Just outside Nagoya lies Nagashima Resort, which apparently, is so huge that it’s a destination of its own. I personally was overwhelmed by its multitude of attractions that we weren’t even able to cover entirely, since we only spent our afternoon and evening there. Well, I now do have a reason to return.
Knowing that we entirely were a shopaholic Filipino group, our friends from Nagashima Resort allowed us a couple of hours of shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima. As the name suggests, it’s a string of outlet stores, and these shops range from midscale to mostly upscale—examples of brands include Coach, Michael Kors, Moschino, Longchamp, Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Armani, Tag Heuer, Lacoste, Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Kate Spade, Cole Haan, Jimmy Choo, and Burberry. For myself, I was able to buy boxes of Godiva chocolates at 70% off, as well as shirts on sale from the Gap that had extra 20% discount.
From afar, we saw Nagashima Spa Land, a theme park not only famous for its onsen (hot springs) but its epic roller coasters as well. Unfortunately, we came in late winter/early spring when many attractions were closed, so we decided against going. Apparently, the theme park is more active during the summer months in Japan.
As the afternoon progressed, we proceeded to Nabana no Sato, which was about 15 minutes by coach from Nagashima Spa Land. It’s a renowned flower paradise that’s open year-round, and the blooms depend on the season.
We narrowly missed the opening of Keukenhof Gardens when we went to Amsterdam a couple of years ago, so imagine my delight when I found out that spring was the season for tulips. And the colorful foliage did not disappoint! There were thousands upon thousands of tulips spread all over the place, and their colors were so vivid. It did help that the weather was balmy, so it really was the perfect day to see and smell the flowers.
Aside from the tulips, we were taken to a giant greenhouse that displays Begonia blooms perennially. According to the manager of the greenhouse, through experience, they’ve already mastered the optimal growth of the plants, and they’ve done cross-breeding to make the flowers as large as they are.
After admiring the flowers (and snapping hundreds of photos of them), we feasted on a classy kaiseki or traditional multi-course meal that got us all hyped up on what was to come.
As night fell, Nabana no Sato lit up for its Winter Illumination. Happening only from October to May, the famous attraction comprises of the spot-lit flower field, the fantastic musical light show, and its most enthralling highlight—the two light tunnels. We luckily went on a weekday when there weren’t many people, so we were able to enjoy the experience thoroughly.
As a bonus, I was able to find a stall for LeTAO cheesecake soft-serve as we were exiting the park—and it was so good that it deserves to be written about!
Nabana no Sato is a year-round attraction; however, the Winter Illumination only runs from October to May. Check out this link for details.
Admission to Nabana no Sato costs 2,300 JPY (1,025 PHP) during Winter Illumination and 1,600 JPY (715 PHP) for the rest of the year. Tickets include a 1000 JPY voucher that can be used on food, drinks, and souvenirs inside the park.
The Begonia greenhouse at Nabana no Sato has a separate admission cost.
Shops at Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima are open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily. For more details, check out this link.
How to get there: At the Meitetsu Bus Center next to Nagoya Station, there are buses that run directly to Nabana no Sato (35 minutes) and Nagashima Spa Land (50 minutes). There are also separate buses to Nabana no Sato and Nagashima Spa Land running from Nagashima and Kuwana Stations on the Kintetsu Line. For more information, check out this link.
Jetstar Japan flies from Manila to Nagoya up to four times weekly. For “all day, every day, low fares,” book flights at jetstar.com. For promos and updates, follow Jetstar Asia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.