|Centrip Editorial Board
The road trip of love! Recommended spots to travel by car in the Chubu region
In our previous article, we talked about how to rent a car. Today, we will take you on a half-day driving trip from Centrair International Airport.The theme is, “The road trip of love" -recommended spots in the Chubu region to visit by car. Come with us to see the hidden tourist spots, known only to local people.
Click here to know find out how to rent a car in Japan.Enjoy driving in Japan！Get to know every step: from making a reservation to picking up the car
Overview of the course
Get off at these stations：
- Chubu Centrair International Airport
- STOP 1: Koinomizu Shrine（Mihama-cho）
A matchmaking shrine with a unique method of worship (20 minutes)
- STOP 2：Noma Toudai (Mihama-cho）
The oldest lighthouse in Aichi (30 minutes)
- STOP 3：Hazu-misaki（Minamichita-cho）
Enjoy the open view of the sea from the top of the mountain! (1 hour)
- STOP 4：INAX Live Museum（Tokoname）
Tile Museum (1 hour 30 minutes)
And off we go!
Head towards Mihama-cho.
The CEP (Central Nippon Expressway Pass) will take you anywhere, without any additional charge!
"Koinomizu Shrine", means "shrine with the water of love". Just as the name suggests, many people visit this shrine to make wishes relating to love.
The origin of the name comes from a fountain inside the shrine.Back in the old days, Sakura-hime (桜姫/Princess Sakura), travelled all the way in order to reach this fountain which was said to cure any disease, when her loved one fell ill. However, the tragedy was that she died before reaching the fountain.This tale has been passed down the generations as a tragic love story. However, as time passes by, the "fountain which cures any disease" has become the "fountain which cures the pain of love". Since then, Koinomizu Shrine has been the subject of faith as a deity of love.
The torii (鳥居/arched gate to the shrine) is usually red but, interestingly, it is blue here - exactly like the color of water.
You can find the signatures of many famous stars on the walls of the amulet store.
We bought a paper cup...what? A paper cup?!
I'm pretty sure many of you are wondering why we bought a paper cup at a shrine.It is because paper cups are necessary when praying.
First, we write our wish on the paper cup. Then, we fill the cup with the sacred water and offer it to the deity.
Fill up half of the cup with the sacred water, as shown here.
Then offer the cup to the deity, and pray for your wish once again.
Leave the paper cup as it is, and wait for the incantations to the deity
There are many cute amulets you can buy. I especially liked the amulet for match-making; very cute, with a light-blue torii gate printed on the amulet!
This match-making amulet is not just an amulet; it has a charm with an "Aiai-gasa" (相合傘/ as shown in the picture above : a written spell where you write your name and the name of the one you love under the same umbrella to wish for mutual love) drawn on it.
Write your name on the left side, and the name of person you are in love with on the right side. Why should you write your name on the left? This is because the umbrella is slightly tilted to the left, thus you hope that the feelings of the one you are in love with will tilt towards you.
The charming gentleman in charge of managing the shrine taught us so many things about the shrine. "Couples visit this shrine the most. The next most common visitors are groups of women. Sometimes even men come to visit the shrine alone as well. :)"he said.
Noma Todai (野間灯台/ Noma Lighthouse)
A 15 minute drive will take you to the next spot, Noma Todai.
Noma Todai is an 18m lighthouse built in 1921, and is the oldest in Aichi. Recently, it has become a popular dating spot for couples.
"Kizuna no Neiro" (絆の音色/ Sound of strong bonds) is a monument in the shape of a music score, to which you can attach a padlock to vow eternal love. The "Kizuna no Kane" (絆の鐘/ Bell for strong bonds) is another romantic attraction, which you can ring in order to deepen your relationship with the one you love. Listening to and ringing the bells, looking at the padlocks vowing eternal love…much like a scene from a love-romance drama.(The padlocks are sold at "Shoku to Kenkou no Yakata (食と健康の館)", a store nearby)
Standing in front of the gigantic lighthouse, staring out into the open sea, and listening to the sound of the waves will help you clear your mind.
The photographs above were taken during daytime, but the view at sunset is also breathtaking as well. Don't miss this one!
Off we go to Hazu-misaki! A 20 minute drive will take us there.
Hazu-misaki is located at the very southern tip of the Chita Peninsula, and is a famous sight-seeing spot for viewing the sea.If you are a big fan of SKE48, a Japanese idol group, I am sure you are familiar with this place! Yes, SKE48 has a song called "Hazu-misaki". A monument commemorating SKE48 singing "Hazu-misaki" is located here, and this has made the spot a place of pilgrimage for fans.
There are 3 spots you should not miss out: "Koi no Romance Road" (恋のロマンスロード/ Romance Road of Love), Hazu Shrine, and the sightseeing tower.
The "Koi no Romance Road" is an 800m long road in the woods, leading to the sightseeing towers.
There are two sightseeing towers, and one is shaped like a building.Climb to the top, and you will be able to see a grand view of the sea.
The other sightseeing tower is not what I was expecting - but in a good way. It is made of wood, and much smaller than a normal tower, with only 3 floors.You can see Himakajima Island, Shinojima Island, Mikawa Bay, and Ise Bay from the top.
On top of all that, there is Hazu Shrine as well which may well also be worth a visit.
INAX Live Museum
INAX Live Museum is a museum complex based on tiles, and is located in Tokoname, a historic pottery town. The site of the museum is large enough to hold 6 "sub-museums" including the "INAX TILE MUSEUM" displaying tiles coming from all around the world, "INAX CLAY WORK" where you can enjoy clay work, and "INAX TILING LABO" where new challenges in pottery are taken up through the interaction of architects, artists, and professionals in many different fields. You should definitely take some time to take a look at the museum, and learn about the connections of culture, art, and experience.
The entrance of the museum resembles a church in Europe.
The wall, made with colorful tiles, catches your eye as soon as you enter the building. The wall made with extra small tiles is extraordinarily beautiful.
A display introducing a selection of tiles from around the world.
Is this a… toilet?
Can you believe it? This is definitely something you should check out. A collection of "Sometsuke Benki" (染付便器/ blue and white pottery used for toilet pans), shows us the obsession and attention to detail that the Japanese have with regard to toilets!
You can take part in decorating pottery, clay wrist watches, and small toilets!
You can also learn to make a "shining dirt ball".
Don't forget to see the furnace as well!
The places I have introduced are not so well known to tourists coming from overseas. However, if you do not prefer places with many tourists, wish to see the hidden treasures of Japan, or want to be lucky in love, I am sure you will enjoy this driving course! Check them out!