Hello everyone !

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This morning I had the chance to be able to spend some time in the south of Aso, in places known as Takamori and Minami Aso. There is so many interesting things to do all around Aso city itself and that's why I thought it would be a good idea to write a series of articles about these places even if sometimes they are not really easy to reach especially with public transportation. Nethertheless if you can rent a car it is a good opportunity to discover many hidden or not so well known spots.

So today I will introduce you to the Manga train! This train is running between Takamori and Nakamatsu station on the Minami Aso train line. This private train line is in difficulty since the earthquake last year and there is still one part of the line that is still close today (Between Nakamatsu and Tateno). Various manga artists cooperated to support the area in its recovery process and the result is the colorful train you can see on the pictures. I'm sure that wherever you come from, you can recognize some of the famous characters featuring on the train. 

The English online version of the Asahi Shimbun wrote an article about this train and you can also watch the video they made by following this link: http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704160023.html

This train isn't the only thing I had the chance to see this morning so you can expect a new article in this "Around Aso city" series soon! See you soon in Aso!

 
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Hello everyone !
Bonjour !

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Last year, I wrote an article on this blog about cycling in Aso. It is still available and you can read it by following this link: https://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/denku_franck2711/56262356.html.
Lately cycling is becoming even more popular and with the good weather coming there will be more cyclist in and around Aso. A few days ago there was an event starting from Michi no Eki Aso where around forty people gathered here before going away on their bicycles.  

L'année dernière, j'ai écrit un article sur ce blog concernant le vélo à Aso. Celui-ci est d'ailleurs toujours disponible et vous pouvez le consulter via le lien suivant: https://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/denku_franck2711/56262356.html.
Dernièrement le vélo est de plus en plus populaire dans la région et avec l'arrivée du beau temps le nombre de cycliste à et autour d'Aso va certainement augmenter. Il y a quelques jours de cela, un rassemblement d'une quarantaine de cyclistes environ a eu lieu devant Michi no Eki Aso. 

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There is more information about cycling in Aso too. There is for example a free brochure called Asobo Aso specifically for cyclists. Unfortunately this brochure is only in Japanese but if you need any information or even a quick translation of one of the articles inside, you can just ask us at our information desk. 
We also received three brochures in both Japanese and English each proposing different courses according to your level (easy, intermediate and advanced) as well as useful information about etiquette or in case you get lost or have a problem with your bike. Each brochure contains a map and a brief description of the different spots you'll stop by. These brochures are free and available here at Michi no Eki Aso.

Les informations concernant le cyclisme à Aso sont également plus nombreuses. Une brochure du nom de Asobo Aso est par exemple destinée exclusivement aux cyclistes. Elle n'est malheureusement disponible qu'en japonais mais si vous désirez la moindre information ou voire même que nous vous traduisions grossièrement un de ses articles, il vous suffit de venir nous demander au bureau d'informations. 
Nous avons aussi reçu trois brochures (en anglais et japonais) proposant différent parcours (facile, intermédiaire ou difficile) ainsi que des informations utiles sur l'étiquette ou sur savoir quoi faire en cas de problème avec votre vélo. Ces brochures sont disponibles gratuitement ici même à Michi no Eki Aso et contiennent une carte ainsi qu'un bref descriptif des lieux d'intérêt.

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We also offer as a free service to lend you a bicycle pump in case you need it. We also have road bike inner tubes available for sale at our information desk for 1330 yen. I'm far from being an expert in bicycle but we have two different size available: 700x28-35C and 700x18-26C. 

Nous proposons également en tant que service gratuit, le prêt d'une pompe a vélo au cas ou vous en auriez besoin. Des chambres à air sont aussi disponibles à la vente pour 1330 yen. Je suis loin d'être un expert mais il est possible de choisir entre deux "tailles" différentes: 700x28-35C et 700x18-26C. 

