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Umihotaru and Blueberries

Umihotaru is a man-made island located in the middle of Tokyo Bay. It serves as a rest area for drivers who use the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line going to Chiba from Kawasaki and vice-versa. Umi means sea while hotaru means firefly. Sea firefly is a luminous crustasea mostly living in Tateyama Bay of the southern Boso Peninsula. Like the insect, Umihotaru brightens Tokyo Bay at nighttime.

Last Saturday, my husband and I went to Umihotaru with some friends. From Nishi-Kasai we drove to Kawasaki City going to the Kawasaki-Ukishima JCT/Ukishima IC where the entrance to Tokyo Bay Aqua  Line is. It is a bridge-tunnel highway which connects Kawasaki City and Kisarazu, Chiba. Before if people wants to go to Chiba, they need do drive across Tokyo for around 90 minutes. Travel time  was reduced to 15 minutes when the Aqua Line opened.

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Driving Inside Tokyo Bay Aqua Line Tunnel

 

Exploring Umihotaru

Nowadays Umihotaru is not only for drivers who want to rest. More people are now visiting the island because of its scenery and ambiance. We reached the island around lunchtime but we were fortunate that it was not too sunny when we got there. Although it is a bit cloudy, we were able to enjoy looking at ships and boats around the island.

 

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Famous Japanese Water-Related Paintings Mounted on Rocks

 

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The Umihotaru Parking Building

 

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Umimegane: The Technical Museum of Tokyo Bay Aqua Line

 

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1:300 Scale Model of Umihotaru

 

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The Tunnel Emergency Slide Model

 

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The Cutting Shield of the Tunnel Boring Machine

 

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At the Deck of Umihotaru

 

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Wooden Sculptures for Photo Ops

 

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Cargo Ships and Small Fishing Boats  Around the Island

 

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View of the Bridge Going to Kisarazu, Chiba from the Deck of Umihotaru

 

At the moment, the island celebrates the new Godzilla. The island was one of the major places of the 2016 Godzilla movie.

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Information board about Godzilla

 

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Godzilla’s Footprints

 

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Scale Model of Godzilla inside the South Cabin

 

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Panel Exhibition About Godzilla Movies

 

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Commemorative Door Curtain of the Famous Kanagawa Waves with Godzilla

 

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Joining the Godzilla Stamp Search!

 

On the fourth and fifth floor of the island building are some shops and restaurants for people to enjoy. There is even a Starbucks for coffee lovers. The only one located on the sea.

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A Beautiful Painting at the Fifth Floor of the Island

 

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Unagi for Lunch!

 

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Fresh Seafood from Kisarazu

 

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Novelty Shops for Souvenirs and Sweets

 

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Local Delicacies and Fresh Produce from Chiba are Available too

 

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Game Center for Kids and Kids-at-Heart

 

Blueberry Picking and Countryside Scene

After spending some fun time at the island, we went to Kisarazu for blueberry picking. I was so excited because it was my first time to do such plus I got sad when my own tree had only one blueberry this year. The birds ate the young fruits 🙁

Kisarazu is facsinating! A lot of greens, old houses, and has several fruits farms. Before heading to the farm, we made a short stop at Makuta Station. This is the main station for people who want to visit the blueberry farms in this area. It is also famous for horse jockeys and horse racing enthusiasts. Makuta means “a horse is coming” ma-is derived from the word “uma” which means horse and “kuta” means coming. Near the entrance of the station, some locals give good luck charm or omamori for good luck. We also met the captain of the station!

 

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The Entrance of Makuta Station

 

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Makuta Station Captain

 

From the station, it was we drove to the blueberry farm for 10 minutes or so. It was very refreshing to see a lot of trees and rice fields along the road. There were traditional houses with nice gardens too. The farm where we went was the Blueberry Farm Norari Kurari. With an entrance fee of JPY1,000 per person, we were able to enjoy fresh organic blueberries to our hearts’ content! And what it made more fun is that we were the only group at that time. We enjoyed the whole farm undisturbed.

 

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The Facade of Blueberry Farm Norari Kurari

 

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The Farm’s Cafe

 

 

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On our Way to Pick Organic Bliueberries

 

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Brief Introduction of the Trees and Recommended Measures before Actual Picking

We tried a berry or two from each and all trees searching for the sweetest ones. It was very interesting to know that each tree has its own unique flavor depending on its variety, location, and exposure to the sun.

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Enjoying Blueberries Everywhere!

 

After our berry picking, each of us had a small pack to take home.

 

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Our Free Take Home

 

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Pre-picked Berries in Half-Kilo Packs are Also For Sale

 

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