15 BEST Day Trips from Tokyo in Spring

15 BEST Day Trips from Tokyo in Spring

This article introduces you to the 15 BEST day trips from Tokyo.

Are you planning to visit Tokyo this spring? If so, you are at the perfect place! Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities to explore, but people tend to forget about Tokyo’s many different neighborhoods… There are actually lots of cultural and historical gems to explore around Tokyo!

As I am Japanese, I know a lot of incredible sights, especially for spring! Since Tokyo is well organized for transportation, there are numerous perfect day trip destinations around the area. Here are the BEST day trips from Tokyo, which are all less than 2 hours away! I will introduce you to what to see and how to get to each destination. 


Hitachi Seaside Park

Day trips from Tokyo
Day trips from Tokyo

Hitachi Seaside Park probably offers the best flower fields in Japan, and it is only one hour northeast of Tokyo by train. Although there are many different kinds of flowers and grasses throughout the four seasons, the most popular ones are nemophila and kochia. If you want to see the field of nemophila (the beautiful blue flowers on the photo), you should visit between the middle of April and the beginning of May.

To access to Hitachi Seaside Park, I recommend you take a train from Tokyo. From any central Tokyo station (Tokyo, Shinagawa, or Ueno Station), take JR Joban line to Katsuta Station. It takes about 85 minutes by an express train, and the price will be 3,800 yen. If you are not in a hurry, take a local train, which takes 2 hours and costs 2,270 yen. Once you are at Katsua station, take a local bus (Ibaraki Kotsu Bus) at East gate No. 2. It usually takes 15 minutes – 20 minutes and the price will be 400 yen per person.


Ashikaga Flower Park

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo
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Ashikaga Flower Park is located 1.5 to 2 hours away from Tokyo, and it is famous for its beautiful wisteria. There are more than 350 wisterias during the spring, and the most famous displays are the 80m wisteria tunnels, which visitors can walk through the colorful flowers. The best time to see wisterias is between the mid-April and the mid-May.

The easiest way to access Ashikaga Flower Park from Tokyo is to take a bullet train. First you will take a Tohoku bullet train and get off at Koyama Station (the 2nd station). Once you are at Koyama Station, you will take JR Ryomo Line to get off at Ashikaga Flower Park (the 6th station). The price is 3,990 yen per way, and it will take 1 hour 40 minutes.


Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Maybe you have never heard of shibazakura, but it’s definitely worth seeing it especially if you are in Japan in spring! Fuji Shibazakura Festival is famous for approximately 800,000 stalks of shibazakura (Pink Moss) with Mount Fuji in the backdrop. Shibazakura makes the whole field such a delightful pink color, and the color contrast of Mount Fuji is just breathtaking. The best season to visit Fuji Shibazakura Festival is always between mid-April and late-May. For more, check out here.

If you decide to visit there, I recommend you also check out its food fiesta called Mt Fuji Gourmet! They sell different kinds of local food, such as yakisoba, udon, croquettes, dumplings, tempura, pork buns, etc. They also sell different kinds of traditional sweets, so you can’t miss it!

Fuji Shibazakura Fest is held at Fuji Motosuko Resort, which is just an easy day trip from Tokyo. The easiest way to visit is to take a special highway bus called “Chuo Highway Bus” at Shinjuku Station. It will take you directly from Shinjuku to Shibazakura Fest and it’s going to take 1 hour and 50 minutes to get there!


Hakone

Day Trips from Tokyo
Day Trips from Tokyo

Hakone is famous for its Onsen and amazing views of Mount Fuji, and it is one of the most popular destinations among Japanese people who are looking for a break from the urban city. Plus, it is only an hour hour away from Tokyo so it is a perfect destination for a day trip. Other than hot springs, Hakone offers great spots to visit, such as Hakone Shrine and Odakyu Yamano Hotel.

Hakone Shrine is located at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi. Hakone shrine is especially famous for its huge torii gates, standing peacefully in the lake.

Odakyu Yamano Hotel is just 10 minutes walk from Hakone Shrine. It is famous for 30 varieties of azaleas in the garden, and you can access the garden even if you don’t stay at the hotel. The best month to see azaleas is May.

The easiest way to get to Hakone is to take an express train called “Romancecar” from Shinjuku. The price is 2,080 yen (1,190 yen fare plus an 890-yen limited express fare).


