On my way to Izu from Chiba last month, I could not stop myself from routing to Yokohama to have lunch at the Chinatown. It’s the biggest Chinatown in Japan and Asia. It’s a vibrant place; there’s always something going on especially during festivals. If you’ve been to Yokohama Chinatown, you sure won’t forget the richly Chinese elements in its architecture, like the grandly decorated gates, plaques, and the must-see Kwan Tai Temple and Ma Zhu Temple. It’s interesting to know that the design and location of the gates are combined with Chinese feng shui.
Despite being impressed by the construction style, what I like most is the food. And I believe it’s one of the places with the best Chinese cuisine! There are numerous Chinese restaurants. I always like to try out some whenever I’m there. I’m never let down.
Perhaps it’s homesickness or maybe it’s pure curiosity, when I’m abroad, I like to check out the Chinatown there. I’ve been to some unforgettable Chinatowns in the world and my favourite one is in Yokohama. What is yours?
Read more or book: Hotels in Yokohama
During my stay in Izu, I made time for the stunning Kawazu Seven Waterfalls (河津七滝). Located in the mountains above the onsen town Kawazu, the site was of natural scenic beauty. But this time it was more than a feast for the eyes; it was also one for the ears. I was taking a soundwalk along the 1 km long trail past the waterfalls.
A soundwalk is a walk one takes focusing on the sounds of the surroundings. As different from what we usually do, in a soundwalk we pay more attention to what we hear, experiencing the environment through sounds rather than sight. And how a scene sounds like is known as a soundscape. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also released standards on the measurement and management of soundscape. So this time, I was feeling the soundscape of the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls with what I heard. It was a nice and relaxing walk. When I closed my eyes and listened: it was a symphony of water splashing, gurgling, rushing, gliding through and hurtling against rocks.
Along the trail, we also came across statues from the story of The Izu Dancer by Kawabata Yasunari, Japanese sculptures, a suspension bridge… All made pleasant additions to the walk. If you visit Izu, the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls is a must-go!
平日我們習慣以視覺來感受外界，甚少依賴聽覺來感受，但視象與聲音都是組成我們記憶和感覺的部分，很難分割開來，聲音漫步讓我們專注聆聽周圍，以聲音感受環境。透過聲音來感受和描述的環境被稱為聲景（Soundscape），國際標準化組織（International Organization for Standardization）近年亦為量度和管理聲景訂立國際標準，可見聲景研究和設計漸趨重要。這次七滝中連接瀑布與瀑布間的小徑是很好的聲音步行路線，沿途有不同特色的聲景。把七滝風光盡收眼底，閉起眼，又是另一番感受︰一場水流的交響樂遠遠近近響起，是水或濺起，或潺潺流動，或穿過或激打石頭的聲音……
I am not a fan of driving, particularly overseas. However, if planning to visit the countryside with multiple stops, I find it more convenient to drive when travelling in Japan, in particular to the countryside when you have multiple stops. Driving in Japan is a pleasure. The toll roads are very nice with service areas and wider roads. The highways in Japan (國道) are equally good and there’s no need to pay tolls. What’s so good about the highways is that they have roadside stations (道の駅), where you can shop for local specialties. The bonus we got this time was the sunshine.
We were on our way to Izu – the onsen village. As there were so many things to see in Izu, I decided to stay in the middle of Izu, where I could decide which part or direction to go. The hotel I stayed in was Izu Marriott Hotel Shuzenji, located up in the hill. We could see Mount Fuji from the room and had in-room onsen. It was pretty chilly though…
I highly recommend this hotel if you look for a quiet night because there are not many restaurants in the neighbourhood. Just a reminder that the room service finishes at 10pm!
我們這次是到温泉勝地伊豆。因為伊豆有太多值得看的地方，我決定落腳在伊豆中部，方便我前往不同地方。這次我住在位於山上的伊豆修善寺萬豪酒店 (Izu Marriott Hotel Shuzenji)，從温泉房間更可望見富士山，雖然有點冷……