Odawara Living

Lifestyle


On the Coast, Near the Mountains and boasting great restaurants too, paradise?

 

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The Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa

"Nestled in the quiet foothills of Hakone is the impressive Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa. Opened in 2004 and awarded “World Travel Award - Japan’s Leading Spa Resort” three years in a row, this resort is the perfect place for a weekend getaway to rejuvenate oneself from the stress of city life.

The lobby is a jaw-dropper – a vast high ceiling, sunlight pouring in from the big windows and a simply decorated, spacious lounge area. The modernly designed guest rooms (rates range from 18,650 yen to 27,650 yen/person) are located in the main wing and all the 172 rooms overlook the Sagami Bay where the spectacular views combined with fresh sea air will knock years off your life.   If you want to spoil yourself, you can choose the Japanese or Western-style suites or take it a step further and indulge in one of the 10 cottages that are hidden in the garden."

--Meiko Yoshioka, Japan Today


The view from the plateau where this Odawara resort is situated is breathtaking.

The spa, and pools are amazing as well. For the kids, this resort and Yunessan in
Hakone are hard to beat!   I often take my children there to swim and enjoy the sports
facilities--basketball, table tennis, tennis, weight training and more. It is a beautiful
hotel too. Highly recommended!

The Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa is located at 583-1 Nebukawa, Odawara City, Kanagawa, 250-0024. Tel: 0465-29-1000, fax: 0465-28-1233. It is a 15-minute shuttle bus ride from Odawara Station. There is also a regular 5-minute shuttle bus service from Nebukawa Station, two stops from Odawara.

External Link:http://www.hilton.co.jp/odawara

 

100 Yen Stores in the Area

Photo by Sandra Isaka

Definitely the best thing to hit Japan recently
are the 100 yen stores. They started out small and
cheesy, but now are just fabulous! Here are the best in
Odawara: 1)Vierge-2nd floor
2)Odawara City Mall-2nd floor next to Tsutaya
3)Nagasaki-ya, top floor
4)Nak-4th floor
5)Epo-3rd? floor
Two smaller ones can
be found on the same shopping street as Epo, and
there is also a small one in Kayama.

Best buys:
decorative ornaments, kitchen gadgets, dinnerware,
stationery products, Japanese omiyage, halloween and
Christmas stuff, and more.

by Sandra Isaka

Update: More 100 Yen Stores

There is a large Daiso 100 Yen store on the second floor of the Welmi
Centre, next to Daiyuzan Station in Minami Ashigara. There is another very
large Daiso on route 255 in Oi Town (Oimachi). They have everything you can
imagine from kitchenware and tools to books, toys and artificial plants
and pots. Two huge floors and free parking.

Along the main shopping street in Kamonomiya, Odawara there is another
large Daiso across from Yamada Denki (Yamada Appliance Shop). It is near
the Mr. Donuts restaurant in Kamonomiya. Again they stock everything
you could imagine and most of it is for 100 Yen.

In Hadano Area, there are some 100 yen stores along route 246. As well
there is a very large Daiso 100 Yen shop in downtown Hadano near the
Jusco shopping mall. It is parallel to Jusco but a few blocks east.

Kevin Burns

Medical & Dental Care and Medical Insurance



English Speaking Dentists in the Area    I know a good dentist. He's my student and he can speak English very
well. I've got my teeth cleaned by him before. His office is right across
the street from city hall so pretty convenient location. His name is Dr.
Wada. I just call him "Shin". His office # is 34 8111.
-Conrad Matsumoto
 
 
 
 
 
Pictured: One of the many bamboo groves in the Odawara area.
While beautiful, it is quite a problem in Minami Ashigara.    Bamboo, much like people, likes to spread and proliferate.
 
 
 Good Doctors and Dentists

For the latest on which dentists and doctors are good, it is best to ask at the Odawara Bulletin Board or Kanagawa Living`s Forum. 

