Recently, I experienced summer season in Japan. Now this is not something new to me since I have lived in a tropical country for the pass 22 years. After three months of scourging heat and humid weather (note that Japanese summer starts from June to August), we can soon finally welcome Autumn with open arms – but not just yet!
Anyway, we traveled to Izu Peninsula for about 2 hours by car last week. It was indeed quite a long journey, I know. But the long drive was all worth it once we reached our destination, the Izu Shaboten (Cactus) Park. Located in the mountainous and high region of the Izu Peninsula, the park (which is also a safari and a garden at the same time) definitely enticed long distance visitors.
What they have are a variety of mammal and marine animals and a whole lot of other wild and domesticated species. I know, another visit in a zoo. But the amazing part is the live interaction with them. Although some are caged to prevent any kinds of danger, most of them are free to wander and are just within your reached.
But what we really came for was the huge Cactus garden inside a pyramid-like greenhouse. You can visit all the green houses through a connecting underground tunnel. Each house caters a wide range of cactus in all different sizes, shapes and color!
Most cactus are known for its natural capability to survive an extremely hot weather such as the desert. However, it may not be in the case here since Japan experiences four seasons throughout the year which caused a more unstable temperature. That is why, caretakers in the cactus garden are so careful to keep it (temperature) balance inside the green houses.
Perhaps my most favorite part of the trip was the “cactus picking” – now let me explain. In a separate green house you can enjoy picking any types of cactus you want and take them home with you. Think of it as a cactus version of a flower shop. Prizes depend on the kind of cactus ranging from 250 yen to 3500 yen. Once you picked up your personal choice, you can have it planted in a pot (note that pots are paid separately). After you have figured out the arrangement and the design of your plant should be, you can go ahead and pay it to the cashier.
As for me, I picked up four kinds of cactus and had it planted in a white big pot. I can’t tell you how excited I was to go back and display it in my room.
To fill in our hungry stomachs, we went in to some of their restaurants inside the park and dig in for lunch. The adventure didn’t end there because right after lunch, we stroll more of the area and found these amazing Aztec remains surrounding the whole Shaboten Park.
I must say coming here is a bit tricky so I highly suggest to take the Park’s bus instead. For more information don’t miss to check out their website. If you’re into nature and animal encounter, why not take the chance to visit Izu’s Shaboten Park. This is the kind of place where you can spend an entire day with your family and friends. Well, unless if you’re up for some solo adventure then why not too?