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Behind the Scenes

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Fukui City
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Here I am having a chat with the resident fossil researcher who resides in Fukui station.๐Ÿฆ–
We were both masked up, as per protocol, and presumably having a very important academic discussion ๐Ÿค”

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Fukui City
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If Fukui prefecture were known for one thing, it would be DINOSAURS! ๐Ÿฆ• ๐Ÿฆ– Fukui is famous for its abundance of dinosaur fossils, so dinosaur paraphernalia can be found nearly everywhere you look๐Ÿ˜†

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Fukui City
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Speaking of dinosaurs, Fukui station is overrun with them! ๐Ÿ˜† Take one step outside the station and you'll see an enormous (life size??) brontosaurous and his motley dinosaur crew towering over you. They actually move and make dinosaur noises! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿฆ•โค๏ธ

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Fukui City
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Fukui City
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Fukui City
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Fukui City
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I love Japanese stationery shops! I found a wonderful one just inside Fukui station filled with all kinds of traditional goodies made with myriad patterns of beautiful Japanese "washi" paper. ๐Ÿ˜ One of the items I found were these little Japanese money envelopes with beautifully delicate washi paper designs. ๐Ÿ’•

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Fukui City
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In addition to dinosaurs, Fukui is also known for its delicious SOBA! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜‹ (Don't worry, there's still plenty of fun to be had in Fukui even if you're not all about that dino-life. ๐Ÿ˜‰) I tried the famous Echizen-Ono soba! It is a wide and flat soba, giving it added chewiness!

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Fukui City
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Since many dinosaur fossils have been discovered in Fukui Prefecture, several locations give you the chance to meet them! One such example is inside Fukui Station, where you can find this guy casually sitting on a bench and wearing a handmade mask roughly ten-times the size of Shizuka's!

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Ono City
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The train in rural Ono-city was so cute! It was a really fun and novel experience riding an old train through the snowy, mountainous countryside. ๐Ÿ’•โ„๏ธ The conductor even toots the horn as you go, alerting each rural train stop of its arrival (it literally goes โ€œChoo Choo!โ€) ๐Ÿš‚ I couldn't get enough and I'm so happy I got to take such a classic, scenic train ride!

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Ono City
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How amazing is this sink?! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜โ˜•๏ธ
This was the bathroom sink in the Momonga Coffee shop and I honestly don't think I've ever seen a more fitting cafe fixture. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Apparently the owner had seen this sink abroad and looked into where to buy itโ€ฆ And it turns out they're made in Japan!! ๐Ÿ˜† Seems like it was just meant to be. ๐Ÿ’•โ˜•๏ธ

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Ono City
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A snapshot I took right outside the traditional Japanese inn I stayed at in Ono city. ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ—ปโœจ The view from the street was so beautiful with the mountains peeking out over the buildings every which way. The shops and houses on this street were also all built and preserved in traditional form, giving it an almost movie-set look. ๐ŸŽฌ

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Ono City
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Ono City
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Ono City
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Ono City
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This is the must-see spot if you ever visit Ono City, not only because of how pretty it looks atop the hill, but because of the fact that if you climb a short ways up the neighboring mountain and the weather conditions are juuuust right, it looks like the castle is floating on a sea of clouds. โ˜๏ธโ˜๏ธโœจ

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Ono City
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Thank you to Ono City for giving me that (huge) dose of snow Iโ€™d been craving for so long!! โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ There were massive snow banks and piles of snow like this one nearly everywhere you looked while strolling around the town- it felt quite a lot like where I grew up in Canada! ๐Ÿ˜†โ„๏ธ

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Ono City
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I asked him, "Why did you choose the name Momonga Coffee?". "Well," said the owner, "there's no real reason for it, but I wanted a name that men and women of all ages could relate to, so when my friend who I was drinking with at the time suggested 'Momonga' (flying squirrel) I thought it was perfect!".

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Gifu City
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I got to rep Canada and try my hand at Javelin throwing for the first time in Gifu!! ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆSome local high school students who do Javelin were kind enough to teach me the ropes, and although I couldn't throw as far as I'd hoped, it was a ton of fun and I'm really glad I got to give it a try! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’“

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Gifu City
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In Gifu City, there is a wonderful, rustic area called Kawaramachi, where the street is lined with beautiful old shops and cafes that preserve their traditional appearance. It is so much fun to walk down the street and admire the old buildings! I'd love to come back and go for a walk here in a kimono next time! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘˜

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Gifu City
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Look what I found in Kawaramachi! An unusual, but gorgeous, "traditional" looking ATM stop! ๐Ÿ˜ฎI love that even the modern additions to this street adhere to the rustic, wooden asthetic of the area. You can even find old-school post boxes and wooden vending machines! ๐Ÿ™Œโœจ

