Hayama is a popular day trip destination near Tokyo, a lovely oceanside spot carrying the definition of “sophisticated countryside” with nice restaurants, cafes and shops. It is mostly known for its Imperial Villa (the Japanese Imperial Family has maintained a residence there since 1894) and summer residences for the wealthy. In other words, it was the perfect weekend destination for my 69-year-old mother and 42-year-old me. The best part? My kids were to stay behind for a day, letting me enjoy my special date with mom.
We found out about Savvy Tokyo’s Hayama Girls Trip giveaway contest when a good friend of mine shared the information on my Facebook page. I thought it would be a perfect way to spend a relaxing time with my mother alone and also to get away from our busy daily life.
My mom still works as an English teacher at a private junior high school, and she also teaches at home. She is always busy socializing with many friends, something about her I’ve always respected and loved, but it’s hard to get her to set aside the whole day just for me. And as a mother of two boys in elementary school, a wife of a typical salaryman (meaning crazy work hours), who’s also freelancing from home and working on various projects every day, I myself barely have time to spend time with her.
I honestly didn’t think we would win, but I’m so glad we did!
It was great that I could spend a whole day with my mother alone.
The prize from the contest was a pair of tickets that the Keikyu Line offers called the “Hayama Excursion Ticket,”or “Joshi (girl’s) Tabi Kippu” in Japanese, though men are also able to buy it!
The ticket costs around ¥3,000 (varies depending on the boarding station) and includes a round-trip train ride from your nearest Keikyu Line station to Shinzushi station in Kanagawa. It also includes unlimited bus rides in Hayama, a meal voucher, and a gift voucher.
Buying the tickets is extremely easy: all you have to do is just stop by at the ticket machine at any Keikyu Line station. On the touchscreen, you simply choose “お得なきっぷ” (Discount Ticket), following which you get to select the destination and ticket type — in this case, the Hayama Excursion Ticket. You’ll get three tickets to cover your transport, meal and a gift per person).
Once you get to Shinzushi station, the bus stop for traveling around is right at the south exit. The Number 2 bus goes to most of the places that are partnered with this ticket. You can find the details of these places on the official Hayama Excursion Ticket website.
A morning at the museum
One of the destinations I was eager to go to was the Museum of Modern Art, Hayama. Art is my passion and I try to go to museums and art galleries whenever I have a chance. The Alvar Aalto exhibition was going on at this time. As it turns out, my Swedish mother was also very excited to see her favorite artist from Finland! His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware, as well as sculptures and paintings.
I personally liked his ceiling fixtures which have a clever design that simulates natural light. His work was displayed beautifully in different styles. We could sit on one of his signature chairs and look at the blue sky and ocean through the windows.
The museum shop is one of the places where you can exchange your gift voucher. Small but with a nice selection of art books and goods, we could have gotten a tote bag and tiny colored pencils but we decided to explore other shops before deciding what to get.
Next to the shop was the restaurant “Orange Bleue” with a beautiful ocean view. This is also one of the places where you can eat using the lunch voucher that comes with the Excursion Ticket.
A stroll and lunch
There was a nice walking path from the museum to the beach through a park called Hayama Shiosai Park. We saw many people having picnics under the trees with the nice sea breeze. Inspired, we decided to have lunch as well at one of the restaurants nearby.
Engawa cafe & space is a cozy restaurant within walking distance from the museum. It has a nostalgic Japanese vibe with many handmade goods sold inside. It was crowded and we had to wait for a while (I would recommend you reserve on weekends) but the wait was definitely worth it.
We each got a seiro mushi lunch set with the Hayama Excursion Ticket voucher. It’s a dish where meat and vegetables are cooked in a bamboo steamer. There were two different dipping sauces; sesame and ponzu (yuzu flavor), plus sobako (buckwheat) soup, shirasu (whitefish) salad, and grain rice. All the dishes were delicious and the atmosphere was perfect for a relaxing Saturday lunch.
Donuts for dessert
As much as what Engawa cafe & space offered for dessert sounded delicious, we decided to head to Misaki Donuts, another spot where you can use your Hayama Excursion Ticket.
My mother has lived in Japan for almost 40 years but is still not a big fan of Japanese sweets. We had to take the bus all the way back to the station, but it took only about 10-15 minutes. Since we went for a healthy lunch, we decided to eat two donuts each! It was hard to choose from their selections, but in the end, we ate chocolate with cream, lemon cheesecake, raspberry white chocolate and caramel walnuts, and coffee of course!
We could use our gift voucher here, but we wanted to check out Teala tea specialty shop instead which is located in the same area.
The tea shop was about five minutes walk from Misaki Donuts. They had many flavored teas and we could choose two packs of tea from their selection. My mother decided to use her voucher and bought some raspberry and white peach teas to take home.
Sunsets and shrines
After our coffee break, it was time to visit the famous Morito Shrine. If you’re lucky you can see a beautiful sunset from the beach too. On our way there, we stopped at Hayama Asahiya meat shop to pick up a souvenir for my boys using my gift voucher. They love croquette and yakibuta (pork), so I thought I found the perfect gift to take home. This meat shop, using locally raised Hayama beef, has been popular among local people for 100 years. If you’re a meat lover, this is definitely a great place to check out.
Morito Shrine was just one stop from the meat shop so we walked. It stands facing the sea, and if the weather is fine you can see Mt. Fuji and Enoshima Island on the other side. There is also a wonderful sandy beach which spreads just in front of Morito Shrine called Morito Kaigan.
The shrine has a history of more than 850 years. I decided to draw an omikuji (fortune slip) to test my luck. I got shokichi which means a “little” bit of luck. I’ll take it!
The sky started to turn pink in the evening. We met many people walking their dogs at the beach. My parents are dog lovers, and they currently have a collie (a huge dog!) so my mom got all excited to see all of the dogs at the beach.
We waited for the sunset together with all of the happy dogs and their owners. Maybe it was my “little” luck but a big cloud came so the sky didn’t turn completely red as we hoped, just a little pink and orange, and there was no view of Mt. Fuji, but it was still magical with the silhouette of the shrine in the background.
It was time to go home. We were not tired but we had a long way to go back. Both me and my mom were very satisfied with our little getaway trip to Hayama. It was great that I could spend a whole day with my mother alone. I have to say it’s very rare that just the two of us do things together. I felt relaxed being away from my daily obligations and I’m sure my mother enjoyed the time with one of her daughters too. We definitely want to go back someday, and we might even take my little sister next time!
More about the Hayama Excursion Ticket
The Hayama Excursion Ticket from Keikyu offers the chance to explore the lovely coastal towns of Hayama and nearby Zushi for much cheaper than with regular transport. For only around ¥3,000, the ticket covers round-trip transportation from Tokyo and Keikyu bus transportation within Hayama, includes a meal at one of 20 stylish restaurants and also allows you to exchange a voucher for a local souvenir — which could be anything from beach sandals to cookies. You can read more about the ticket on the Keikyu Website or check out the video below. (The Hayama Excursion Ticket can be purchased at any Keikyu Line stations except for Sengakuji, Haneda Airport International Terminal, Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal and Shinzushi.)
For more information and destinations in Hayama, see this website.
About Anna and her mother
Anna Higuchi: A freelance illustrator, designer and photo editor, Anna was born in Sweden but grew up in Japan. She studied and worked in both Sweden and New York. After her first son was born in New York, she and her husband moved to Japan to be closer to family and they’re now enjoying Tokyo suburban life with their two boys.
Gunilla Okabe: Ana’s mom is from Sweden and has lived in Japan for 39 years. She’s looking forward to retirement next year after more than 30 years of being an English teacher.
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