 
 
 
On Japanese Medical Insurance

Most expats usually get Japanese National Health insurance. This usually covers 70% of your medical bills including the cost of medicine. It also covers 70% of dental care. There are many competent doctors and hospitals in our area. As well if you would like medical care in English you can go to The Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic: #32 Mori Bldg., 3-4-30 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel. 03- 3436-3028 Their whole staff speaks English and they offer pretty well every medical service you could imagine. There is also a dental clinic with an English speaking staff as well. There are many competent dentists in our area too, but you may wish to go to Tokyo as the local dentists tend to take a long time to complete the dental work ie) for a filling you may need to go back 3 or 4 times to have the job completed instead of the normal one day visit in Canada. As you might expect, the medical equipment here is perhaps the most advanced in the world. Dr. Amagai is an English speaking dermatologist at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo 03-3353-1211. There are many good doctors in our area and a few speak a little English. Shiritsu Hospital in the Isaida area of Odawara is very famous. Two of my children were born there in fact. We didn't have our third there though as their policy on smoking in the hospital allowed the smoking room right next to the maternity ward. So smoke wafted into the pediatric area and the maternity area, for all the pregnant mothers and newborn babies to enjoy. I wrote a protest letter and we had our third child at Kami Hospital in Matsuda. The new wing is also good but the old wing made the national news as some newborn babies became very sick. The old wing is extremely dirty. One door even had a hole in the window. The staff however was great. So you be the judge. If we were to have a fourth a child, God forbid! We wouldn't have her or him there though.

*If you are concerned about getting sick, then I recommend getting extra insurance.
 
Getting sick in Japan can be very expensive. Not only the time in hospital but in lost wages too.

 


Foreign Food in Odawara & Minami Ashigara

Lusca in Odawara Station sells a lot of foreign food in the basement supermarket and in the Plaza store. 



"Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, lovely spam, beautiful spam...." Monty Python
I love that song!

Merry Lue`s General Store
Sells some foreign food at their address: 2659-4 Tsukahara, Minami Ashigara City, and
delivers foreign food, English books, antiques, games, hobby items and more to your door in Japan.

 
Tozan in Odawara across from McDonald's near Odawara Station has some foreign food. As well, you can order foreign food from Merry Lue`s General Store. Tengu Natural Foods has a huge selection of organic food, and they also have a website. Most Japanese supermarkets also carry some foreign food. The Fuji Supa across the street from Tsukahara School carries a little foreign food, as does Piago located near Daiyuzan Station near Kevin`s Iizawa English School.
 
 
 
The supermarket in Kanagawa's largest shopping mall, Robinson's has a lot of foreign food. Robinsons and Odawara City Mall, a sister mall right next to it, are both located in Kamonomiya. Best to take a bus from Kamonomiya Station on the Tokaido Line. It is a great place to shop if you want clothes, food or have children. The best stores and shopping areas in our area are reviewed in The Odawara Bulletin Board.

 

Western Food Restaurants: As well as McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken there are many great European restaurants sprinkled around Odawara and Minami Ashigara Shi.
See our Odawara Restaurant Guide also here, for details on the local dining scene.

 
Cafe Natural in Shimosoga is one of my favourites. You will need to go by car. For more on local places to eat and drink read our Odawara Restaurant Guide which has ratings and reviews of many of our local restaurants.

 
As it is near where the Plum Festival takes place, it might be a nice place to eat if you go to the festival. The interior is also relaxing rustic wooden tables and chairs. There are many great Italian restaurants in Odawara. 
 
 
 
Best to ask your students or friends where to go. Caprichosa near Midori Cho Station on the Daiyuzan line is very good and reasonable. They also have a friendly, lively staff. There is another nice Italian restaurant, called Trottori in the WelmiCentre near Daiyuzan Station in Minami Ashigara. It is on the first floor in the same building as McDonald's. You must enter from the street side.
 
 
 
For Pizza lovers Pizza La and Pizza Hut will deliver just like back home. As well as the great tasting pizza that you are familiar with, you can tryexotic types like the Idaho Potato Pizza and Pizzas covered in variouskinds of low level sea life. I don't recommend the sealife pizzas myself. I usually go for Italian Basil. Pizza La 73-8900. For Sushi 0465-70-3066. The Odawara Bulletin Board has up to date reviews of some of the local eatieries.

