Archive | March 2015

Jogasaki trail and snorkeling

A spot I need to revisit this year is the Jogasaki trail. I went there last year as a day trip to check it out. It was pretty good for a recon trip, so definitely need to go back there this year. The housemate, his friend and I rented a car for the day to head down to the Izu peninsula. So much traffic. Got there a lot later than we wanted to.

The Jogasaki trail is about 10km through a bush track right along the coastline. We didn’t hike along the whole track, just small sections of it as we drove to different parts of it. We also did some swimming and snorkeling at different points. It’s a geopark so there’s a lot of diversity of flora and sealife as well.

We started at Izu Kogen.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The coastline is really cool. Sometimes I forget I’m in Japan.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The trail is also somewhat famous for its suspension bridges.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Who knew these rocks were a popular swimming spot:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Not quite a sandy beach, but rock pools are cool:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Kids were jumping from the high rocks into the ocean below:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Taking the plunge:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Family picnickers:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The fish was this big:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

A waterfall:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

We then drove up to another section of the trail where there was a lighthouse and a seaside park. It was more crowded.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Scenery was great though:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

And this was the lighthouse:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

We didn’t stay too long. We didn’t want to pay for parking so we had to be in and out in about 30 minutes or less to avoid the parking fee.

We drove up to Futo where we had read it was supposed to be good for snorkeling.
It was a small marina:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Supposedly a range of marinelife, including humans!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

I like that someone has a sense of humour at the Izu tourism association.

Time to hit the water and snorkel!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Lots of clownfish:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Even spotted me a human!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The water was a bit murky and dirty. There was a debris and stuff. Not sure whether it was just the location, or due to the weather (there had been rain during the week).

It wasn’t the most picturesque swimming spot but there seemed to be enough marinelife. I think it’s probably a better diving spot given the number of divers there. Must be pretty amazing the deeper you get.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

And there were jellyfish!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Some divers:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Yeah, popular with divers:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

And there’s a boat onsen to relax in post-snorkeling:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The endless ocean:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

I’ll definitely be back to Jogasaki this summer to do the proper 10km trail.

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Yummy eats from Mercer Cafe

Mercer Cafe is known for their brunch pancakes. Am still yet to try them.
I did however go there for dinner at the end of last year. Super cozy place with delicious comforting food.

They had a fire hearth in the middle which was perfect for a winter’s night.

From Mercer Cafe
From Mercer Cafe

Surprisingly wasn’t so busy on the night we went – I think a Tuesday or Thursday night.

The scallops were delicious. It’s hard to resist scallops when I see them on the menu:

From Mercer Cafe

I don’t normally drink coffee or cappuccinos but over the last 6 months or so, I’ve been finding I drink a lot more of it. I usually opt for cafe lattes or cappuccinos and I have to have a fair bit of sugar. Basically I like it milky and sweet, coz I am generally not a fan of coffee.

From Mercer Cafe

The dessert was pretty good. I can’t go past a tiramisu:

From Mercer Cafe
From Mercer Cafe
From Mercer Cafe
From Mercer Cafe

The apple crumble was good too. Love the hot / cold contrast:

From Mercer Cafe
From Mercer Cafe
From Mercer Cafe

And creme brulee:

From Mercer Cafe

Great place for dessert and coffee. Did eat mains as well, but ate before I took photos. I must have been hungry.
And no, I didn’t eat all those desserts on my own! They were shared amongst three.

Really must also go there for brunch!

Kawazu 7 waterfalls and Kawazu onsen

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. I think it’s because of winter and work. And lack of exercise, mostly not being able to swim. And having been sick with a cough and cold. And fatigue. Feeling so tired all the time. I could sleep forever.

I long for warmer days and sunshine and beaches.

I don’t blog as much lately either, which I miss. It’s nice to just to recap and reflect on memories etc.
I’ve spent the last couple of weekends at home, trying to sort through loads of photos. So many places I’ve been. Lots of memories. Lots of photos.
I’m craving summer to be here so I can fill up my summer with more adventures and activities.
I even went and bought a pair of hiking boots yesterday and new socks.

Here are some photos last year, on a day trip to Kawazu 7 waterfalls (Kawazu nanadaru). A nice leisurely walk through a trail which leads to 7 different waterfalls. There’s also a really nice outdoor onsen park by a river (entry fee required). I very much think water is essential to my being, my spirit.

From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls

This is the waterfall that we took a dip in. The water was FREEZING and it was in May.

From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls

But there are several hot springs you can enjoy by the riverside. Cossies are required. And they are mixed gender.

From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls

Ahhh, relaxing:

From Kawazu 7 waterfalls

This one was not for bathing in:

From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls

There are also a few cave onsens:

From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls
From Kawazu 7 waterfalls

Kazawu waterfalls and onsen is a nice tame relaxing day out.

Kawazu tourism website: http://www.kawazu-onsen.com/eng/hotspring/

Nozawa: winter love

Did a total of three snowboarding trips to Nozawa in one season this year! It’s probably one of my favourite ski resorts, particularly on Honshu.
The runs are good and so is the nightlife. Has a proper village and enough stuff to keep you occupied off the slopes as well ie cafes, bars including a craft beer bar, lots of free onsens to enjoy etc.
It’s popular with a lot of Aussies.

I believe from next winter season, they are extending the bullet train/train line so it reaches closer to Nozawa. It will still be a bus ride from there, but they are making it more transport friendly to get to.

Here are some photos from my last trip to Nozawa.

Great views from on the slope:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

When it’s white outside and the snow is fallin’
who you gonna call?

From Nozawa powder love

The craft beer bar there does a nice cappuccino, Aussie-style.

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

Conditions were good – white and powdery!

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

Saw some interesting costumes on piste:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

It was sooooo crowded:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

Post-snowboarding beers:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

The Nozawa dosojin mascots:

From Nozawa powder love

A local onsen:

From Nozawa powder love

Snow-buried temple:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

Some very cool icicles:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

Nothing says ‘love’ more than a matching his/her ski outfit:

From Nozawa powder love

Below zero:

From Nozawa powder love
From Nozawa powder love

Hakuba ski resort

Last snow session for the season was at Hakuba – Cortina ski resort.
Not a fan of Happo One ski resort.
Cortina is way more powdery and better for off-pisten and ungroomed runs.
We also got the 1000yen coupon extra coupon added to the ski lift which is good value. Pay the additional 1000yen and you get lunch and free onsen. Lunch is up to the value of 1000yen. Anything over than and you pay the difference. For an extra 300yen we paid for the buffet (read: all you can eat) lunch. Good value. And the onsen entry is free (which is normally valued at 700yen). The onsen is large and includes a rotemburo that looks straight out onto the ski slope.

It’s snow sexy. 50 shades of white. Enjoy:

From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba

Coffee time. Let’s paws for a break (oh, was that pun too unbearable for you?)

From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba
From Hakuba

Goodbye winter. So looking forward to summer!