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Gifu City
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Gifu City
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Gifu City
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Gifu City
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I stopped by for lunch at one of the quaint, old cafes on this Kawaramachi street and was incredibly pleasantly surprised by the food and interior! The cafe was actually a renovated, old, wooden house with classic wooden furniture and art.
I couldn't resist getting a similarly classic dessert of Zenzai (red bean soup with mochi) and some mochi ice cream to finish off the meal! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜

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Gifu City
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Not only was the Gifu City Chuo Library hands-down the most beautiful library I have ever seen, it also has a lovely collection of English books! I found myself flipping through a book of 1800s Japanese photography and later even stopped to read some nostalgic picture books that I'd read as a kid! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜† There's something about this library's architecture that really inspires a person to rediscover their love of reading! โœจ

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Gifu City
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Gifu City has many attractions, such as Gifu Castle and the Nagara River, but how about taking a time out to relax and admire the gorgeous architecture of the Minna no Mori Gifu Media Cosmos? ๐Ÿค—
The facility provides a cafe, convenience store, and a wide range of seating options, of which we personally recommend the outdoor terrace.โ˜•๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ‚

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Sagamihara City
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Who is ready for Christmas? Itโ€™s almost Christmas time?!! Iโ€™m ready to eat this amazing parfait with stollen cake at Cafe Togashi. The cafe owners are very kind and make incredibly delicious parfaits, so I really recommend checking out this cafe!?P.S. They also had the cutest gingerbread house! How do you guys usually spend your Christmas??โค๏ธ

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Sagamihara City
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This is called Anpan -which is normally made using red bean paste, but here they have 8-10 different kinds of fillings inside the anpan!! ? My recommendation is the one with mandarin orange fillings inside!?? Even though itโ€™s a sweet anpan filling, it tasted very refreshing and was so delicious! Which one would you like to try?

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Sagamihara City
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Iโ€™ve always wanted to come to Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest in Sagamihara City! The illuminations were so pretty and romantic. The park is so huge and there were so many different things you can do like having a BBQ, take a dip in the hot springs or ride various attractions! I would love to come back and visit again with friends!

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Sagamihara City
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Sagamihara City
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Sagamihara City
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Machida City
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The Para-Badminton experience was held at the Machida City Gymnasium! They had an adorable mascot character at the front entrance named Yuri-tokun and I just couldn't not get a matching photo together!๐Ÿ˜† โค๏ธ ๐Ÿฆ Yuri-tokun is a black-headed gull and is Tokyoโ€™s sport mascot character!
I wish I could meet him someday!

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Machida City
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Serigaya-park was still exploding with autumn color when I visited in the middle of December so I could catch a glimpse of the stunning red leaves. ๐Ÿ˜ ๐ŸThe park also had no shortage of picnic benches (and even a small, Japanese-style gazebo) where you can sit and enjoy the vibrant foliage. I'll have to be back again soon with a bento box! โค๏ธ

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Machida City
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I came to find Pokรฉmon, but let me tell you, Serigaya Park was FULL of unexpected fun.๐Ÿ˜† It had a zipline, a mysterious sumo ring(??), an enormous water sculpture, a GIANT (and incredibly fast slide that I swiftly face-planted off of), and plenty of other adorable quirks. As you can see from the photos, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜‚

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Machida City
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Machida City
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Machida City
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Machida City
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I am so ecstatic that I got to try Para-Badminton!๐Ÿธ I expected it to be both challenging and fun, and it definitely was. I gained a whole new appreciation for the sport by trying it myself and was impressed by the strength and dexterity needed to both maneuver the wheelchair quickly AND hit the birdie! A highly skilled sport but I would 100% do it again if I have the chance! ๐Ÿ™Œ

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Machida City
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The Pokรฉmon manholes in Serigaya park are adorable!! ๐ŸŒฟ ๐Ÿ˜ They were also so much fun to run around and find! It was like an old-school treasure hunt, scavenging for Pokรฉmon with a hand-drawn map around the park. ๐Ÿ‘‘ ๐Ÿ’Ž โœจ I definitely recommend visiting the park and trying to "catch" all six! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ’ช It only takes 7 mins to get to the park from Machida station.

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Machida City
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I totally became a Pokรฉmon Trainer at this park ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ˜† You can find Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle and more Pokรฉmon at Serigaya Park! Apparently, there are many Pokรฉmon manholes (Pokรฉfuta) in Japan, so you might be able to find them in the other Host Towns too ๐Ÿ‘ โœจ Since each Pokรฉmon manhole has a different design, it would be fun to find all of them!

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