We made reservations with MWR to attend a tour today. Our itinerary:

0545 pick up

9:00 rest stop break

10:30 – 12:30 Mashiko Kyohan Pottery

1:30 – 2:30 Chiyoda City Grape Farm

3:30 – 5:00 Ushiku Great Buddha

7:30 drop off

Here is the route to our first stop. 

The rest stop was very similar to a rest stop in the U.S., with one exception. There was a meditation garden in the middle of the food court. 

After the rest stop, we rode north west of Tokyo and were able to see parts of the country we haven’t seen yet. It was beautiful, even on a rainy day! 

Lots of rice farms! 

At the Mashiko Kyohan Pottery Center, we had a couple hours to shop and look at pottery. Some was really expensive. This 3 foot bowl was ¥2805,000 or $ 28,050. Our tour guide gave this advice, “if pottery too expensive maybe you just enjoy your eye.” Chuckle chuckle. 


Pottery everywhere!

Streets of Mashiko

Giant Tanuki – Japanese Raccon Dog

Koi pond

I took a picture of the bricks because they caused me to feel a bit nostalgic. They created a moment of reflection of the many brick paths I’ve walked or run along in my life… Deep thoughts for pottery shopping. Maybe it’s time to go grape picking. Here was our route. 

Once we were back on the bus, we headed to Chiyoda City to visit a grape farm. We were able to eat as many grapes as we wanted in 30 minutes. 

The grapes are grown on structures that are a little over 5 feet tall. You walk underneath the grapes. We obviously were a little too tall! The lady working at the farm was the perfect height. 

Farmer on left. Tour guide on right.

Standing up in the grape vines

Grapes are covered in a bag to keep away bugs & birds.

We were given directions on how to pick the grapes. We needed to select the purplest grapes we could find by peering through the bag window. 

The grapes were ah-mazing! 

so good

The grapes were so sweet and yet had a tartness about them. My tongue was hurting by the time we finished our bunch! After a short farm visit, it was time to get back on the bus! 

Close up of route

Route to Ushiku – to show perspective


As we approached Ushiku Buddha, we could see him from the highway! He is 120m tall! The tallest Buddha statue in the world! 

Prayer wall

Bell to ring when entering

Huge incense burner

Replica of toe!

View out of Buddha

Perspective of size

Inside the Buddha are 3000+ bronze Buddha statues

One final peaceful pose

We were able to take an elevator to the fourth floor. We were told, on a clear day, you can see Tokyo Sky Tree and Mt. Fuji. Not today with our cloudy & rainy skies. 

This was our final stop and it was time to head back to Ikego. The trips are a easy and fun way to explore different parts of the country at a reasonable price. Definitely beats having to drive ourselves!!