Arakura Sengen Shrine – where the beauty of Japan is exemplified
If you plan on taking a single-day trip in Japan from Tokyo and back, there is a place that you definitely will not want to miss. Those who visit Japan are amazed at the beautiful scenery at Arakura Sengen Shrine, which seems to come straight out of a picture postcard. It is a shrine that worships Mount Fuji as a god and has a bright red five-story pagoda, a symbol of Fujiyoshida City in Yamanashi Prefecture. Arakura Sengen Park is located about four hundred steps up, lets you really feel you are in Japan as it commands a magnificent view of the five-story pagoda, Mount Fuji, and cherry blossoms that bloom all throughout the grounds in the spring to let you enjoy together with these sights. (The cherry blossoms are in full bloom from early- to mid-April.)
The season of cherry blossoms is not the only time of the year when you can enjoy beautiful scenery. Summer is when the plants are in full of vitality and shine in bright green, and fall is when the cherry trees, autumn leaves, and ginkgos turn into lively colors such as red and yellow. Winter is the season when you can get a lot of clear weather and enjoy the view of Mount Fuji through the crisp air, as well as snowy landscape under the blue sky where the five-story pagoda and Mount Fuji creates a wonderful image together.
Arakura Sengen Shrine
Address: 3353, Arakura, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture
– Transfer from Otsuki Station on the express train from JR Shinjuku Station to Shimoyoshida Station on the Fujikyuko Line (about 1 hr, 45 mins). About 15 mins. by walk.
– Get off the express bus headed toward Lake Yamanaka from the Shinjuku Station Expressway Bus Terminal at the Chuo-express way Shimoyoshida bus stop (about 1 hr, 35 mins). About 10 minutes by walk.
Beautiful landscape with water that Japanese are proud of
After enjoying the view of Mount Fuji from far away, the next beatiful thing you can focus on is the water in Japan. Oshino Hakkai in Oshino Village, Yamanashi Prefecture, which is near Arakura Sengen Shrine, has mystical scenery created by clear blue and serene water.
Oshino Hakkai, which springs out meltwater of Mt.Fuji’s snow that is filtered for decades, consists of eight beautiful spring-fed ponds. The image of Mount Fuji is beautifully reflected on the surface of the mirror-like water on days when there is no wind. Please be sure to visit the restaurants as well; they offer dishes such as soba noodles and tofu made with water from Mount Fuji.
Address: Oshino-Village Shinobugusa, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture
“Beautiful Toilets” creating an impression of “Beautiful Japan”
The water that falls on Mount Fuji and other mountains of Japan flows down to the vast land and enriches the lives of the people who receive it. What surprises many foreign tourists in Japan are the toilets here uses these clear waters. Toilets that are both functional and beautiful can be used for free in various places across Japan, such as at railway stations, department stores, and convenience stores. The beauty of the toilets also accentuates the beauty of Japan.
Enjoy a little shopping in Shinjuku after your one-day tour around Mount Fuji. The Isetan Shinjuku store, the representing department store in Japan and is popular among tourists, has beautiful state-of-the-art restrooms. They materialize the concept that department stores are the places to find and purchase dreams and the restrooms there should never be places that ruin it.
The Isetan Shinjuku store aims to become “the world’s greatest fashion museum.” They have made major interior renovations in 2013. Sounds and images themed on seasons are presented with projection mapping on each staircase landing from the 1st basement to the roof floors. The images you see here are actually new entrances to the renewed restrooms.
In order to keep the excitement of shopping, the concept of fashion museum is kept throughout the women’s restrooms located in the fashion area on the 3rd floor (above) and one between the 2nd and 3rd floor (below).
Features such as the lighting in the powder room has been designed to enhance the brightness of the skin of your face. Relaxing sounds of small birds singing in high resolution audio also helps you freshen up in this unbelievably comfortable restroom. The cleaning staff team, “SkiP,” cleans the facilities eight times a day.
Icons that describe the functions of the spacious stall are posted on the door. There is a shelf for placing shopping bags, baby seats, garbage box dedicated for diapers, and sufficient space for bringing strollers in. These are equipped with the restroom stalls for both men and women.
The signs at multifunctional restrooms show on what floor you can find the right restroom that fills your need. Such hospitable restrooms with barrier-free concept for various people, including those in wheelchairs and those who require Ostomate-accessible functions. You cannot find it except in Japan.
Here is a beautiful hotel where you can relax to conclude your trip through Japan. The Tokyo Station Hotel, which has been known as the prestigious hotel of Tokyo Station since its opening in 1915, incorporated state-of-the-art facilities with beautiful plumbing installations at its renovation and reopening in 2012.
Guests can feel the sense of hospitality in the water section of superior quality designed in classical style. The bathrooms are made in Japanese-style, which allows the guests to be sufficiently soaked in the hot water up to the shoulders, after washing their body outside the bathtub.
Japanese toilets reveal Japan’s spirit of hospitality
TOTO is a representative manufacturer of Japan that produces many restrooms and water sections in major facilities all throughout the country. TOTO’s toilet, which has various functions such as “Washlet” that washes the backside with warm water, heated toilet seat that keeps the backside warm, deodorizing functions, a lid that automatically opens when you approach it, and “Otohime” system that covers the sounds of bodily functions with the sounds of flowing water, are the embodiment of the latest technology proudly presented to the world. They are the products of the Japanese spirit of hospitality with the desire to make visitors comfortable.
Please be sure to visit the website that transmits information on TOTO such as how to use a Washlet, the secret behind Japan’s beautiful toilet culture, and buyer’s guides to TOTO products.
There is a belief in Japan that there are deities in everything. This is why Japanese people firmly adhere to the practice of placing value on everything from finishing every meal because each grain of rice contains a deity , to keeping toilets clean as they also have deities. The spirit of keeping toilets clean for the sake of the people who use them next may be the most beautiful thing in Japan. A trip through Japan is full of inspiration.