Tag Archive | nature

Nokonoshima: flower park

Last autumn, whilst down in Kyushu, I took a half day trip to the island of Nokonoshima – just a short train and boat ride away from Fukuoka. I was in Saga at the time, so had got up early to travel from Saga to Fukuoka and then to the boat port.

Nokonoshima is a very small island. The only thing I saw there was the flower park, which is what the island is famous for. The park occupies much of the island.

From Nokonoshima

Highly recommend going when the flowers are in season. I was in luck. Even though it was November, I managed to catch the field of cosmos flowers. Weather was surprisingly gorgeous and the view of the surrounding waters from the island was really nice too.

Enjoy the colourful flower photos:

First, the boat ride:

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

And if all that water makes you wanna pee, follow the signs once at the flower park:

From Nokonoshima

Once you arrive at the port at Nokonoshima, you need to take the local bus to the park. It’s all uphill, along windy narrow roads, so a rental bike is not really recommended.

The flower park is at one of the highest points on the island. Great views:

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

The park is quite large. There are different sections for different flower fields. There is even a small animal/farm section.
Saw me some goats….I’m not kidding!

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

There’s even swings for the kids:

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

The highlight was the cosmos field:

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

And these flowers were cool too, really bright:

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

Allow yourself a few hours to walk around the park. It’s super relaxing and peaceful. Take a book, chill out, pack a picnic or eat at the restaurant there.

From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima
From Nokonoshima

I managed to spend a couple of hours here, and then made my way back to Fukuoka for my afternoon flight back to Tokyo.
All in a day’s work.

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Aokigahara Hiking

Autumn always feels so short. Never enough time to get more hikes in to see the autumn leaves.

Was lucky and scored a perfect autumn day – clear skies, dry and views of Mount Fuji.

Got to finally see the Aokigahara woodlands, also known as the Sea of Trees (Jukai), so called, because when viewed from the sky, it looks like a sea of trees. Also, incidentally known as the suicide forest. Unfortunately, it is the site where many Japanese people go and never come back. The government has tried to prevent as many suicides as possible from happening there. And upon arriving there, there were signs and surveillance cameras warning those who enter to reconsider their options. The woodlands were formed by the trees that grew on the lava flow from volcanic eruptions.

Despite it’s grim history, the woodlands actually features a beautiful easy walking trail to some great lookout points.

The day requires an early start as it takes about 3 hours from Tokyo to get to Kawaguchiko station.

Riding the Fuji kyuko train:

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

Got to see Mount Fuji along the train trip.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

From Kawaguchiko station, you’ll need to take a 45min bus trip over towards Lake Saiko – which is a crazy name for a lake, am I right? (you get it don’t you?).

At the starting point from the Fuketsu lava caves, there’s a surveillance camera as you enter the woodlands. They basically keep an eye out for suspicious entering the trail (ie someone wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase).

You’ll also come across this sign, very early into the trail:

From Aokigahara hiking

Translation:
Your life is a precious gift from your parents. Please think of about your parents, sibings and children. You are not alone. Talk to someone.

And the phone number of the suicide prevention team of the local Fuji district police dept. phone name is given.

The woodlands is a sea of twisted trees and roots around the base of the Mount Fuji area and five lakes district. Surprisingly very green.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

There is a clearly marked trail which you should stick to. Wandering off the path is tantamount to getting lost. Those who go to end their life there do so by getting lost in the forest and then committing suicide by hanging.

From Aokigahara hiking

Along the route, is an ice cave which is pretty lame. And yes, entry is going to cost you.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

The highlight of the trail was going out to Sankodai lookout point (which means View of 3 Lakes). A view of Lake Saiko, Lake Motoso and LakeShojiko and also Mount Fuji. Simply stunning.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

And the autumn leaves were in their prime.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

A most interesting looking plant specimen:

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

Lake Saiko:

From Aokigahara hiking

The plains below:

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

There’s also a bat cave:

From Aokigahara hiking

Although me thinks they don’t actually have any bats there. They just tell you that “they’re sleeping”. “Sleeping”, my left foot. They are making a racket, charging 300yen entry for bats that aren’t even there.