 
 
No Smoke Tokyo lists non-smoking restaurants and bars in Tokyo. Tokyo of course boasts perhaps the most restaurants in one city. You will never be able to try all the fantastic restaurants there. Check out The Tokyo Journal for a great listing of Tokyo's gastronomic offerings.



Books in Odawara & Minami Ashigara


Bookstores:

Epo in Odawara not only has a huge selection of Cds, it also carries some English books on the same floor. Of course you always have Trafford or Amazon.Com but if you want to go to an actual store there is Good Day Books near Ebisu Station on the Yamanote line in Tokyo. They carry Tokyo's largest selection of used English books. They also sell new books. Kinokuniya near Shinjuku Station East Exit has almost the whole 6th floor devoted to new English books. As well: Tower Records near Shibuya Station, Jena in Ginza: 5-6-1 Ginza, Chuo Ku, 03-3571-2980.

Best area for used books:
"The Kanda district near Jimbocho Station has many bookstores on either side of the station for 300 metres. Kitazawa Shoten is probably the best. Kitazawa Shoten: 2-5 Jimbocho, Kanda, Chiyoda Ku, 03-3263-0011.Best store for Japanese textbooks: Bojinsha: Kojimachi New Yahiko Bldg. 2Fl, 6-2 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku 03-3239-8673. Caravan Used Book Store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Bookoff also in Tokyo, sells used books at cheap prices but have a limited selection. You should go there for the used CDs. There is a Bookoff in Machida, check their homepage for the exact location. Bookstores in Japan--a huge list of stores and directions.Kanda Book Town.

Want to donate your books? Send them to: Kevin`s English Schools Library, 2659-4 Tsukahara, Minami Ashigara Shi, Kanagawa Ken 250-0117 Japan. Your books will be read by students and teachers. Any English book in used or new condition will be greatly appreciated! We thank all of our previous donors! We now have a nice library and our staff and students really enjoy it!
 
At the Odawara library there may be a few English books. The large new library in Kamonomiya, Odawara doesn`t have any English books.  
 
 
The Odawara Christian Centre, next to Odawara Station
(Shinkansen Side) offers a library open to the public.    You
can donate English books to them as well.


Tokai University just north on the Odakyu Line has many
English books.  I think some members of the public may borrow those books.
 
Hadano Public Library has many English books and it is just down the Odakyu Line from Odawara--about 15-20 minutes on the train if that, from Odawara Station. The big public library near Machida Station on the Odakyu line has many English books and magazines. The public library near Hon-Atsugi Station has some English books and videos that you can watch for free right in the library!

The Canadian Embassy has a 15,000 book library free for the public to use. Check the Townpage telephone directory for more. British Council 1-2 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku 03-3235-8031 Open Mon-Fri, American Centre: 2-6-3 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo Mon-Fri, 03-3436-0901 Only Japanese can take books out but anyone can go there to read. Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library has 90,000 foreign books! It is adjacent to Arisugawa Park in Hiroo. Open everyday. 03-3442-8451. The Odawara Christian Centre used to have a library and may still do--located near Odawara Station near the Shinkansen exit. The Odawara International Lounge offers English newspapers, free Japanese lessons, magazines and some books. You can go there to meet people too.


Living in the Odawara Area


Buying a Computer:
Currently you can buy a very good computer in the Odawara area for around 80,000 Yen. Nojima is a good place to buy a computer cheaply and there are many Nojima stores in the area. Yamada Denki would also be a good place to buy one/Prices have dropped by about 80 percent from five years ago! I recently picked up an Emachine computer in Akihabara without a monitor for 52,000 Yen! It is the best computer we own and it was a great deal ! Do a search at google for Dell Japan. They sell some great computers I am told. For my next computer I will probably buy from Dell.

Japanese Lessons:
The Odawara International Lounge offers almost free Japanese lessons and the teachers are great! Go to the Lounge (next to Odawara`s Main post office) and find out
which days and times are best for your level of Japanese.

If you work for Kevin`s English Schools we offer free Japanese lessons to you! There are also free Japanese lessons offered at the Odawara Christian Centre. The Odawara International Club offers Japanese lessons as well. You can advertise for a Japanese teacher at The Odawara Bulletin Board .

