Visiting Nabana No Sato
I checked my phone once more to watch the blue dot of my location move across the map. I was stressed that I would miss my stop since they had stopped being in English long before. I appeared to still be on track. Glancing out the window I watched the plains of farms and small towns pass by. This was a much more rural part of Japan then I had experienced yet.
We arrived at the train stop and I quickly got off with a couple of other people. This didn’t look right but one more check of my map and I was sure I was in the right location. The sun had passed its peak and was starting to set, casting a warm glow across the small houses cluttered around the station. I started to walk in the right direction snapping a few photos along the way. Cars slowed as they passed me, the occupants stopping to stare at me as they drove by. Clearly not many tourists passed this way, nor did they walk through this area very often.
I was 30 minutes into my walk when I realized why. I could finally see the outline of the park in the distance a bright glow on the horizon and I lit up circular tower slowly lifting people above the skyline. I kept moving forward, I wanted to catch the plum blossoms before the sun set. Fifty minutes since I left the train station I arrived at the front of Nabana No Sato. A huge park full of flowers and attractions for people of all ages.
I paid for my tickets and checked the map. I had a lot of ground to cover before it got dark. I started with the plum blossoms, very similar to early cherry blossoms except for their bright pink color. The flowers were stunning but the crowd of people was unbelievable. I shuffled along with the crowd full of people snapping selfies a sea of selfie sticks raised high. I was overwhelmed to say the least and shuffled through onto the next areas snapping photos of each spot.
I decided to stop for a bit of food and started to check in each of the restaurants sprinkled throughout the village of gardens. Most of the restaurants were already full so I settled for a snack and headed off to the botanical garden. The place was massive and had the biggest and most elaborate scene I have ever seen in my life. I was blown away by the massive flowers all arranged in rows of bright, warm colors. It was crowded but I was so happy just to be snapping away at the stunning arrangements.
I spent at least an hour meandering through the different galleries of this living museum full of color. Each room was more enchanting then the next. But it was finally starting to get really dark, the light show was about to begin so I fought the crowd to get almost to the front of the line for the Winter lights show. This was the reason I had traveled so far out of my way.
My feet were tired but I was determined and as the countdown began I gathered my things and marched with the crowd of people. It was an interesting experience being herded through a maze of lights. It was completely stunning, The glow of thousands of Christmas lights engulfed me. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. After passing through the tunnel and weaving through pathways illuminated with lights there was a massive recreation of Niagra Falls complete with music, fog and mist machines. It was an overpowering show that attacked each of your senses enough to give me chills. The best part was that everything was on loop so if you missed part of it as you arrive or have to wait for a good spot to view you had the chance to stay and see it from the beginning. I snapped some photos and video enjoying the crowded first show of the night as people ooed and ahhed around me. It was the first time being at a tourist attraction felt part of the moment. Everyone was enjoying the show together despite the cold, despite the crowd, it was still an enchanting and enjoyable show.
As I took the bus home I felt my feet take a sigh of relief. It had been a long day that had started with a trip to Nagoya Castle but it had ended marvelously. It was time to check into my Ryokan and soak in a hot bath.
Highly recommend this for a visit however it’s difficult to use public transportation. Definitely a must see if you have a car, as it will be very easy to access and they have plenty of parking available. There is a direct bus from Nagoya but I couldn’t find the bus station (it’s apparently on the second floor?) So I decided to just take the local trains instead and then take a cap the rest of the way- but there turned out to be no cabs because that train stations is very small so I ended up having to walk which took a long time. The bus back was much easier to catch as there were designated bus stops and you can just grab a ticket as you get on and pay when you get off in Nagoya. There is apparently a bus from the Nashisma Station to the park but I wasn’t able to find it or any bus stop for that matter so I’m assuming it’s a local bus not labeled in English but I don’t know for sure.
Train: Nagoya Station to Nashisma Station: 400 Yen, (walk about 30 – 40mins to Park)
Bus: Front of Park to Nagoya Station: 890 Yen
Park: 2,100 Yen, Includes fees for botanical garden and the festival show as well as some coupons for food.
Snacks: Soup and desert waffle with chocolate: 540 Yen (Restaurants are very pricey)