Sano and Utsunomiya are perfect for a good roadtrip indeed. I will suggest you go to the nearest Rental Car (some suggestions: TOYOTA Rental, Nissan Rental, ORIX) and get a car and hit the road! -Japan really cares about environment and global warming, so you can find a variety of environment friendly hybrid cars- that will be another topic though! ^^
It was summer when me and my friends decided to hit the road and travel up north from Tokyo to Tochigi Prefecture. The trip was all about Matsuri, otherwise known as Festival, Food representative of the area and Nature! Check out what we found by reading on!!!
Sunflower festival – what’s more! It is freely open to the public, to whoever who loves sunflowers. No entrance fee, located near a rest service area where you can park your car as well as get refreshments and even buy local products – of course, Sunflower-related produce^^! We decided to have a little bit of fun in the forest of sunflowers by hiding ourselves among them! Can you spot someone in the flower bush???
Festival: Mashiko-cho Himawari Festival (HOMEPAGE)
Location: Tochigi-ken, Haga-kun, Mashiko, Kamiyama (map)
Best Season: August
When it comes to festivals in Japan, the first thing I really want to check out on is their traditions which carry so much history in it. Sano city has one of those preserved traditions that I know I just have to check it out – YABUSAME. Yabusame is Japanese archery with the archer on the horse. The archers are highly skilled and aim to shoot at their targets while galloping on their horses. During the Kamakura period, such practices serve its purpose as military training for the samurais.
Throughout the year and at various parts of Japan, such tradition is still being practiced though not for its original purpose, more of for reenacting the history. My photos is only just one capture.
Location: Sano City (near the City Hall)
Seasons: May~ Oct (depends on the prefectures)
=Information for this coming MAY- one of the most famous festivals will be held in Aoi Festival in Kyoto
Sano and Utsunomiya are famous for Gyoza (japanese-style grilled dumplings) and Ramen. I’m picking 3 really local delights, might be hard to access but you won’t regret it! There are many famous and popular Gyoza restaurants near the Utsunomiya Station but there are just too crowded, usually approximately 2 hours queue wait!! Such a waste of time, so I found some places located just a short drive away.
Name of restaurant: Utsunomiya Gyoza Kan, Tokujiromachi (高谷原 宇都宮餃子館 宇都宮インター店)
Location: 〒321-2116 Tochigi-ken, Utsunomiya-shi, Tokujirōmachi, 高谷原21−1 (map)
Name of Restaurant: Tawara-Ya
Location: 22-8 Kandachō, Tochigi-shi, Tochigi-ken 328-0032 (map)
What’s so special: Hand-made noodles, really big and juicy gyoza. Just a small side dish(picture- second from the right) Pork Intestines.
Also, you can find some grape vines farm where you can have a 30min eat-all-you-want. This is entirely for reservation only. Be sure to make your reservation online before heading there.
This is my favourite part. I was actually planning for a private boat tour that will take you underground a stone mine (a real mining ground but not active anymore, open for tourist). If you are up for the challenge check out the website below!!
Nature Spot: Ohya Underground
What’s Special: An exclusive tour in the mining underground. it looks as if you are in some tomb in Egypt- of course not though! ^^(homepage)