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November 08 2012

Unusual Toba Bay Cruise - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Toba Bay Cruise ship, Toba, Mie Prefecture

If you enjoy taking a cruise, Japan offers many places to enjoy pleasant trips in unusual sightseeing ships. I already wrote about the pirate ships from Lake Ashi in Hakone and about the Santa Maria ship replica from Osaka. These are replica ships, inspired after real historical sailing ships, but in Toba, in the Mie Prefecture, I discovered a ship inspired by… a castle.

The castle is called Ryūgū-jō and comes from a classical Japanese folktale, Urashima-Tarō. The fact of having a ship modeled after a castle may seem strange, but considering how the medieval Japanese warships (atakebune) were built, like floating fortresses, the design doesn’t seem so strange… Plus, the castle from the folktale was owned by Ryūjin, the dragon god of the sea, and was located under the sea.

Travel tip: The Toba Bay Cruise departs nearby the Toba Station, close to the Mikomoto Pear Island. The trip takes about 50 minutes and costs 1700 yen.

August 27 2012

Sailing in Osaka bay and a travel tip - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Of the many amusements in Osaka Bay, the most tempting for me was a ride with Santa Maria, a ship replica of the famous Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción, the flagship used by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to discover America.

Actually, the Santa Maria from Osaka Bay is powered by modern engines and it is twice as big as the original one - but it has to be, since it carries… a lot more explorers (^_^).
So, I explored the Osaka Bay and I discovered… a bit of America, of course: the Universal Studios theme park…

Travel tip: Santa Maria leaves every hour from 11 AM from the pier next to the Kaiyukan Aquarium, located 5 minutes walk from the Osakako Subway Station. The trip takes 50 minutes and the price is 1600 yen.
There’s also a night cruise (for which you’ll need a prior reservation) which takes one hour and 45 minutes and costs 2500 yen.

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