Blogs from Kanagawa, Japan, Asia

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Asia » Japan » Kanagawa November 17th 2019

Here are the main learning points from our time in Hakone: 1. Japanese/French fusion food is not great. 2. Having an open air hot spring bath is up there with the best experiences in the entire world 3. There is always, ALWAYS more uphill to go Hakone is a national geopark, surrounded by mountains and within the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park centered on Lake Ashi. This means that you can see the mountainsides steaming from the geothermal waters, and that the whole area is known for its onsens - Japanese hot spring baths. Hakone is only 90 minutes outside of Tokyo so is a popular tourist destination, as well as being the go-to weekend getaway for locals. It’s basically the Japanese equivalent of what the Cotswolds is to Londoners, but more hilly and with more ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Kamakura October 15th 2019

My usual travel companion hurt her back. She had decided on the event in Kamakura 9 years ago. She booked us rustic but clean and adequate accommodation central to our interest in the Yabusame ritual at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine - realistically horse archery in a shrine complex showing off authentic 12th century samurai archer costumes and horse paraphernalia. Our friends from Hay Flat are country girls, one of whom is a serious equestrian eventer whose daughter practices horse archery in Australia. So they jumped at the chance to see the rare event. Alas our hostess could not join us on our long weekend ( a holiday to repect older people!!!) So we had to travel hundreds of kms on the Shinkansen and local trains to a the shrine in Kamakura. I forgot that I am so ... read more
school kids parading with parts of the targets
archer on parade
archer on parade

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa September 7th 2019

8-20-2019 Kanazawa Kanazawa co 466,000 dan. Voi 999/km2. Day la capital cua Ishikawa Prefecture va la major tourist town. Noi day co cac noi dang xem la Kanazawa castle, Bridge in Kenrokuen, Kenrokuen garden la most noi tieng tai day va la 1 trong 3 gardens noi tieng nhat nhat Ban co trees pines va water falls ngay ca hoa chay dai 25 Acres. Noi day cung bi tan pha boi may bay tha bom vao the chien thu 2 nhung cac den dai duoc bao ve . Oyama jinja shrine duoc xay nam 1875 boi Dutch. Ninja temple duoc xay voi hidden door, passageways va hidden escape routs. O day co gold leaf Museum ma gold duoc danh ra thanh giay. Da so nhung tuong vang o Nhat duoc cover bang gold leaf lam tu ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Yokohama April 27th 2019

Yokohama Mama – Japan, April 2019 The city’s name literally means “horizontal beach”, but I have never seen a vertical one and don’t know anyone else who has either. That being said, the explanation makes a little more sense…. its current location was once surrounded by a gulf, divided by a sandbar from the open ocean. This sandbar was the original site of Yokohama, and since the sandbar protruded perpendicularly from the land, or horizontally when viewed from the sea, it was called a "horizontal beach". It’s Japan’s second largest city, population-wise, and despite its humble beginnings as a small fishing village during the feudal era, it is now a major port for the country. Located on the shores of Tokyo Bay on the main island of Honshu, it lies just 18 miles south of the ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Hakone July 11th 2018

We woke up early to a warm, humid day in Gora. We had a lovely shower and an onsen, which was nice and relaxing for stiffening muscles. We ate our traditional Japanese breakfast and then went out for the day. We wandered around the streets and alleys of Gora. It is a very green and leafy area, though not as expensive or prestigious as Hakone by the lake. We went up to the lookout, via a hotel lift, which ascended diagonally up the hill. It was bizarre to watch through the glass. It was extremely hot in the sun and fans and air-conditioning blew full steam ahead. We went into stores and tried different specialities and bought a few treats to share. There are so many unusual regional desserts and sweet foods to try here, though ... read more
Breakfast in our ryokan
Our front door step, tucked into the side on a steep mountain
The steep walk up the hill toward the cable cars

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Kamakura July 9th 2018

We spent a lovely day in Kamakura, a seaside town an hour south of Tokyo by train. It was a hot day and thankfully, Marcus brought an umbrella which I used as a parasol to keep the sun from burning me (like it did the past few days in Tokyo). We meandered around the town, buying souvenirs, tasting tiny morsels and buying food and gifts to eat and bring home. We ate a squashed octopus paper snack called Tako-senbei. It looked like a sheet of marbled paper, very pretty. It was tasty and very different to anything we eat at home. We were going to return for some Jako-yaki, a similar dish to Tako-yaki, except with white bait inside instead of octopus, however we forgot until it was too late and it had shut. There were ... read more
Inside the Temple for women
Temple for women
Temple for Women, Kamakura

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Hakone May 14th 2018

The rain has cleared overnight and we wake to blue skies and only a few scattered clouds. We’re desperate to get a good view of Mount Fuji after yesterday’s thick cloud and pouring rain, so we get back on the Hakone Ropeway and head up again towards the Owakudani Valley. As we head higher we can see the lower slopes of Mount Fuji, but the only clouds in the sky seem to be very determined to gather around its peak. We decide to get off the ropeway halfway up at Ubako where we were told there is a Mount Fuji viewing point. It’s not obvious exactly where this is, but we find a sign to a trail through the forest to a viewing point, so we assume that this must be it. We pass a sign ... read more
Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi
Pirate ship, Lake Ashi

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Hakone May 13th 2018

I wake in a cold sweat. I don’t know whether we’re supposed to wear our traditional gowns and kimonos to breakfast, and it’s a bit early in the day to be relying on alcohol to ease our embarrassment if we get it wrong. Issy says that she doesn’t want to come to breakfast, and I suspect this has got a lot more to do with not wanting to embarrass herself by wearing the wrong thing than lack of hunger. My suspicions are confirmed when she asks me if I could please bring her back something to eat. Only about half the people in the dining room are wearing the traditional dress, so I don’t feel quite so much like an alien as I did last night. We can scarcely see the lake from our balcony through ... read more
Traditional Japanese dress, Pola Museum of Art
Hakone Venetian Glass Museum
Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa » Hakone May 12th 2018

We leave Tokyo and head for Hakone which is in the mountains to the south of the capital. The train trip gives us a good appreciation of exactly how vast and densely populated the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolis really is. Although our Shinkansen bullet train is very fast, it still seems to spend a very long time going through continuous suburbia. This also gives us a bit of a taste of how the majority of ordinary Japanese people must live. If the strip along the train line is anything to go by, it looks like most of them live in small apartments or very small houses. I'm not sure how representative this is. If travelling along a train line was the basis for assessment of how a community lives, a visitor to Melbourne could be forgiven for thinking ... read more
Tori gate, Lake Ashi
Pirate ship, Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi from our balcony.

Asia » Japan » Kanagawa April 4th 2018

One day, five trains and one hotel shuttle away from Tokyo, we arrive in the Hakone area, the home of Mt. Fuji and a mountain retreat for city folk. The trains take us south through the suburbs of Tokyo toward Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. The last transfer is to Japan’s oldest mountain railway which chugs its way up a sharp grade, and often along a steep dropoff. The 3-car train makes a few stops beyond those at platforms. The conductor can be seen pulling a few brake levers in his cab, then out he steps and disappears walking toward the back of the train, while another guy comes up from the rear to take his place - we’ve just changed directions for a switchback. A couple times the conductor is carrying some brass gear to manually switch ... read more
Train-side Blossoms
Mt. Fuji - Really!
Sailor on Lake Ashi




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