Kamakura

Kamakura is the most popular day trip destination from Tokyo! It is located in the southern part of Kanagawa prefecture, just an hour away from Tokyo. If you don’t have time to visit Kyoto, Kamakura is a great place to feel the ancient part of Japan. There are many amazing spots to explore in Kamakura, but some of the most famous spots you can’t miss are Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hokokuji Temple, and Giant Buddha at Kōtoku-in.

Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most historical and important shrine in Kamakura. It was founded over 800 years ago. If you are in Kamakura, it’s a must!

Hokokuji Temple is also a great place to visit. Hokokuji Temple is known for its garden with over 2,000 dark green bamboo stalks. There is also a small Japanese style cafe inside the garden where you can enjoy the fresh matcha tea and the view of bamboo.

A historical Giant Buddha is located in Kōtoku-in. The buddha is 11.4 meters high and recognized as the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.

The easiest way to access to Kamakura is to Take JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station. It is a direct train to Kamakura Station, and it will take an hour to get there. The price is 920 yen per way.


Enoshima

Day Trips from Tokyo
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If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo the tropical island, Enoshima, is the place to be! It is not the most beautiful beach in Japan, but it has some of the closest beaches to Tokyo. Enosima is located just outside of Kamakura, and it only takes an hour to get there! Enoshima also offers other sights, such as Enoshima Shrine, Enoshima Iwaya Cave, and many restaurants, so it is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo.

The easiest and cheapest way to go to Enoshima is to get an “Enoshima・Kamakura Free Pass”. You will take JR Odakyu Line at Shinjuku Station and get off at Fujisawa Station. Once you are at Fujisawa Station, take another train called “Enoden” and get off at Enoshima. You can access to Kamakura from Enoshima by Enoden. Since you can ride “Enoden” multiple times with the free pass, I recommend you visit both Kamakura and Enoshima in one day!


Yokohama

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo

Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan by population and one of the most popular cities in Japan. It is just less than half an hour south of Tokyo by train. It’s definitely a great day trip destination from Tokyo. Some of the attractions you can’t miss are Minato Mirai, Chinatown, Sankeien Garden, and Ramen Museum.

Minato Mirai is a perfect spot for shopping, but there are also many other things to do, such as an amusement park, museums, parks, and lots of restaurants. The city becomes romantic during the evening with beautiful illuminations as well.

Chinatown is a great spot to eat! Yeah I know there are many Chinatowns around the world, but Yokohama Chinatown is the best and the biggest I’ve ever visited! It is a worth visiting if you are in Yokohama.

To go to Yokohama from Tokyo, take JR Tokaido Main Line Bound for Odawara. It takes just 25 minutes and the price is 470 yen per way.


Chureito-Pagoda

Day Trips from Tokyo

I am sure you have seen an image of the beautiful and iconic view of Mount Fuji with a bright red pagoda. If you are not familiar, the place is called Chureito Pagoda. It is arguably one of the most iconic views of Japan and the best location for capturing Mount Fuji. The spot is particularly popular during cherry blossoms season when there are lots of trees in full bloom around the Pagoda. I visited Chreito Pagoda in January, but the view was still spectacular even despite the winter weather.

The best way to go to Chureito-Pagoda from Tokyo is to take a train. Take JR Chuo Line at Shinjuku Station and get off at Ōtsuki Station. Once you are at Ōtsuki Station, take another train called “Fuji Kyuko Line” and get off at Shimoyoshida Station. Chureito Pagoda is just 30 minute walk from Shimoyoshida Station. From Shinjuku, it will take about 2 hours to get to Chureito Pagoda, and the Price will be 2,277 yen.


Izu

Day Trips from Tokyo
Day Trips from Tokyo

Izu is close to my hometown and one of my favorite places in Japan! The reason why I love Izu is because it offers everything we need! Izu has beautiful beaches, gorgeous mountains, relaxing hot springs, and amazing bamboo forests. It is surprisingly less known, but Izu has many beautiful beaches where you can go snorkeling and diving as the water is very clear and rich in marine life. One of the most unique and famous beaches in Izu is Dogashima.

It is just 2 hours away from Tokyo by train. The easiest way to go to Izu is to take a special train called “Odoriko”. You can purchase the ticket at the ticket counter at Tokyo Station. The price is 4,190 yen – 6,260 yen per way.


Nikko

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo
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Nikko is a city located in Tochigi Prefecture, about 2 hours away from Tokyo by train. It is a popular day trip destination from Tokyo for all Japanese and international tourists. Nikko is famous for its temples and shrines, and they are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nikko is also a perfect spot for hiking as Nikko National Park is surrounded by sacred mountains, such as Mt. Nantai, Mt. Nyoho, and Mt. Taro. One of the most impressive and famous architectures in Nikko is the Toshogu Shrine. Don’t miss it if you are there!