English Newspapers & Magazines:
 Japan Living Magazine
 Has stories about life in Japan.
 
Japan Living Blog
This is owned and edited by yours truly so please check us out too!

Japan Living Forum
This is a huge and lively Yahoo Group!We were featured on Yahoo Group`s Editor`s Page and reviewed favourably there. Join our forum about life in Japan!



The Tokyo Jounal has many opinionated articles about life in Japan as well as event information.

Sports & Exercise:
Toshi Miura teaches yoga at various venues in Minami Ashigara and is fluent in English. You can find out his contact information by posting at the Odawara Bulletin Board. Minami Ashigara Sports Centre is only a 25 minute walk from Kevin`s Tsukahara School. It has a small workout area, a running track, a pool, tennis courts, a soccer field, many gyms, aikido, karate, shorenji kempo and judo classes. There are also many sports clubs in the area. You can check with Odawara City Hall and Minami Ashigara City Hall to obtain a list of all the clubs. There is an extensive magazine in Japanese that lists all the clubs--not only sports clubs but art and everything else in between. There are literally hundreds of clubs.



Telephone:

Skype! Skype! Skype! This is the way to go.

Keep in mind that in Japan you are charged for all phone calls based upon how far away the listener is and how long you talk. The longer you talk the more you pay. In view of this, many people rely on email here, much more than back home. If you want to call friends and relatives back home it is good to set up your own callback service account. I recommend Worldlink, and as far as I know, it is still the cheapest to North America. It is also the largest callback company, so it won't go out of business anytime soon, and their service has been pretty reliable. There are many callback services available. Another newer and probably better idea is to get an internet phone account with Yahoo or another provider. You wiill probably need a Japanese friend to look into that for you, to find the best deal for you, as these services are always changing. My understanding is that this is a good deal if you are going to phone your country of origin often. If you aren`t it isn`t necessary.The new skype system is interesting. It allows you to call home for pennies!


Living in Odawara & Minami Ashigara City



Photo of Ashigara Pass by Shawn Thir
 
 
by Kevin Burns
 
Odawara
 
Just where is Odawara you may be wondering, and where do they get those fantastic umeboshi from? 
 
Odawara is a city of 200,000 located near the Izu Penninsula in south-west Kanagawa Prefecture. We are one hour south of Yokohama by regular express train and 80 minutes south of Tokyo via the Odakyu line. The umeboshi are pickled plums in English, and if you love salty food, you have to try them. There are plum trees throughout the area and there is a plum festival celebrating this bounty in February. Odawara is also famous for kamaboko a kind of fish version of spam that many Japanese love. We have a fantastic castle with a moat, and cherry trees. You really should see it if you come to Japan. We also boast the largest shopping centre in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Minami Ashigara,
 
 borders Odawara and has about 45,000 citizens. All Japanese older than 4 know that Kintaro a famous fairy tale took place here. Minami Ashigara was voted as having the best water in Japan, and that is why Fuji Film chose this small city to make its` film (a water intensive process), and Asahi Beer built its` latest high tech brewery in our city. We are located in a pleasant river valley of rice fields, businesses and fantastic views of Mount Fuji.



Banking: 
 
Sagami Tribank is a good, reliable bank if you can find one near you. I have dealt with them for over a decade with no problems. They seem to have avoided many of the pitfalls that put larger banks under. The drawback of the Minami Ashigara branches are that there are virtually no English speaking staff. I have never met any, but there may be some. Some of my friends have used Citibank. With Citibank all banking can be done by phone in English including exchanging Yen to $ when the $ is low.Although branches are only in Tokyo and Yokohama, you can open an account by mail. You can also get acredit card that gives you Northwest Airlines air miles. Otherwise Daichi Kangyo in Odawara is good because they have some English speaking staff and a cash machine. It is located across from the fish market and has a red and white sign. The Bank of Yokohama near Odawara Station seems to be a good bank as well. Take it for what it is worth. I am not an expert on Japanese banking by any means. Back

Internet: 
 
There are internet cafes in Odawara but they come and go, so it is best to check at The Odawara Bulletin Board to see where they currently exist. You can get good service from various webservers in our area. I used to use So-Net--a Sony company, as it is cheaper than many for basic service. There is virtually no English support though apart from a very limited webpage. One plus with so-net is you can pay by automatic withdrawl with a credit card. I hate having to go and pay at the bank every month. I have never been overcharged.

