The surrounding areas of Tokyo offer plenty of choice when it comes to day trips from the capital. Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama all have great places within 60-90 minutes travelling distance and Ibaraki prefecture (particularly Tsukuba city) is actually just 45 minutes from Akihabara. What to do though when you feel you’ve covered much of what those prefectures offer? The answer is Tochigi.
This prefecture is above Saitama and it’s main city Utsunomiya is an easy 100 minutes or so by local train from Ikebukuro. It’s an area I’ve visited increasingly during the last 18 months and another 50 minutes from there is Kuroiso Station which is the gateway to the delights of Nasu. A tiger bus was on hand to whisk people off to some sights but sadly the bus I needed to get to Nasu War Museum was just a regular one.
Nasu is a moderately popular countryside getaway destination for Tokyo residents and the main road Nasu-kaido reminded me of the east coast of Izu in some ways as likewise it was a major road running through it with all kinds of museums, restaurants, cafes, shops and so on at the side of the road. During my 50 minute walk between the war museum and Miroku Daikannon I came across this Santa and Moomin shop. I should say that I was here in October so it was really bizarre to see Christmas stuff.
Not sure what either of the buildings below are but they looked interesting with the first one a popular place and the second one in the middle of nowhere as I walked to Nasu Miroku Daikannon.
It was so nice once I was off the main road and away from all the traffic with just nature as my companion.
The words “hidden gem” are a favourite click-bait line for many bloggers and YouTubers (I’m guilty of using it for the Keio Line series too!) but the next sight really is hidden. Whether it’s a gem depends on your opinion! Somewhere between the golden temple and the main road is an abandoned museum which has been pretty much camouflaged by all the trees and bushes surrounding it.
If I hadn’t been looking for this quirky spot (I enquired at a garden place nearby just minutes before I found it!) then there is no way I would have found this as it’s so easy to just walk by without noticing it.
I should add that this place has very much closed down as the owner was very old. I was still intrigued enough though to risk life and limb by climbing through the overgrowth and under a piece of rope to reach the entrance!
It’s not just masks but lots of tin lids have been used to make robots and other decorations.
Back at the main road I had a bit of time to kill before the next bus back to the station so I walked a short distance up the road to see what the mystical Cheese Garden was all about. My images of it being a Hansel & Gretel-like wonderland were soon discarded from my mind as I discovered (quite inevitably!) that it was just a souvenir shop selling all kinds of cheese-related goods.
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: A Tall Kannon Statue & A Very Expensive Golden God Temple’
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: The Only War Museum In Japan?’
Click here to read ‘The Town In Tochigi Built On A Mountain Of Stone’
Click here to read ‘Egyptian Pyramid In Tochigi Prefecture’
Click here to read ‘A Day In Utsunomiya (Tochigi Prefecture)’
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Monkeying Around In Nikko’
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Tobu World Square In Tochigi Prefecture’