minimalist nooks with basic equipment. On our cycle today, we found the latter.

A lot of shrines and temples in rural Saitama have some sort of community facility attached to them. The one we visited today, has both a community centre and a playground. The community centre is locked up, as this type normally are, and only opened for special occasions. It is probably used mostly for the local summer festival.  I often think its such a waste, that it would be great, if they could be used more openly. The playgrounds at shrines and temples, thankfully, tend to be open 24 hours as they have no gated fences around them.

Today, the trees greeted us with the first hints of the splendidness that is to come with the changing of the leaf colours. There were also more leaves carpeting the ground than I had expected. The kids delighted (and I’ll ‘fess up; I did too) in crunching through the green, red and orange leaves decorating the sacred grounds.  It’s been a while since I did a snippet of life type post, so to speak, and with the trees so beautiful today, I was inspired to share!

The Autumn leaves in Japan are absolutely magnificent. 紅葉 ・kouyou Autumn leaves are tracked, reported on and celebrated up and down the country. I never truly appreciated the beauty of Autumn colours, until I had spent a couple of Autumns experiencing their beauty here in Japan.  Have you any recommendations of places to enjoy the splendid colours of Autumn? Please do share in the comments below.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share or comment. 🙂

Tokyo Commuter passes

I’m trying out a little feature on my blog, called Tokyo Thursday. As you might guess from the title, I will share something from Tokyo on this day. Timed nicely for my best friend’s sato-gaeri (return visit) to Japan in the coming months.   In case you missed it, last week’s Tokyo Thursday shared information on FREE tourist buses in Tokyo.

I am also using this feature to explore ways of showing Google+ content. As you may or may not know, I am an official Google Local Guide, Level 4 (that’s the top one, yeah me), and I share information with communities on Google+. Recently, I have been using Google Collections, which came out earlier this year, to share online information. Which brings me to this week’s post…

Commuter Passes for Tokyo. There are so many of them, it’s hard not to get confused. I have tried to share some of the more valuable and useful ones on the Google collection shared below. I am also copying in each post, below the collection link, if you’d prefer to read them here rather than on Google+.  🙂 Happy commuting!

https://plus.google.com/collection/sLdvFB

Yorii Autumn Festival

This weekend Yorii town is celebrating a 2 day Autumn festival. The festival is held every year on the 1st Sunday of November and its proceeding Saturday, which this year happens to fall on October 31st.


It starts at 3.30pm on Saturday the 31st with 7 floats of lanterns accompanied with Japanese traditional festival music played on whistles and taiko drums. The following day, Sunday the 1st of November, the floats will also parade through town and try to outdo each other in their music performances. Sunday celebrations start from 11am.

I found this video online from 2010. (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to this youtube account).

Yorii is a small rural town, but is easily accessible from the Kanetsu highway.  It is home to the Saitama Museum of Rivers, but is probably better known for its “Le Petit Prince” themed parking area.

End

Source: 寄居秋まつり – 寄居町公式ホームページ Yorii Autumn Festival – Yorii Town Official page

Winter Illumination at Tobu Zoo

Every year Tobu Zoo puts on a fantastic night illumination show for the winter months. This year, 2015, it starts on the 31st of October and will run until the 14th of February. The park uses smoke, light and music to add to the ambience of the night illumination.

Kids can enjoy animals made out of flowers and/or light, snowmen and winter scenes. Couples can walk in a tunnel of love, “Love Lock”, built especially for the occsassion, and take in the romantic atmosphere of the park lit up at night.

It opens 5pm to 8pm daily from the 31st of October. On December 23rd, 24th and 25th the closing hour is extended until 9pm. The cost is 700 yen per adult,  children from 3 years old up to end of primary school cost 500 yen.  Parking costs 1,000 yen, flat rate regarding length of stay.

More information in Japanese on their official website: http://www.tobuzoo.com/facilities/illumination/

Special Tomica ・ Plarail Event

Benibana Walk in Okegawa have a special 2 day event this weekend that will be a hit with small children. On the ground floor in the centre court they are hosting an “all-you-can-play” (translated from Japanese 遊び放題) Tomica and Plarail play area that is FREE for kids. In conjunction with this fun event, Apita are offering 20% of all Tomica and plarail toys during the hours of the play area. The opening hours are 11am to 6pm on Saturday the 31st and 10am to 6pm on Sunday November 1st.