Pat-net is good but expensive. They are not as foreigner friendly as So-net. Only one member of the staff seems to understand any English and his English is quite limited. They do not seem interested in getting or keeping the business of the expatriat population of the area. You can do better with So-net or some of the others. So-net seems to have support in English by Email, but one of our teachers had trouble when he tried to get English support over the phone, the woman who called him back only spoke Japanese. OCN comes highly rated but I have never used them. I don't know if they have support in English.

I don`t recommend OCN based on the fact that so many of my friends have had trouble getting hooked up--software conflicts and other problems. With so-net my wife was able to get things working by calling their service department and of course solving the problem while speaking Japanese.

Yahoo BB is good, plus you can call home for a discounted rate with their phone service. I like theirservice so far. I have now switched to Yahoo BB from So-net. Update: Overall I think Yahoo BB is the best for internet.though in 2006, there still is not a lot of English support. You will need a Japanese friend to help you get hooked up anddeal with problems. You might be able to get an English speaking staffer at Yahoo but I don`t guarantee that."Actually, there is an English application and support site forYahoo! BB. The support is unofficial, but not too bad. Main site is here:"http://bbapply.com--James

Hotmail:
 
 
I actually use a hotmail address for my business as I have found their antivirus software great. It does look a little cheap as an address but it sure is safe. I receive many files from all over the world as teachers apply for positions with our schools, and hotmail has saved us from many viruses. I used regular antivirussoftware plus my domain address before, and lost our computer. Nasty! I may change to Yahoo thoughas it looks a little more professional than hotmail. I don`t mean the quality, I mean the impression theaddress gives. As one reader wrote: "You look fly-by-night with a hotmail address."


Places and Clubs of Interest in Odawara


小田原 Odawara Living 小田原 
"Finally found a place that I might like to live. Went to Odawara today. I've been torn because I have wanted to live near the Pacific Ocean and the mountains and have easy access to Tokyo. Odawara has all three and is so close to Hakone, Atami and Izu. Also, there are so many trains passing through Odawara....easy to connect to various cities."
 
--Neil Stalnaker
 
 
General Information About Living in Odawara

Places of Interest in Odawara

The Odawara International Lounge:
 
 
0465-24-7760, 15-19, 1 Chome Sakaecho,Odawara. Sakaecho Parking Lot, third floor. Located next to the Odawara Post Office. It is in the nicest parkade you will ever find, built to look like an old Japanese building. In this very comfortable lounge, you will find magazines and newspapers in English. Any foreigner can come and use the facilities here for free. The aim of the lounge is to provide useful information to foreign residents and for supporting activities of international volunteer groups and international exchange activities. It really deserves more use and publicity. A nice place to relax. Japanese lessons every Monday from 10:30AM, cost ¥100!

The Odawara Christian Centre:
 
0465-34-2438(English), 34-2796 (Japanese) Tues-Fri. 9AM-5PM). They hold church services in English and Japanese. They also offer free Japanese classes for foreigners. Community Counseling in English is offered in Yokohama, for inquiries call Scott Smith at 03-3968-4084. Free confidential telephone counseling at 03-3968-4099.

****************************************************************************************Odawara Odawara International Friendship Association:
 
 0465-33-1707, Japanese class: 24-5649. A great website with a lot of information about the city. Maybe the best! It even has a clickable map of the downtown area.


