Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Aso Farmland

I LOVE ASO FARMLAND. I should make this much clear at the start. I wasn't browsing about tourist spots in Kyushu and say "hey, this looks good", I always intended to visit. And since they had this strawberry picking promotion/stay, I figured it was now or never. Yeah, this is on my list of "must revisit" spots.

And I had a really eventful trip.

I went to Aso Farmland (located in Kumamoto prefecture) right after my Nagasaki trip. It's not that I have no sense of planning (I don't actually), but it's mostly because I had to book the stay before the promotion period ended and before Yiyin went back to Malaysia. And since Nagasaki was actually not that cold, I didn't think Aso would be that cold either, after all, I think it's further down south.

Guess what? Worst snowfall in dunno how many years! (Someone told me 3, some one told me 10+ years so.... I guess it's been a while).

We were actually stuck at Higo-ootsu station, since the train couldn't continue on. All the buses were stopped too. So we figured that there was nothing to do but take a taxi. Guess what? Almost all taxi companies refused to send us there because they didn't have snow tires (understandable really). It took about half-an-hour of frantic calling to Aso Farmland Resort and the numbers that they gave me before the only taxi company ready for snow happened to have a taxi heading our way.

Yesssssssss.

It explains why the front desk was so empty. 
The snow fall was actually quite bad.

This deer statue is supposed to be standing. That's how bad it was. 
But it did make for a lot of pretty scenary.


After lunch, Yiyin and I decided to skip the petting farm (the animals were all snowed in) to go strawberry picking!


We were actually allowed to pick one box of strawberries per person. And the lady was really nice, we were worrying that we picked too much, but when she looked at our boxes, she told us to pick some more! Apparently, as long as the strawberries don't fall out, you can heap as much as you want.


I haven't picked strawberries since I was three (or around that age), so this was really fun. The strawberries were really sweet too! And no pesticides were used, so they could be eaten without being washed (but being kiasu Singaporean/Malaysian, we still washed them).


What happened after strawberry picking though, wasn't so fun. You see, we got a free ticket to this dry sauna (and low humidity too). So it being really cold and still snowing, we decided to go there instead of the Genki Forest (which was too snowy and cold for the two days we were there). Unfortunately, while we were in the sauna, we both fell asleep. I didn't mean to, really! But I did, and got up way too fast when I was woken up. So I, well, there's no nice way to say it, but I fainted while drinking water.

The second time in my life I fainted. I must say, it's like the first time, which is to say it felt like falling asleep. Although I was very puzzled as to why I woke up next to a disarrayed fire extinguisher. Apparently, I hit my head against it when I fell.

So after that, we went back to our adorable little house to rest till dinner.

Adorable. 
We actually had a few restaurants to choose from for dinner, but I didn't really give Yiyin a choice. I wanted what I ate the last time I was here, and that was the Yakiniku-nabe.


Most of the time, if I'm eating a meal that came as a set plan, I wouldn't expect much. This however, was really delicious. And the amount of food they gave us was huge.

We did our best, but we couldn't finish it. 
After dinner, we walked it off by going to take photos of the illuminations. 

This was it actually. 

But "it" is awfully pretty, especially in the snow. 
Of course, I had to go to the onsen after that. I really wanted to go for rotenburo (the outdoor onsen), since it was still snowing, but unfornately, the snow iced the paths and it was closed off. 

The next day, well, we did two things. We went to the petting zoo, and we made stuff (I made [ok, decorated] a bear, Yiyin made bath salts). I'm sure everyone would rather see cute animal photos, so I'll just add a sentence here to say that the making-stuff experience was about 1000 yen per person, and I think it's quite worthwhile. 

So, cute animals. 

Adorable animals. 

Huh? Oh yeah, pictures.

Am I adorable enough?

How about us? 

Flamingos! 
Not all of it was outside. There are also a few animals inside temperature controlled rooms. 

Like BUNNEHS. 

So fluffy! And he has a mane! Mr Fluffy Bunny and his rat friends. 
And Guinea Pigs

Hullo. 
I took so many photos. 

This was a really fun trip. I'm definitely coming back, since I haven't even gotten the chance to play at the Genki Forest. Oh, and I should definitely go to Mount Aso, where the volcano actually is.

And now, panoramas!


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