The easiest and cheaper way to go to Nikko is to take “The Tobu Limited Express Spacial Kegon” from Asakusa. You can directly go to Nikko from Asakusa, and the price is 2,700 yen per way. You can also go directly from Shinjuku, but the price is a lot more expensive than going from Asakusa.


Atami

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Located just 50 minutes away from Tokyo by bullet train, Atami is one of Japan’s favorite resort areas. Although Atami is famous for its many  hot springs and ryokan, there are other beautiful places to see, such as Atami Umezono Plum Park, Atami Castle, MOA Museum of Art, and Kinomiya Shrine. Due to being a fishing town, Atami also offers many famous seafood restaurants! It is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo.

The easiest and quickest way to access to Atami from Tokyo is taking a bullet train. It just takes 50 minutes and the price is 3,670 yen per way.


Sumatakyo

Day Trips from Tokyo
Day Trips from Tokyo

Sumatakyo is located in Shiozuoka’s Southern Alps mountain range and is famous for its beautiful turquoise blue lake. Although it is famous for the beautiful crystal water, the best part of visiting Sumatakyo is how you travel there. You will take a special local train, and the views from the train are just breathtaking. Also, Sumatakyo offers plenty ryokan with natural hot spring, so it is a perfect spot to unwind and get away from an urban city!

It is a bit complicated to go to Sumatakyo from Tokyo, and it takes 4 hours in total. First you will go to Shizuoka Station by Bullet Train. Once you are at Shizuoka Station, you will take JR Tokaido Line to go to Kanaya Station. After Kanaya Station, take “Ooigawa Honsen” to go to Senzu Station. At Senzu Station you will take a local bus towards “Sumatakyo Onsen”. I recommend you leave Tokyo very early in the morning if you want to visit Sumatakyo 🙂


Kawagoe

Day Trips from Tokyo
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Day Trips from Tokyo
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Kawagoe is located in Saitama Prefecture, just about 30 minutes by train from central Tokyo. It is a perfect day trip destination. Kawagoe is famous for its old town with traditional warehouses lined up. You can stroll through the town in a kimono, and it makes you feel like you’ve been back in time to an ancient period. In Kawagoe, you can experience the historical part of Japan and learn more about Japanese culture and historical heritage. There are also many authentic Japanese restaurants if you are hungry!

The easiest way to go to Kawagoe is to take Tobu Tojo Line at Ikebukuro Station. It will take 31 minutes by an express train, and the price is 450 yen. You can also access to Kawagoe from Narita Airport by a direct bus. It takes about 2 hours and the price is 3,200 yen per person. The bus leaves 8 times a day.


Disneyland / Disney Sea

Day Trips from Tokyo

If you are a Disney fan, you must visit Tokyo Disney Resort!! The Tokyo Disney Resort is a theme park located in Urayasu, Chiba, less than 30 minutes away from Tokyo. Tokyo Disneyland was built in 1983, while Disney Sea was established in 2001. If you don’t have time to visit both theme parks, I would definitely recommend you visit Tokyo Disney Sea! A lot of Disney fans say Tokyo Disney Sea is the best Disney park in the world, and I think that is true. The atmosphere is very unique and romantic, and there are many good restaurants in Disney Sea as well. In my opinion, Disneyland is more for family and Disney Sea is more for couples and friends.

The easiest way to go to Tokyo Disney Resort is to take JR Keiyo Line at Tokyo Station and get off at Maihama Station. It takes 16 minutes and the price is 220 yen. Once you are at Maihama, take Disney Resort Gateway, and it will take you to Disney Resort!


Ghibli Museum

Day Trips from Tokyo
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The Ghibli Museum is a museum of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. It is located in Mitaka, a western city of Tokyo. The museum features different kinds of exhibits, including a technology museum, fine arts museum, and children’s museum, so you will definitely enjoy exploring whether you’re a fan of Ghibli or not. One of the most famous must-see items is a life-sized robot from “Castle in the Sky” in the rooftop garden. Other than exhibits, Ghibli Museum also offers a cafe, bookstore, and a theater for exclusive short films by Studio Ghibli!

The easiest way to go to Ghibli Museum is to take JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station. You will get off at Mitaka Station. Once you are at Mitaka Station, exit from Mitaka South Exit and walk about 15 minutes.

Note: You must buy tickets beforehand since NO tickets are sold at the Museum. For more, check out here.


