A piece of Japan in Thailand: Hinoki Land

Hinoki Land in Chiang Mai

After living in the main city of Chiang Mai for almost a week, we explored many interesting places. We saved the second highest mountain in Thailand for last – it is located near the border with the province of Chiang Rai and we decided that we would stop there on the way from one province to another.

Having already planned the route and even booked the hotel, I carefully studied the road I was going to take using Google Map (I drive without GPS). And quite by accident I came across a place on the map called Hinoki Land.

At first, I was not particularly enthusiastic about this place – for this day we had already planned a rather long ride on a motorcycle, as well as a visit to the second highest mountain in Thailand, including hiking – walking along mountain trails, and, if we had enough time, visiting hot springs and several viewpoints.

My wife also didn’t want to go to Hinoki Land at first.

Tickets to Hinoki Land are inexpensive (only 80 baht per adult ticket, regardless of foreigner or local), and this place is located right next to the road where we were supposed to go – I decided that at least as a rest I would stop and see what it was like. This morning turned out to be cool and foggy, so I wanted to stop anyway – at least to warm up.

And how much we were subsequently impressed by this place! It would be a great pity if we didn't visit there.

Hinoki Land – scenery of Japan in Thailand

Hinoki Land is a fairly large piece of land with a pond, stunning views, a Japanese wooden castle, Japanese carp, a huge cat that brings good luck, flower plantations, a restaurant and gift shop and much more!

If you want to do a photo shoot in Japanese style, then this place is exactly what you need. You can rent Japanese clothes, the price is as follows:

  • children up to 100 cm – 100 baht
  • children – 150 baht
  • adults – 250 baht

The price includes assistance with dressing and hair styling.

Many girls in this place wear kimonos, which makes the immersion into the world of Japan even stronger (and the girls become even more beautiful).

We decided to save on renting clothes and spend that money at a restaurant.

Every angle and every view there is very picturesque. You can go anywhere – it’s very beautiful everywhere. But according to the plan, first you must pass under the red arches – this should give you good luck.

Another element for good luck in business is a huge cat.

The wooden Japanese castle has 4 floors and each of them can be climbed.

Please note that you must take off your shoes to enter the castle – but that's not all! Shoes should not just be left at the entrance, but taken to special shelves for storing shoes. Don't forget about other visitors taking photos around – they probably don't want their photos to be full of worn-out flip-flops.

The house on the ground floor has several rooms depicting Japanese life.

There are elements of Japanese culture on all floors.

The views from the wooden castle are even more beautiful.

I'm not good at Japanese culture, of all of them I only recognized ninjas.

Video of Hinoki Land

A short overview video of Hinoki Land, seen from the ground.

A short video of Hinoki Land, view from the castle.

Hinoki Land Restaurant

After walking around little Japan and taking a huge number of pictures, we went to the restaurant.

I really liked the food, and especially the views.

I was struck by the unsmiling nature of the waitresses – a strong contrast to any other place in Thailand. Perhaps this was on purpose to comply with some rule of Japanese culture, or perhaps they were just in a bad mood. This did not affect the food in any way – the food was delicious.

Photos upon entering Hinoki Land

When entering Hinoki Land, the staff will take two photographs of you – at first I thought that these were photographs for the stand “the police are looking for them” in case we spoil something there or steal something. It turns out that these photos will be printed and framed – if you wish, you can buy them on the way out. The price of one photo is 150 baht.

Why you can't walk under the red arches of Hinoki Land in the opposite direction

As I said, we had other plans for the day, but we still spent several hours in Hinoki Land. However, we did not visit several places, for example, we did not go into the shops and missed the flower corridor.

I have already mentioned the red arches and that you need to start with them. But my wife and I decided at the very beginning to go where there were fewer people and returned to the arches on the other side. Returning to this bridge or arches, we read that you cannot walk backwards under them – it will bring bad luck. But we were in a hurry and went through these arches in the opposite direction. Immediately after this, my mood deteriorated, and on the same day, while descending from the mountain along a dangerous road (the second highest mountain in Thailand), my motorcycle brakes failed. Of course, there were completely rational prerequisites for this – several weeks in the mountains had worn out the already worn out brakes, and under peak loads on the most difficult mountain road they eventually failed. Well, or you can consider this a consequence of the Japanese curse. Judge for yourself, I’m just talking about the events of one day.

Is Hinoki Land worth visiting?

The views here are amazing! If you are already nearby, then this place is definitely worth a visit. If I'm in the area again, I'll stop by Hinoki Land again – just to see what the lights look like in the evening, how the scenery changes under different light, and to visit places I missed.

You may wonder why such an atmospheric place is built literally in the middle of Thai Nowhere. The reason, I think, is in the surrounding landscape. There are no such mountains and views as in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai either near Pattaya or in other crowded places.

Even when tourists are transported by bus, there is plenty of space so that you don’t feel cramped and don’t have to wait in line. When there are no buses with tourists, it is almost deserted.

Hinoki Land is a unique place in Thailand and I would definitely recommend visiting it if you are already in the north of Thailand.

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