Inside the bat cave:

From Aokigahara hiking

Be warned, the tunnels are insanely low. Not for the old folks or those with bad backs and knees.

From Aokigahara hiking

A really awesome hike. Well, not so much a hike as a nice trail walk with a few hills. Various lookout points with stunning views and various caves along the way. Highly recommend going in Autumn.

From Aokigahara hiking

Doable as a day trip, provided you make an early start and aim to get to Kawaguchiko station at about 9am. And buses only run about one an hour from the station to Lake Saiko area. Quite a fascinating area. I will admit I was super curious about visiting this forest. Had heard it was a little bit scary given its reputation. Definitely worth visiting. There are plenty of attractions at Lake Kawaguchi. Here’s a post where I was there 3 years ago.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

Autumn hiking

Went hiking on the weekend. Perfect autumn day. Sunny, clear sky, autumn leaves were at their peak and got stunning views including that of Mount Fuji.

Went out towards Fuji 5 lakes district.

Here’s just a few pics for now. Full write up to come in due course.

From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking
From Aokigahara hiking

Nokonoshima Island highlights

More photographic treats.
From Fukuoka city, just a 10minute ferry ride is a small island called Nokonoshima. There’s a big island park there which has an impressive garden park filled with an assortment of seasonal flowers and great ocean views.

Here are a few highlights.

From Nokonoshima highlights
From Nokonoshima highlights
From Nokonoshima highlights
From Nokonoshima highlights
From Nokonoshima highlights

Seeing Red: Hitachinaka Seaside Park

Ticked off another thing on my Japan bucketlist and went to the Hitachinaka seaside park yesterday in Ibaraki prefecture. A nice way to enjoy the long weekend.
Had timed the visit so it fit in perfectly with the autumn kochia season. Last year, my autumn trip was to Oze. This time it was to the Hitachinaka flower park. A massive spanse of an area dedicated to flowers. Key times are spring and autumn where they plant seasonal flowers for en-masse viewing. There’s a 10km cycling route and a ride theme park area as well. You could spend the large part of a day there. Spent about 3 hours there and still didn’t see everything. I wouldn’t mind going back in spring.

I came for the red kochias there and they were pretty awesome. Cosmos flowers were also out. Lots of people on a long weekend though but still got to take lots of pretty pictures.
You’ll be seeing red. And lots of it!

From Hitachinaka seaside park

Brace yourself for the throngs of people:

From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park

These flowers are called cosmos:

From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park

These burning bushes are kochia:

From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park

So that’s where my shoes went!

From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park

The saddest fountain ever:

From Hitachinaka seaside park
From Hitachinaka seaside park

After a day walking around, there’s only one thing for it – an onsen.
Highly recommend this one: http://www.ajigauraonsen.jp/

Mount Bromo Sunrise: epic photo blog

Brace yourself for an onslaught of photos.

When I was in Indonesia for Golden Week this year, one of the things I did was see Mount Bromo at sunrise, followed by a trek up to Mount Bromo – a very much active volcano. It’s quite the trip. You generally need to book a driver and a guide for Mount Bromo. We opted to arrange just a driver (and no guide) as the volcanic area is only accessible by jeep. We opted for the hard core most time-efficient method. This meant leaving Jogyakarta at about 4pm in the afternoon whereby we took a a several hour train journey to Surabaya. We stopped at a place for dinner and then met our driver at Surabaya station at midnight. From there we would drive 4 hours in the middle of the night out to near Mount Bromo. We then had to change to a jeep vehicle with a separate Mount Bromo driver. No bed for us tonight. In the wee hours of the morning before sunrise, we layered up into our warmest clothes to make our way to the lookout point for sunrise. Because we had not booked a guide, we were to meet our driver later on in the morning. Phew, that was already a long day of 12 hours of travel without sleep and we still hadn’t climbed Mount Bromo yet.

