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.
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.
At the moment, the island celebrates the new Godzilla. The island was one of the major places of the 2016 Godzilla movie.
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.
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!
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.
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.
After our berry picking, each of us had a small pack to take home.