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Winter in Japan: Why you should visit Shirakawago

Winter in Japan: Why you should visit Shirakawago

If you want to experience amazing winter scenery in Japan, you need to visit Shirakawago. Shirakawago is in Japan’s mountainous Gifu Prefecture. Gifu is located in the center of Japan, and it has many popular tourist attractions, bringing visitors from all over the world. Gifu is famous for its hot spring, historical streets, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawa’s historic village. The historical village in snow was the prettiest scenery I had ever seen. In my opinion, winter is the best season to visit Shirakawago. Through this article you will find out what to expect and where to explore the neighborhood.

What to Expect

Shirakawago winter

Shirakawago is a beautiful historic village, and it is actually one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. They are famous for their traditional farmhouses, and some of them are more than 250 years old. Their houses are known for their “prayer hands construction” style, which resembles the A-frame roofs as if hands join for prayer. This design helps the snow slide off easily. The winter scenery with all those houses is out of a fairytale, and every photo you take will be a piece of art.

How to Go

From Tokyo to Shirakawago

Tokyo to Shirakawago


From Osaka to Shirakawago

Osaka to Shirakawago

If you want to travel from either Tokyo or Osaka, it might be easiest to go to Nagoya first by either a bullet train or a highway bus. Then take a bus from Nagoya to Shirawakago. From Nagoya it usually takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to arrive in Shirakawago.

What to Prepare

Shirakawago winter

I visited Shirakawago in January, and temperatures were cold and skies were cloudy. It snowed while we stayed and the road became icy. Be mindful if you are planning to drive around. Although the weather was not ideal, the place was crowded with many tourists. Due to the fairytale landscape, winter is the most popular season to visit Shirakawago. Make sure you dress warm and take care of your steps during the snowy day. If you want no crowds at all, I would recommend visiting around 9AM. It usually gets crowded with tourists by the afternoon.

As temperatures vary, depending on the season in Shirakawago, you should definitely check the forecast beforehand to decide when to visit.  Here are the temperatures for each season. I hope you find it useful.

  • Spring: 9°C to 22°C
  • Summer: 18°C to 31°C
  • Fall: 9°C to 20°C
  • Winter: -5°C to 3°C


What to Eat

Hida beef skewer in Shirakawago

There are several shops selling old-fashioned Japanese sweets and the local food. My favorite local food is mitarashi dango and rice crackers.  I definitely recommend you try mitarashi dango (skewered rice balls covered with soy sauce and sugar), rice crackers, and Hida beef skewer. The shops in the area are typically open daily from 11AM to 5PM.

Where to explore (neighborhood)

Takayama Old Town

If you are in Shirakawago, you also want to visit Takayama Old Town. The town reminds me of Gion, Kyoto but I like Takayama more because many shops have been running their business for hundreds of years, and it makes you feel you were back in their older times. Plus it is less crowded than Kyoto. The village is well preserved, and the buildings here are like the ones you see in old Japanese dynasty movies. It’s like heaven for people who are big history buffs or simply love to take pictures.  While admiring the old wooden architecture and historical streets, you will encounter lots of nice restaurants, which serve grilled Hida beef, ramen, sushi, ice cream, and many more appetizing treats!!  There are many gift shops for souvenirs as well.  It is a beautiful street to stroll while you eat delicious local food.

I hope this article is helpful for your future travels to Shirakawago. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! 🙂

xo


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Winter Wonderland in Japan

Winter Wonderland in Japan

If you want to experience amazing winter scenery, you need to visit Takayama, Gifu.  Takayama is a city in Japan’s mountainous Gifu Prefecture.  It is about 5 hours away from Tokyo and 4 hours away from Osaka, but It is worth a visit!  There are two places you must go while you are around the area.

 

 Sanmachi Street

The first place is called Sanmachi Street.  The street reminds me of Gion, Kyoto but I like Sanmachi Street more because many shops had been running its business for hundred of years, and it makes you feel you were back in their older times.  Plus it is less crowded than Kyoto.  The village is well preserved, and the buildings here are like the ones you see in old Japanese dynasty movies.  It’s like heaven for people who are big history buffs or simply love to take pictures.   While admiring the old wooden architecture and historical streets, you will encounter lots of nice restaurants, which serve grilled Hida beef, ramen, sushi, ice cream, and many more!!  There are many gift shops for souvenirs as well.  It is a beautiful street to stroll while you eat delicious local foods.

