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The Aichi Way to Cool Down in Summer Heat

March 8, 2021 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Aichi Prefecture is known to locals as the ‘heart’ of Japan. It not only boasts a colourful past as a crucial point for traffic between east and west Japan, but is also a highly diverse melting pot where were rustic Japanese charm meets innovation and technology.

With a perfect mix of coastal and inland attractions, in the summertime Aichi offers visitors an array of exciting things to keep them busy. As this destination remains relatively unknown to overseas travellers – It holds one of the most attractive appeals for future travel plans. With easy access on the Shinkansen route from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto, Aichi is well worth a stop-over.

Seaside summer delights galore

Aichi is home to an array of coastal delights, making visiting in the summertime pure bliss. Why not stay at Gamagori Hot Springs, a resort town which overlooks the Mikawa Bay on Aichi’s southern coast. The town has lively beaches where you can cool down, as well as four hot springs facilities which offer outdoor baths overlooking views of the bay.

Nights from summer through to autumn in the bay are packed with excitement, including festivals of fireworks, lanterns, parades and more. The Mikawa Isshiki Lantern Festival allows visitors to enjoy the views of 6-to-10-metre-tall giant paper lanterns lit up at night on the grounds of Suwa Shrine. Mikawa holds various events throughout the season where you can see hand-held fireworks – impressive displays of brilliant fireworks held by brave men as they go off creating showers of light.

For nature lovers looking to explore the greenery, Lake Midori in the north eastern area of Aichi is a sight to be seen in summertime when the lush greenery around the lake reflects vividly on the lake’s naturally deep green waters. Visitors can walk around the lake and explore the area which is dotted with small temples and shrines.

Wander streets paved with history

Hidden in the south-eastern suburbs of Nagoya City lies a small town which boasts a long and impressive history. One of Arimatsu’s main attractions is the narrow street that was once the great Tokaido Road – the ancient highway linking Japan’s old capital, Kyoto, and Edo (modern day Tokyo). The street is lined with old houses, shops, and warehouses which have not changed from the time of the samurai. The town began to prosper in the early 1600s when local artisans created Arimatsu Narumi Shibori, an intricate, time consuming traditional tie-dying technique that creates stunningly and complex patterns.

Many of the old stores in Arimatsu still hand make and sell the beautiful fabrics, with the Arimatsu Narumi Shibori Museum perfect to take a closer look at the many different styles and techniques which were developed locally. Visiting in summer gives you the perfect excuse to purchase a yukata (summer kimono style garment) and wander the photogenic historic streets in an elegant traditional Japanese style.

Summertime drinks and nibbles

Aichi fosters a thriving brewing industry which includes a variety of alcohol – from traditional Japanese sake to experimental lagers and whisky. The Maruichi Sake Brewery has been making sake on the Chita Peninsula for over 100 years, with their Hoshi-Izumi sake made especially to be enjoyed chilled – the perfect way to end a long day of exploring. For those who want to try something new, Aichi’s Morita Kinshachi Beer Co. makes a beer infused with Aichi’s famous red-miso paste. The Kinshachi Nagoya Akamiso Lager gives a bold and flavoursome palette – with aromas of the rich condiment. There is a joke that people from Aichi will put their red-miso on anything, and that may be true! This beer can also be bought here in Australia for those who are interested in having a taste while we wait for borders to open.

A perfect companion to your cool drinks is Aichi’s famous chicken wings. They are deep fried and then dipped in a marine made with soy sauce, sake and ginger which give them a nice element of spice. The chicken wings can be found all over Aichi Prefecture at restaurants and bars, with many of them having their own touch on the classic recipe.

Aichi’s influence on industrial Japan

Aichi Prefecture is the biggest producer of transport machinery in the country and Japan’s leader in the manufacturing industry. It is also home to the automobile giant Toyota’s main headquarters. There are various Toyota facilities throughout Aichi where travellers can be inspired with the history and innovation of the Toyota Motor Corporation.

This includes the Toyota Kuragaike Commemorative Hall where you can learn about Toyota’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda, his influence on the textile industry in Japan and how his son, Kiichiro Toyoda adapted and further developed his technology from spinning & weaving machinery to found the Toyota Motor Corporation.

Aichi also has a core role in Japan’s aviation industry and has supported the growth of Boeing in Japan for over 60 years. The prefecture is the leader of all Boeing programs in Japan, with jobs related to Boeing projects growing drastically since the early 2010s. Right after arrival at Aichi’s International Airport, Centrair, visitors can see the Dreamlifter – one of Boeings most rare planes from the Sky Deck. From the observation area overlooking the runway, you can see the Dreamlifter freighter plane which carries the Boeing 787 Dreamliner parts to the Boeing factory in the United States. There are only four of these giant planes in the world, and Aichi’s International Airport Centrair is the only place in Japan where it can be seen.

Where to stay

Only a one-hour train ride from Toyohashi City on Aichi’s western border, lies Oku-Mikawa – a district of high, green hills intersected by swift rivers and deep valleys. As the area is also home to traditional farming communities, it offers the mature traveller an increasingly rare experience of an older, slower, more relaxing Japan. Hidden amongst the lush greenery is Yuya Onsen, a tiny, quiet hot springs town that is one of best kept secrets of Aichi.

There are hotels that line the banks of the Itajiki River in Yuya Onsen, and through the mountains, all offering shared and private onsens in guestrooms. Visitors can stay at one of Yuya Onsen’s historic Ryokan, giving them a small taste of how people lived in feudal Japan.

Toyohashi City’s main station, Toyohashi Station is serviced by the Tokaido Shinkansen, which makes it an easy stop on your way back to Tokyo after exploring Aichi Prefectures summer wonders.

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