トミカ・プラレールの巨大ジオラマがやってくる!最新のおもちゃが遊び放題!すべて“無料”で楽しめるベニバナウォーク桶川の特別イベント♪ 【スペシャル企画】イベント期間中、アピタ桶川店のおもちゃ売り場のトミカとプラレール商品が、レジにて20%OFF ※「トミカ」「プラレール」は株式会社タカラトミーの登録商標です。※写真はイメージです。実際のジオラマとは異なります。

Source: イベント情報 | ベニバナウォーク桶川

Halloween costume contest with prizes, in Kitamoto

The Kitamoto Higashi Chuo Stores and Commerce and industry associations bring you an Halloween costume contest with a top prize worth winning; 2 tickets to a theme park in Uruyasu (Disney I would guess). The runner up prize is equally tantalising; a 10,000 yen voucher for JTB. Contest entry is free, but limited to the 1st one hundred entries.

Apart from the contest there is parade and trick or treating. All takes place just outside the east side of Kitamoto station along the main thoroughfare. It starts at 10am and will finish around 3pm. It sounds like a fun day out for a family.

The phone number for queries about the contest, Japanese only, is 048-593-7576.  More information is on a tourist page for Kitamoto, in Japanese: http://www.city.kitamoto.saitama.jp/kanko/oshirase/1433238745160.html

商店会

Source: 100円商店街(ハロウィン仮装コンテスト&ハロウィンアート作品展示)/北本市

Halloween Parade at COCOON CITY Saitama-Shintoshin

This Saturday there is a fancy dress costume parade in Cocoon City, Saitama Shintoshin. Parents and children in costume can participate, but you need to registar on the day from 10am to get a participation pass. There are four parades scheduled; 11am, midday, 1pm and 2pm. Each is expected to last 45 minutes. Reception and the gathering point is at Cocoon 1, Cocoon plaza. NO STROLLERS policy. Participants will receive treats.

There are other Halloween events planned that day such as a Trick or Treat campaign, Halloween photo and a live performance for the finale at 4pm. Information is available on their website in Japanese.

Cocoon city access:

https://goo.gl/maps/zgytapvehr92

4.24[金]グランドオープン!エリア最大級のショッピング空間。訪れるたびに、驚きがある街「コクーンシティ」がはじまっています。

Source: イベント&ニュース|コクーンシティ[COCOON CITY Saitama-Shintoshin]

Koedo Kurari Character Festival Halloween event

This Saturday from 11am there is a “character festival” in Kawagoe Kurari, a small shopping area with food and souvenirs housed in three former sake breweries.  You can meet mascots and characters from the Kawagoe area, including Kawagoe city’s main mascot Tokimo, a sweet potato clock. There will be an opportunity to get your photo taken with the mascot.

Children who come in Halloween Costume will receive candy. There are other events and surprises planned for the day. It runs until 4pm. It will not take place, if it is raining.

Kawagoe Kurari is in walking distance of Hon Kawagoe and Kawagoe station. Their website (Japanese only) is http://www.machikawa.co.jp/  This event hosts information on a facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/小江戸蔵里キャラクター祭り-Reborn-346947485490475/photos/


We recently met Tokimo at another event:Meeting Tokimo

Seibu Amusement Park Winter Illumination

This year Seibu Yuuenchi is in the top four largest winter illuminations list for the Greater Tokyo area.  Around 3,000,000 lights are used for this year’s ensemble, even the merry-go-round is lit up with 12 different colours. The illumination display opened just yesterday in the Tokorozawa based amusement park, only 30 minutes from Tokyo. You can view a sneak peek on this video ↓

This year’s illumination is a collaboration with Sachiko Kobayashi, who is a famous Japanese style singer, some call the Queen of Enka. ↓

The illumination begins daily at 17.15 until mid-January when the time changes to 17.30. The display is running until the 10th of April 2016. It costs 900 yen per adult on a weekday and 1,100 yen on the weekend and special dates. Children aged 3 to 12 are 500 yen. Children under 3 are free.   (More details in Japanese on their offical webpage, see below ).

Address: 2964 Yamaguchi, Tokorozawa, Saitama
Phone: 04-2922-1371
URL: http://www.seibuen-yuuenchi.jp/illumi-ju/index.html

Access:  Train: Minutes walk from Seibu Yuuenchi station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.  Car: 10 kilometres from the Iruma Interchange of the Ken-o highway.

 

 

西武園ゆうえんち「イルミージュ(イルミネーション)」についてのご案内。都内近郊のお子さまと一緒に遊べるゆうえんちは西武園ゆうえんちへ、春は桜!、夏はプールと花火・ビアガーデン! 冬は雪の王国やフィッシングランド!さまざまなイベントをご用意してお待ちしております。Roughly translated: Information about Seibu Amusement Park Illuminage (Illumination) . Summer there is  pool, fireworks and a beer garden, Spring there is cherrry blossom; all within the suburbs. We have lots of events waiting for you.

Source: イルミージュ(イルミネーション) | 西武園ゆうえんち