Grace Yu
    My favorite place was Fushimi-Inari Shrine. It is a mountain of thousands of vermillion tori gates. Fushimi Inari is a bit out of the way compared to the other temples, but I would definitely recommended it. It is one of the most impressive sights in all of Kyoto.

    Grace Yu

    IDEA Student

    Aichi Gakusen College, Japan - 2015 Summer

    Okazaki

    I am staying in the beautiful city of Okazaki, located in the southeastern plains of Aichi Prefecture. It is fairly large, with a population of over 375,000 people. The nearest major city is Nagoya, which is around half an hour away by train. Okazaki has a wide variety of buildings. Some houses are very modern, but some are so old I’m surprised people still live in them. There are also some small factories, hotels, and restaurants.

    There is a large shopping center with an Aeon Mall, Don Quijote, Daiso, and other major Japanese retail stores. The Aeon mall has a movie theater, a large bookstore, and hundreds or shops and restaurants. I would recommend the Takoyaki shop in the food court.

    The biggest tourist attraction in Okazaki is Okazaki Castle. It is known for being the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu (Founder of the Tokugawa shogunate). Around the castle is Okazaki Park, which is a famous site for viewing cherry blossoms, wisteria, and azalea. There are also some teahouses and a Noh theater nearby. In August, there is a large summer festival that takes place here.

    Another famous attraction is the Hatcho Miso Factory, which I will cover in later post. It produces Akamiso (red miso), an Aichi prefecture specialty.

    My school, Aichi Gakusen, is also located in Okazaki. Near the campus is the Yahagi River. The riverbed is incredibly beautiful, and it’s one of my favorite places in Okazaki. It's a great place to go on a run. You can also bike along the river road if you’re not afraid of biking near cars. There are also some rice paddies near the school.

    The craziest part of Okazaki is the city mascot. Its name is Okazaemon. It’s very kimochi-warui (creepy) but after spending some time in Okazaki and seeing it on signs and products, I have grown fond of it.