Apparel and Accessories at National Geographic

Natural & Organic Food in Odawara


Try MOA organic food store sorta around the corner from Quatre Feuilles Patisserie in Shiroyama. It doesn't have a huge selection or anything, but you can get typical Jpnese stuff. And surely you already know about Radish Boya or that type of delivery/member service. You can`t pick and choose what you get though.
--Kir

"By the way, I use Radish Boy, an organic food delivery system for our day to day regular products. I've used Co-op before but I switched to Radish Boya (more expensive) for the quality. I could not believe what I was eating was less than acceptible for me, till I tasted the tomatoes from Radish Boya. Picked in the morning and sent to you the same day, when I opend the packages I almost felt like i was in the farm. ie strong beautiful scent of the vegetables."
--Natasha Watts, Tokyo with Kids.com

You can also order from Alishan
Tengu is a mail order service for organic vegetarian foods, environmentally sound cleaning supplies and more to make life just that much happier and healthier. We ship anywhere in Japan in just a few days (all things being as they should). Place your Tengu order now with a few simple steps to share in the goodness:

* CALL! Feel free to contact us with any questions about products' ingredients, manufacture, storage, availability, etc. Someone's always up for a chat.
* VISIT! Tengu is based in the Alishan Organic Center on the banks of the Koma River in Saitama. Do stop by to sample Alishan Cafe's vegetarian organic menu or to shop direct for Tengu products and seasonal organic vegetables at our weekends-only Tengu Store. We're located one short hour from Ikebukuro by train. Check the cafe hours and map. And let us know when you come by-- it's always fun to put faces to familiar names.
* ORDER! Order by post, fax, phone, email, or right here online in English or Japanese. Use our fax or email order forms or make your own. For optimum service, please make sure that your delivery information is clear and complete, and that it includes your postal code and your home, work and fax numbers, as well as your email address, as applicable. If you know what day and time you'll be available to receive your order, throw that in there too! All prices listed include tax. See the Shipping & Returns below for more detailed information.
* PAY! Your orders will be delivered CASH ON DELIVERY. If you'd prefer to pay by credit card, please give us a call or fax us your card name, number and expiry date (UFJ Card, VISA or MasterCard accepted).
* ENJOY!

Happy days,
The staff of Tengu


Another home delivery organic store is Oisix.



The Foreign Buyers` Club also offers some organic food.

A bit of FBC history...
FBC Shop

I came to Japan in 1985 with a "real job" and expected to stay a year or two. After a year I brought Kelly over- we got married - and started our life together in Kobe. Well, Kelly loved all the Japanese food and I was okay with some of it like fried chicken but missed Mexican and bagels and breakfast cereal and peanut butter - those things. So, on the side, we worked on a way to import these items for us and our friends using the personal import system. People were pretty excited and soon we had a couple of thousand families ordering several thousand items every week! In 1989 we completed our first full year of being a business and had our first baby, Kristin, so we started looking for things for her - Barney videos, books for story time, along with the diapers and Earth's best baby food and all that. Then, we had 2 more little girls in under 5 years! Yikes! What were we thinking?! And, so did all our friends! At one point there were 3 of us families and we each had 3 girls - play group was our 9 girls! So, everyone wanted videos and books and games (Candyland!) and that service was born!

Then a couple of the big International schools approached us and said - since you send over containers every week and you seem to be buying from many of the same source we get things from lets work together - so we did and now we do most of the shopping for most of the major International Schools in Japan (and some others around Asia as well.) Its the same concept. We are buyers not sellers and we represent a small group of people and go get what they want and need for them. We enjoy the community aspect of it and know most, well, lots of our members and enjoy a good relationship. So that's our story. We have been doing this now for over 20 years! Who would have thought? Certainly not us! Its good fun though and we enjoy meeting the new members and bringing in new and fun items - from pumpkins at Halloween to thousands of turkeys at the holidays - so let us know who you are and what you need and we'll work on it for you! If you're in Kobe drop by, but now with our cool new website and database we can probably do most things for you from here.Chuck and family



Talk soon,

Chuck, Kelly, Lindsey, Kristin, Sydney, Madiso


Of course there is also Costco in Japan and the Flying Pig will deliver Costco
items right to your door anywhere in Japan!

The COSTCO in Kanazawa (Yokohama
http://www.costco.com/
But here's the address:
2-6 Sachiura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 236-0003
Tel: 045(791)6001 Fax: 045(782)3489

And here's Machida's address:

3-6-1 Oyamagaoka, Machida-shi, Tokyo 194-0215
tel: 042(798)6001, Fax: 042(798)6002

I seem to remember that the train station is quite far at the Makuhari store, but that Costco has a bus from the station to their store.
The Costco is very far from Machida Station. You really need to drive or order
from Flying Pig.