It was about 4am and we donned our headtorches and set off.
It was still dark out, but soon the sun would rise. We weren’t about to climb Mount Bromo just yet. We were taken to the sunrise view point from which you can see Mount Bromo. Us and a couple of hundred other tourists were all waiting for sunrise.

Waiting in the dark:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Three mountains:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Cloud cover over the valley:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

When daylight broke, it was only then you realised how crowded it was up there.
A bit like Fuji. You get to the summit and then realise it’s like Times Square.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

The view was spectacular. Amazing volcanic mountains and cloud cover.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Sunrise:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Cloud and mist covers the valley and village below:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Mount Bromo is the middle wide, flattish volcano that you can see here. It is still very much an active volcano.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Remember this image below, because in a later post I will put up photos of the land below when all the cloud lifted. The contrast is stark.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Cloud cover starts to lift:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

It was pretty amazing. I was actually really surprised at how beautiful Indonesia was. So many mountains and volcanoes, as we all beautiful resort islands. The food was amazing, everything was pretty cheap and the people really friendly.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Smoke billowing from the two volcanoes:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Selfie sticks everywhere in Indonesia! Was surprised at how many people I saw using there during my holiday:

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Our driver took us to a different lookout point where it is less crowded and we got a different angle.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

This is Mount Batok, and behind it you can see the billowing smoke from Mount Bromo.

From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise
From Mount Bromo Sunrise

Not even 9am yet and we were still yet to climb Mount Bromo! Stay tuned.

Cherryblossoms

That time of year where the cherryblossoms bloom. It’s oh so wabisabi.
They were only out for about 2 weeks this year and peak hanami viewing was hampered by rain.
Nevertheless, snapped a few shots of the cherryblossoms.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OSndNRjT75uk0NrO-KgONl1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v3nqpgXankc/U0QA0smytUI/AAAAAAACiaQ/XRjyAPzrGPo/s640/sakura.JPG&#8221; height=”640″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/njyu-MEFdjCwmOmpN8s-Ol1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-JsPTRJLyFa0/U0QA4HLjyNI/AAAAAAACiaY/OFVDvhMbtj0/s640/yoyogi%2520hanami.JPG&#8221; height=”640″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

Here are some taken around my workplace:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WdsIZObYtZakq3AYeW2uPl1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-HoQKtOybcBQ/Uzq200KqASI/AAAAAAACiEQ/E1kVAIlbTjM/s640/DSC_0498.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yyWAkQq2-1KwJ2ZSY6-fZF1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-xYZXQMBFl54/Uzq218DIzMI/AAAAAAACiEM/O4cpFOwXyas/s640/DSC_0503.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/L82aUVBL1nnHdOwDFAfjvl1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-LGOLlNI0QnA/Uzq23MvrwbI/AAAAAAACiEs/6dG5obi8Q0I/s640/DSC_0504.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7mJT5rVh0nUg9ZwQ2HnHcF1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-L17LN_DTjt4/Uzq2-acxhRI/AAAAAAACiGc/4jwK8CJ7tbo/s640/DSC_0522.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/b61W6jkizsDZEtrmNTY3yV1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-5gebEziOGmg/Uzq3AZ4EumI/AAAAAAACiG4/i76p8BrzMt4/s640/DSC_0528.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HcO-EdJ3zgQEa6Lws0kdNF1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-LrhWMvea_Ik/Uzq2_riHt6I/AAAAAAACiGw/X-gQt12UIQ8/s640/DSC_0527.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NVgi-bcfMTtwc32t2n4NBl1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Um5ZNQjqlls/Uzq3BEGVtPI/AAAAAAACiHU/JmI7n9Etp3Y/s640/DSC_0532.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/V3_yVzt9NhojWLGCaaic2l1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9AzlV09Gwnw/Uzq2wwjl54I/AAAAAAACiDE/hSwkbs29QcA/s640/DSC_0487.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/y1FYzfp8d-lghJBbMNM6GV1Dt6afYLMC_5J_ERPEVds?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-tVIE7hE0m2M/Uzq2z-lDw-I/AAAAAAACiDw/YthwqOvFZ-Y/s640/DSC_0494.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/Cherryblossoms02?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Cherryblossoms</a></td></tr></table&gt;

