Day 6: Nagoya’s Garden of Lights
Since the previous 4 days were pretty crazy, we slept in today and took it easy. The plan for today was basically to get ourselves to Nagoya before nightfall, drop off our luggage at the hotel and then head over to Nabana no Sato. Checking out of the hotel occured at the 10am so we left our luggage there and took one last walk around Shinsaibashi and Namba. As we’d been here quite a number of times, we tried searching for Amerikamura but our gmap location seemed to be wrong and we ended up strolling through various shopping alleys.
Shortly after, we returned to pick up our luggage and made our way to Shin-Osaka Train Station and took the shinkansen to Nagoya.
To our surprise, the landscape turned white just 30mins into the train ride. It had snowed sometime last night in the countryside between Osaka and Nagoya. Sadly, there was no snow in Nagoya itself.
Our next hotel was situated just 5 minutes away from Nagoya Train Station which was mighty convenient, with all of tomorrow’s destinations only 1 to 3 stops away, and the bus to Nabana no Sato departing from Meitetsu Bus Centre next to said train station. We spotted the Hal Mode Ise, a famous spiral building. The rest of daylight was spent exploring the surroundings and just doing some simple shopping at places like Bic Camera. The pachinko scene seemed to be quite heavy here in Nagoya.
At around 5pm, we went in search of the bus that would take us to Nabana no Sato. This was only one of several ways to get to our destination but it was the most convenient and hassle-free as it involved simple getting on the bus at Meitetsu Bus Centre and then getting off at the place. To my dismay, it was couples’ day yet again and we had to swim through dense crowds to get our tickets for entry. The price for tickets turned out to be more expensive than I thought it would be but it included coupons to be used as money for food and drink inside.
My prior research told me that Nabana no Sato was a garden associated with the nearby themepark called SpaLand and every winter, it would be decorated with lights but nothing would have prepared me for what was set up.
One of the first things we saw was a grid of flowerbeds sparkling with lights. Arches had been set up for people to walk through and there were cones of lights that transitioned between 3 colours. It was quite an experience to walk along the pathways with lights all around. There was some crazy shouting nearby so we took a peek.
Further along was a church-type building that was lit up with gradually transitioning colours, similar to the cones from the flower beds. A cheesy love love thing was set up in front of it for couples to pose and take photos with. This seems to be a staple at even the least romantic places.
By this time, we had started to become hungry and so we searched for a place to have dinner. We eventually settled on a rather popular Katsudon establishment and had to wait for some time before being ushered to a table. Naturally, I ordered one of the Katsudon sets which turned out to be quite a large portion. A big slab of katsu and free-flow of salad would satisfy even the hungriest of men and I developed a new appreciation for salad. It was quite simple yet very delicious – chopped cabbage with a sesame mayo dressing.
Filled up and warm, we stepped outside to brave the cold yet again and continued our trek through the garden.
I wasn’t sure what was awaiting on the other end of the lit walkway but it blew my breath away once I saw it.
This display was vast, spanning across a huge field as far as the eye could see. There was grand music playing and the lights in the field transitioned in colours while the lights on the tree would change and flash as part of a show, sometimes blooming like fireworks. We stayed here for a while before deciding to move on so as not to miss the last bus back to Nagoya Bus Terminal.
Things learnt today:
- Doublecheck your destinations with a guidebook if possible, just in case.
- Go to Nabana no Sato in winter. You will not regret it.
- It’s couples’ day everyday.
- Nabana no Sato is BIG. Don’t waste too much time in one section.
- If you’re an avid photographer, don’t forget your tripod.