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Maybe I should try one of these days to go on a ride with my bicycle in Aso. I'm sure it is one of the best ways to enjoy all the different sceneries here. And to be honest I may need to do some exercise :)
See you soon in Aso ! And on your bike too!

Je devrais peut etre me lancer le défi de venir faire du vélo sur Aso. Je suis certain que c'est l'une des meilleures façons de profiter des paysages du coin. Et pour être honnête j'aurais bien besoin de faire un peu d'exercice :)
A bientôt sur Aso! Et en vélo! 

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Otohime Shrine Spring Festival

Hello everyone !

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We're in a time of the year where there is a lot of events and festivals. Today one of these festivals was held at Otohime Shrine. Otohime is the name of this area in Aso city. It takes about ten minutes by car to reach it from Aso station. In this area you can also find many restaurants or accommodations (this is also where you can find the Otohime Pension Village) I already introduced on this blog such as the restaurant Himeji or the Minshuku (traditional inn) Asobe. 

This morning, my colleague, Sakamoto-san, went there and were able to take many pictures I can now share with all of you. This is a local festival and of course everyone is welcome. It is also the occasion for the kids living in the area to participate by carrying on their shoulder a Mikoshi (a kind of transportable shrine). In fact this Shrine was famous for helping to cure kids diseases in the past. Today Festival was to celebrate the arrival of spring. I really think that this is the kind of event to go to if you want to feel some connection with locals in Japan country side. I let you enjoy the pictures!

Do not forget that tomorrow Aso Marché will be held in Uchinomaki area. Follow this link fore more information: https://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/denku_franck2711/56387189.html

See you soon in Aso!

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Saigandenji festival report

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This morning I had the chance to go to the Saigandenji temple festival. This temple is situated only 10 minutes away by foot from Michi no Eki Aso and Aso station. And that's how I went there this morning because after a few rainy and cloudy days we finally have a very sunny day today. 

Kumamoto prefecture is known as Hi no Kuni (land of fire) and this is especially true in Aso where there is one of the most active volcano in Japan. It is not a surprise then to see that there is so many celebration in Aso related to fire. The festival this morning is another good example because the main part is that the participants can experience fire walking over hot embers. This is the first time since I work in Aso that I am able to see and participate in this famous popular festival. And yes I was a little anxious about walking barefoot over hot embers but in the end I just walk calmly and everything was fine. It seems that if you run over it, there is a chance that you may burn yourself. 

I was happy to see that there was many people participating or just watching. I also saw some foreigners but I didn't have the time to go talk to them. I also took some time to visit the rest of the temple and the cherry trees nearby. In the end I can tell that I spend a really good time there and being part of this festival by experiencing fire walking was really fun. But maybe I shouldn't say that to much. I'm supposed to work here ;) 

See you soon in Aso!

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Hello everyone !

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As you may have seen on many websites about Japan, it is now the season for cherry blossom to bloom. I f you have Japanese friends or friends that are actually in Japan you must have seen many pictures via social networks such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. So you must wonder why there wasn't any pictures of cherry blossom in Aso. This is because Aso is on an elevated ground where the temperatures are colder. That doesn't mean that there isn't any cherry trees here in Aso but it just takes longer to bloom here. 

This year Michi no Eki Aso is providing and updating every day a map to show how the blossoming is going on in the area. This map is available on our website or directly via the following link: http://www.aso-denku.jp/sakuramap/. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to make an English version of this map but this is something we definitely think about for next year. Anyway, Aso station is around the center of the map and you can click on each location to get more detailed information such as a restaurants or onsens around or even an access map via google. If you're looking to know if the place you want to go will be full bloom just scroll down on the page with the area map and look at the little cherry flowers. If there is only one of these flowers, that means that it is just starting to bloom. You need to see ten cherry flowers if you're looking for somewhere where its full bloom. 

Of course you can also expect to see some pictures on this blog in the days to come. For now I just inserted pictures from previous years to give you an idea. See you soon in Aso!

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