Here are some taken around my neighbourhood during an early morning walk:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Lio5lS0h4bOGWnno50Bz1BBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-WM7Bnc1sCxs/UztK-qrrG7I/AAAAAAACiKI/p4fUd-zE0gw/s640/DSC_0003.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/I3CM5ieCAPBzRFBDLbG0RBBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ulL3Z26vvts/UztLAxrgLEI/AAAAAAACiKk/UA4boJyD2dQ/s640/DSC_0008.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/RTPH28ckV5ejglh2BtvAJhBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-e2DD7zNhr60/UztLEgLQLII/AAAAAAACiLw/BX6riJKOSCM/s640/DSC_0015.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ce8-LcT9j7YEY4hOerjYvBBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-u6GP602xFOk/UztLFd52ZuI/AAAAAAACiLk/YXI-Hs8NSwo/s640/DSC_0016.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/-Q9bb2L15q0ggwrIoHE9mRBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ikGCDs0Jnsk/UztLIQZA7oI/AAAAAAACiMc/OsAZxhQKuFk/s640/DSC_0022.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/GVdcDzQqqanCnuHw5EYsjhBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-NvmWdy0Xr6k/UztLItRE7lI/AAAAAAACiMg/Ttq8v_yAH04/s640/DSC_0023.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/VzxkRdzaV2HKPPE1HBCsNhBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-NmNFyJQ6dxQ/UztLJfR9MVI/AAAAAAACiM0/skJvVfJviB4/s640/DSC_0024.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/K0HEdjg9fDBR9vuwfcDRDRBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-yItpBKAI558/UztLJYYcThI/AAAAAAACiM8/PbhUn9Rzbro/s640/DSC_0025.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sG6S5LvQukK5VqsbzQzMwxBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-rdwk5faAJXs/UztLNqUw0sI/AAAAAAACiOQ/_K1aqSeF_3A/s640/DSC_0034.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

And here are a few unexpected snaps during the above said walk.
Someone collecting beer cans and lining them up on the sidewalk:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zGKUa80ZJT-a8Odz-ywIxhBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-0DHU_h68YBc/UztLL8HaUMI/AAAAAAACiNc/yWcIjctGMoQ/s640/DSC_0030.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;authkey=Gv1sRgCOa5-PWWiOWIPQ&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

And a dinosaur playground:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/bR8HsEOI3I0knc0IYRvxeRBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lqy4XWMX4D8/UztLOnnVdPI/AAAAAAACiOM/HN9Mg878PSY/s640/DSC_0036.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

A dinosaur lizard slippery dip:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kelSFbRwkGDdNDrrIp2KXBBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-logH0uAg5K0/UztLO1Lpj4I/AAAAAAACiOU/CUtyceJZ3xw/s640/DSC_0037.JPG&#8221; height=”425″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sUcgBShhe_3G3ZjW0vQWXBBrg7ZMpatMx_wgTAbOWXo?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cBddfxG0_bE/UztLSXqmAMI/AAAAAAACiOs/fCWlDAtmmMU/s640/DSC_0040.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”425″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/NeighbourhoodSakura?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Neighbourhood sakura</a></td></tr></table>

Mount Eboshi

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.
Lots of bad luck recently, including a sprained ankle whilst going on a short but steep hike over the weekend.
Ankle has pretty much recovered in record time.

Clear winter’s day and caught my first snowfall for the season.

Steep hike, but the views over Lake Haruna and the mountain valley below were well worth it. Enjoyed the onsen by the lake afterwards as well.

This is not the mountain we hiked:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

More photos of the mountain not hiked:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

View from the mountaintop of the mountain we did hike:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

I’m hoping this gif works!

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Lake Haruna:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Despite the sunshine and blue skies, the weather was absolutely freezing. I had two layers of pants, and about 4 top layers including a snowboarding jacket.

