Summer Retro Trip to Atami

Slow, “Retro” city located 100 km south of Tokyo, Atami City is a popular summer destination. It is mainly known for its beaches and onsens, but for many local travelers, Atami is visited for its being slow-paced, where you can still see old buildings and places, legacy cable cars as if it was in the ’70s or ’80s.

Breakfast while riding the Odoriko Train

My retro journey started at Yokohama station where I am about to ride the retro train service called Limited Express “Odoriko”. Odoriko is one of the few remaining trains services from Tokyo that still uses old train cars (185 series from 1980’s) .

I decided to buy a sandwich and coffee from a station convenience store and have breakfast while enjoying the train scenery.

While riding the train, you can still hear clearly the sound of the train wheels and feel its vibration.

And reached Atami Station in around 50 minutes (around 85 km train ride).

Retro Shopping Street “Nakamise”

Some walking distance from Atami Station, is a shopping street called “Nakamise“. Started in 1956, the shopping street has preserved many of its original stores and historical features.

Walking through this shopping street, it makes you feel like you went back in time. I bet locals would feel “Natsukashii” (懐かしい) when they pass this street, a word used by many Japanese when they feel nostalgic about a thing or place.

The shopping street features local street foods and restaurants, sweets shops and souvenir shops.

Retro Beach: Atami Sun Beach

From the Nakamise, you need to go down a steep path and you will shortly see the wide, wonderful Atami Sun Beach.

Atami Sun Beach is an artificial beach completed in 1986. The beach is open for swimming to everyone from mid-July until the end of August (swimming time is from 9:00 to 17:00).

It goes without saying that this beach is crowded every summer. With only few beaches open for swimming near Tokyo, Atami Sun Beach is definitely a must-visit place during summer.

Right beside the beach, is the Atami Water Park. If you do not plan on swimming, you can still enjoy the nice view of the beach by visiting this relaxing park.

After all, the beaches are not just for swimming :-). In this park, you can do some walking, or sit down and read a book, or perhaps wait for the beautiful Atami sunset.

The retro-ish Atami Tourist Association building is also located in this park.

Atami from Above, Retro Cable Car

I’m on my way to the highest observation deck in Atami. It is said to be the best place to see Atami from the above.

To go up to the observation deck, you need to ride the Atami Ropeway. This ropeway originally started in 1958 and still uses its original retro cable cars.

When you reach the top, you will see the breathtaking view of the coast of Atami, the calm sea and the buildings and resorts placed on the steep hills.

It also has a cafe named “Umi Sora Cafe” where you can enjoy the majestic view with some coffee, some snacks, or ice cream.

Lunch with a view of Atami Beach

Before going back to Atami Station, I decided to have some lunch with a view of Atami Beach.

San Remo Cafe is a cafe with a view of the blue sea and the yachts passing and stopping. They serve snacks, sweets, pasta, pizza, and some drinks and liquors.

read more

Inside a Chikagai in Japan (Underground Shopping Centers)

Underground shopping centers are one of the best places to go during summer here in Japan, where afternoons can be very hot. Right now, the temperature outdoors can rise up to 35º C and although I enjoy strolling and bicycling outside, this time I would choose to stay indoors due to intense heat outside.

I decided to have some lunch today at Yokohoma Station’s East underground shopping center called “Porta”. This shopping center opened in 1980 and it is just one of Yokohama’s biggest underground shopping street. Locally, underground shopping centers are called “Chikagai” (地下街) and are not to be confused with “Chuukagai” (中華街) which means shopping street.

Underground Shopping Centers or 地下街 (Chikagai’s) are conveniently located near train stations

Most of these chikagai’s are conveniently located near train stations in Japan. This makes it very easy for people from work and school to do things like shopping before they go back to their homes.

Most of the underground shopping centers have a floor map where it lists all the places you can go to. As you can see (below), it looks like you can do everything here – restaurants, fashion, services, grocery, bookstore, and many more…

I had my lunch today at a Thai restaurant named “Siam Orchid”. And Siam Orchid is just one of the international restaurants in Porta.

After lunch, I toured around Porta to see what other shops you can visit.

The shop with the longest line is from this Taipei dessert shop.

A fruit juice at this juice bar would be very refreshing this summer.

American style restaurants – hotdogs, roast beef box.

I visited a French bakery Jean Francois to buy some bread. They have an amazing bread selection!

If you need to buy some omiyages (souvenirs), check this store “Yokohama Pocket Mart”

If you would like to take home desserts and sweets, check the Sweets & Deli area.

There is still more to explore for sure, but time to go up and get back to work 🙂

read more
1 2 3 4 5