Oct 17, 2010

Weekend Getaway at Toi

Thanks to Serene, I had a wonderful tour guide cum ryokan-like hospitality at 土肥 Toi. :D

It is always nice to meet up with friends and have some Singaporean therapy. Who else to practise Singlish with, right?

My weekend getaway was really short and rushed though, as I only stayed 2 days, 1 night there. Nevertheless, we managed to pack all itineraries in.

Disclaimer: Toi is famous for their onsens!! There are so many ryokans to choose from. And most are along the seaside, you get wonderful views! But... I couldn't go to an onsen during my trip :( That is my greatest regret in Toi for that trip. Please try the onsens and let me know how are they!

Makan! Must try- Tokoroten

This is a specialty in Toi- Tokoroten. It's a must try! They are like jelly, which you can add various toppings like peanut-like powder, black sugar syrup, honey, milk, etc. There are many flavours of Tokoroten, such as original, matcha, coffee, etc. And the shop I went to, even listed which toppings to go with which flavour. They are yummilicious!

And of course, you must try the seafood here. Fish! All very fresh, since Toi is just next to the sea. For people like me, we have to travel to Lake Hamanako to take a look at the waters. And it's a lake, not sea. :(

Ferry ride at Dogoshima

View the wonderful rork formations at 里堂ヶ島 Dogoshima. The ferry ride costs 1100yen, and it takes us into one of the sea caves as well.

For all seeking love and eternal bliss

Yup, we went to Lovers Cape 恋人岬 (Koibito Misaki), which is one of the tourist attractions in Toi. There were many couples despite the rainy weather. We are probably one of the rare non-couples to visit. LOL.

I've just researched and read the story behind the Lovers Cape.

It's a story between 2 sweet lovers who lived very far away from each other. Both of them had very old parents and they were the sole breadwinners of the family. Once they met at a morning market and since fell in love with each other. However, as they lived far away, the boy had to walked for 1 day just to reach the girl's village. And as the walk is quite treacherous, naturally his parents objected to him visiting her.

The girl would pray at the shrine and wished that she can be married to the boy, and be together forever. She would visit the shrine every day, rain or shine. The god was touched by her efforts and gave her 2 bells, saying that it can test how the boy felt towards her as well.

The girl gave one of the bells to the boy. He fixed the bell on his fishing boat. When he was out fishing, the girl would watch out for him from the cape (now known as the Lovers' Cape). When he was making a very dangerous turns away from mountains and rocks, she would ring the bell thrice. And the bell on his boat will respond by ringing thrice as well. In the end, he successfully maneuvered back home despite the foggy weather and choppy waves.

The villagers were touched by their story and started to help them. With their help, they managed to be married and lived happily ever after.

Mmm.. but wikipedia offered another version, though. It briefly mentioned that it is a story about a couple who jumped from the cliffs to be together forever.

I wished to believe in the earlier story though, as it's a happy ending.

Sunset view is supposed to be really great from Lovers Cape, but yes, unfortunately due to the weather, I couldn't see any sunset. :( It was just cloudy and gloomy.

The messages left behind by many lovey dovey couples.

Here's how to ring the bells:
1. Ring once to clear your heart.
2. Ring twice to call out to your love.
3. Ring thrice to be together forever with your love.

My first try, ended with a whooping 10 times! =_="

Remember to stop the bell after your decided number of rings. If you let it run loose, it will continue for eternity as well... depending on your strength. LOL.

Yeah.. the official ring... for 2! Yes... my love, please enter my life soon. LOL.


Here are some sneaks I caught from the Toi Matsuri:

It was raining on the first day, hence all performances were held at a community theatre. Here's where I fell and had suffered a fracture.

The procession, complete with samurai, hime-sama, and shogun!

Cosplayers included too!

Foot & Hand Onsen... Shiok!

I had to settle for foot and hand onsen, as I couldn't go to an onsen. :(

But the foot and hand onsen were great! The foot onsen's temperature was just nice. Very comfortable. The hand onsen's temperature was really hot, so be careful.

The onsens are near the Flower Clock (花時計 Hana Tokei), the largest flower clock in the Guinness Book of Records.

Flower Clock

Crazy shopping at Gotemba

Day 2- Shopping at Gotemba 御殿場 outlet malls. That was my first time at Gotenba. Seriously, I felt like I was in a theme park. A shopping theme park. Parking can be really tough, on a sale day like that day. We saw long queues of cars all the way on the road to Gotemba?! They are mostly cars from other prefectures, like Tokyo, etc. Hence, on the way, we got to see many expensive cars like Ferrari.

There are free bus services from carparks (further from Gotemba outlet malls, hence more likely to find lots to park as well) to the outlet malls. Just remember the bus number you take. It corresponds to your carpark number, so that you can take the same bus back to your carpark. The buses have a special lane for them, and the frequency is really high, so do try this option, instead of joining the long car queue.

We were there for a day, but I only managed to cover half of Gotemba, and of course ended up really poor. I never buy any branded goods before, and on this trip I easily bought 2, 3 items.. Gosh... Gotemba sales change a person. The sales were so good! Some as low as 80% discount! How to resist... LOL...

Luckily, I live far far from the 'scary' place.

Yup, so that's how I spent my 2 very tightly-packed days at Toi. Getting to Toi by itself is quite an expensive experience too. I spent about 6000+yen on one way, which included my Shikansen ride, train ride and a bus ride.

Nevertheless, I had fun. :)

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