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Back on ground level:

The little knob of a mountain towards the left of this photo (not the big main dominating mountain), is the actual mountain we hiked:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Lakeside by Lake Haruna:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

We stayed for the evening light illumination festival:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Check out the lights:

From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna
From Mt Eboshi and Lake Haruna

Mount Hachijo-Fuji Hike

Whilst on Hachijojima, I managed to hike both the island’s mountains. The mountain that dominates the island is known as Hachijo-Fuji: the Mount Fuji of Hachijojima. You’ll need a vehicle to get to the starting trail point.

We had hired a car, and we missed the start point of the trail and ended up driving around the whole circumference of the mountain and got a 360 degree view of the island.

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

The island’s airport landing strip:

From Hachijo Fuji hike

Managed to drive back to the start point where I embarked on a short solo hike to the summit. It’s not so much a hike, as a giant stairmaster.

Destination: Mount Hachijo-Fuji summit:

From Hachijo Fuji hike

The actual trail starts quite high up the mountain and is a series of steps – all 1,280 of them!

From Hachijo Fuji hike

640 steps at the halfway point!

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

Step 1,100:

From Hachijo Fuji hike

Getting closer, step 1,200:

From Hachijo Fuji hike

All 1,280 steps done!

Here is some of the scenery I enjoyed on the way up:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

And more steps:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

The island coastline:

From Hachijo Fuji hike

Once you climbed up all 1,280 steps (which I did in about 35minutes), you can then walk around the whole mountain crater. It was once a volcano.
You’ll need to wade through bush and scrubs to walk around the whole crater. It was a pretty awesome hike. Definitely one of the better mountains I’ve hiked…although it’s not really long enough to call it a hike.

It was so green, lush and overgrown with trees for what was once a volcano. In the centre, there was also a small pond/lake.

The views were pretty splendid!

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

The tiny lake in the middle of the crater:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

Follow the trail:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

Reached the highest point:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

View of baby Hachijojima:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

Steep cliff edges:

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

The walk around the entire took me 90 minutes (and that was stopping for a lot of photo taking as well).
Then had to climb back down all 1,280 stairs (somewhat faster than going up them!)

From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike
From Hachijo Fuji hike

Definitely one of the highlights of Hachijojima island. (A pleasant 2.5 hour hike up around Mount Hachijo-Fuji).
Hiking is definitely one of life’s free pleasures.

From Hachijo Fuji hike

Hachijojima: Miharayama waterfalls

Hachijojima island has two mountains. The smaller one has some waterfalls.
Managed to hire a car and drive out to Miharayama and do a nice waterfall hike.
It was quite the leisurely hike. About 45min or so. Would recommend wearing appropriate footwear. Sandals aka Crocs didn’t quite cut it. Anyway, hiked we did in sandals. Was a gorgeous sunny day. Not the most scenic hike, but pleasant enough.

Am loving that it is spring, and summer on the way. I plan on doing more hikes this year. Have no major overseas trips planned this year (unlike last year’s Trans-Siberian month-long holiday), so plan on doing more active, nature stuff and exploring more of Japan.

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

Mount Mihara:

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

We crossed rocks, rivers and walls… in search of this elusive waterfall.

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

And then finally through the clearing, amidst the trees, we could see the waterfall.

From Miharayama waterfall

Ok, so not quite the majestic waterfall I was imagining. More like a refreshing mist of water. Niagara Falls this ain’t.

From Miharayama waterfall

If you got closer to the rock wall, you could stand right under the waterfall:

From Miharayama waterfall

The rockpool it opened into was lovely though. It made for a nice refreshing stop after our little hike. In summer, this place would make a great little secluded watering hole. The water was numbingly cold. I dunked my feet in and waded across to the waterfall, and my feet were numb. Not quite yet warm enough for a proper swim. The rocks were also really slippery.

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

I managed to get right by the waterfall and did a mini photo shoot. It’s not often you get a whole waterfall to yourself.
Here are lots of pics of me (you were warned!)

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

Catching water:

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

BEWARE: Crocs in the water. And by Crocs, I mean footwear!

From Miharayama waterfall

Clear, cold water:

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall

On the hike back down, we stopped by the swamp pond.

From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall
From Miharayama waterfall