Kurihama Hana-no-kuni (Flower World), and OMG I have to use what for a restroom?!!
Today (5/1/10) was absolutely amazing...and since I arrived at this date before you, let me tell you this in advance, enjoy the day!
The weather was perfect, sunny skies (code for no rain here in Japan), and a free tour was offered in English (I should say semi-English) of the Kurihama Flower Park. This park is world famous for it's flowers (at least they say so!) I would tend to agree, it was absolutely amazing. We were told that due to the unseasonably cold weather that the flowers (mainly poppy's) were not in full bloom yet and probably would be within the next week or so, but as you can see from the slide show of pictures, it was still fantastic!
According to my information sheet it won the International prize "Nations in Bloom 2000" by IFPRA in London. It also won an International level prize (about protecting the national environment) called ISO 14001. The domestic prize that it has been awarded is "The Best Green City, Prime Minister Award" in 1999. There are your facts for the day!
This park is massive. I can't begin to explain the size. I walked through what felt like a mountain to get to the various sections! There was an herb garden section that was at least the size of a football field. Located in the same area was my favorite, the aromatherapy foot bath. This was a large natural hot spring (with a fabricated deck around it) that contained herbs (which ones I have no idea since I can't read Kanji). After soaking my feet in this I felt like a million bucks. I need the recipe!
There is a playground area with Godzilla, a bouncy bounce, and other things for kids to play on.
Because I didn't realize how large this flower park was, I didn't plan my bathroom breaks accordingly (not good for a woman who has the bladder of a 3 year old). Finally when we got to the Godzilla playground, I saw the universal restroom signs...when I entered what I saw was not something that evoked feelings of relief...ONLY TRADITIONAL FACILITIES...I searched the entire bathroom for one stall with a "regular" toilet. Nope. Then I had to chuckle because the day before I had said to Adina that one thing that I will not be "experiencing" while here in Japan is a "traditional toilet"...this is definitely a cruel joke! There was no way around this one...
The one good thing about that experience was that when I accidentally hit my backpack on this white box on the wall it pressed a button that made a faux flushing sound...ahh Japan! Nothing like a faux flush to put you in the right frame of mind!
I won't say that I will never do that again (we see where that got me this time), what I will say is that I hope to never have to experience that again!