Tips and Recommendations
– most of the shops close before 5:00 pm and some restaurants are closed on Tuesdays.
– try the street foods, such as mitarashi-dango (made of warm soft grilled mochi ball covered in a sweet soy sauce), Hida beef sushi, and rice crackers.
– go to one of the sake breweries; with about 1 USD, you’ll get to taste different kinds of sake.

 

”Teyaki Sembei Dou”

Address: 85 Kamisannomachi Takayama Gifu

Open from 9am to 5pm

 


“Sangawaya”

Address: 43 Kamisannomachi Takayama Gifu

Open from 9am to 5:30pm

 

 Shirakawa-go

The second place is called Shirakawa-gō. Shirakawa-go is a beautiful historic villages in snowy winter, and it is actually one of the UNESCO world heritage sites! They are famous for their traditional farmhouses, and some of them are more than 250 years old. It is about 50 mins trip from Takayama, and I highly recommend you to take a bus. The place is out of a fairytale, and every photo you take will be a piece of art. There are many souvenir shops with wide varieties of products, and you must try some of the local foods like Hida beef skewers.

Tips and Recommendations

– dress warm and take care of your steps during the snowy day.
– if you are willing to take photo on the observation point, you need to wait in line for 2 hours to get the ticket (500Yen/person).
– don’t miss their local food like Hida beef skewers and sake called, “amazake” a sweet fermented rice.

 

What do you think? If you want to know more about this place, let me know!! I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

Hope this inspired you to visit soon 🙂

 

XOXO,

♥♥Yoki♥♥

 

Modern Japanese Hotel: Arcana Izu

Arcana Izu is a perfect place to unwind yourself – you will enjoy the comfort of Arcana with a private bath and some wonderful meals. To completely relax, the hotel does not have a lobby, public bath, and even television. You will be surrounded by the expansive view of the forests as the songs of birds fill your ears all day long.

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Suites

There are 4 different kinds of suites at Arcana. We chose River View Suites, and it was absolutely amazing. The room was modern and spacious, and it had huge panoramic window. My room was facing the river and trees, so you could see the stream running quietly just a few feet below. All rooms have private onsen (hot springs) on the veranda, and it was just impossible not to relax and enjoy.

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Dining

Everyone says highlight of Arcana is the food, and they are not wrong. Arcana serves a Michelin quality French cuisine in such beautiful environment. One of the walls is a window looking into the forest. I strongly recommend you to sit at the counter, so you can watch the chef and staff preparing the food against the backdrop of the greenery outdoor scenes. I have to say the course was one of the best presented food I have ever had.

Dinner

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Breakfast

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Attractions

Although there is nothing much to do around the area, you will love the nice countryside of Japan.

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Overall, our stay at Arcana was one of the BEST experiences we ever had, and I can thoroughly recommend a stay there without hesitation. Beautiful rooms, amazing meals, and first class service by the staff… what else can we ask for? If you are looking for an escape from crowds and want something different from traditional Japanese ryokan, Arcana is the place for you!

 

XOXO,

♥♥Yoki♥♥

Traditional Japanese Hotel: Yagyu-No-Sho

When you think about Japan, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto are easily on your mind to visit, but today I would like to introduce one of my favorite hotels, located in my hometown Shizuoka.  The hotel is called Yaghu-no-sho.

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When we walked in, we were welcomed by their warm lights and Koi fish. Their welcome-drink was matcha with Japanese sweets (my favorites).

 

 

 

Suites:

The hotel has only 15 suites available. We chose the one with an outdoor bath. The room was very comfortable and quiet. I loved their traditional Japanese style. It even has a beautiful individual garden, and the view from the window was outstanding.

 

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Bath:

Even if you don’t choose the room with a private outdoor bath, don’t worry! There are outdoor baths available for everyone who stays at the hotel. The bath was surrounded by the beautiful garden.

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Dining:

The meals were traditional Japanese cuisine, and they were absolutely delightful. We had multi-course meals with gorgeous presentation and flavor. Each course was light enough so that we weren’t stuffed early.  My favorite dishes were sashimi, kobe beef cooked on hot rocks, and grilled and salted fish. The entire meal took about 2 hours and the drinks were flowing nicely.

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Attractions:

The check-in time is 2pm so arriving early allows you to walk to the town and see their small bamboo forest and beautiful temple.

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Overall, this hotel was OUTSTANDING! If you are looking for an unforgettable experience in Japan, 柳生の庄 Yaghu-no-sho is the best place to stay. It’s in a great location halfway between Tokyo and Kyoto (very easy to access to both locations).

Hope you will visit there soon!

 

♥♥Yoki♥♥