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Published: August 10th 2007
Leslie and I
Posing in front of some of the cliffs of Jogasaki
Summer time has definitely begun in Japan, I am pretty sure I am going to melt this summer. A friend and I decided to escape the heat and head for the coast yesterday. We made our way out to the Izu Peninsula an area just west of Shizuoka that is famous for ohnsen and beautiful coast lines. It is also famous for a small town called Shimoda which is where a US consulate was set up in 1856 when Japan first opened its ports to Commodore Perry and Westerners.
Leslie is another Nova teacher I met back in March at a kids training session. She lives in Numazu, a city about one hour north of Shizuoka by local train and on the way to the Izu Peninsula. We met in Numazu and took the train to Atami, one of the more popular IZU travel destinations for Japanese tourists. We decided to bypass the touristy beaches though and jumped on the Black Ship Train to a smaller town called Ito. Leslie and I both gasped when we saw the grandeur of the Black Ship Train, it is train (I am not sure if it is just a local train or
The Black Ship
That's me and Atami in the reflection :)
an express train) that runs up and down the east coast of Izu and is kind of a memorial to the Black Ships of Commodore Perry's Fleet. Crazy American influences in Japan. Although it is just a normal train it is much more luxurious and was fun to ride. Instead of rows of seats facing front to back they have long benches that look out the windows so passengers can enjoy the beautiful views of the Izu coastline.
When we arrived in Ito we took a train through the town and through some foresty areas to get to our final destination , the Jogasaki Coast. I thought it was funny as we were walking along the narrow streets toward the coast, I felt like I could be back in the Cinque Terre in Italy, its funny how similar such different countries can feel sometimes. We got a bit lost at first and ended up running into a big group of Japanese scuba divers, the area was lined with Scuba diving shops, there must be some good stuff to see. We explained to them in broken english and japanese that we were looking for a big suspension bridge and they
kindly pointed us in the correct direction.
We ended up walking on a quiet tree-lined road past a few quaint bed and breakfasts and a beautiful glass museum where Leslie bought a pair of earrings and a necklace. It made me think of the glass museum in Tacoma, only a lot smaller. We looked around a bit and marveled at how beautiful and colorful the artist's work was, I will definitely have some blown glass art in my house in the future 😊.
We eventually ran into a Japanese tourist who asked us for directions to the bridge, but we replied wakaranai -- I don't know, my favorite and most frequently used Japanese phrase. He continued on in the opposite direction of us. We stopped and watched and about 20 meters up the road he found a sign and pointed to his travel buddies in another direction so we followed. Thank goodness for other people who know where they are going and for our keen spying skills.
In just about 5 minutes we arrived at the Jogasaki coast and all I can say is that it was breath taking and I wish the pictures could do it
justice. There was not a cloud in the sky and the water was deep blue except for a few bright blue spots close to the rocks where the water was churning as it crashed against the cliffs. Lava flows created the current rock formations--nature is maybe my favorite artist in the world 😊!!!! We spent a couple of hours hiking and stopping to just sit and take in the scenery. I kept trying to spot California off in the distance but my go go gadget eyesight failed me.
We did run into one disappointment, we planned to have dinner in Atami, but when we got to Atami at around 7, everything was closed...we couldn't believe it, we must have been in the wrong area of town, we were starving though and didn't have the patience to explore so we hopped on the train back to Numazu and had dinner at one of Leslie's favorite spots.
Oh and on an unrelated note, I included a picture of the Melon- calpis picnic one of my Japanese friends and I had the other night. Her mother works at a health food store and got this melon for free which is
nice because in Japan melons and cherries and other summer fruits are ridiculously expensive. We cut em in half and had some cream in the center...reminds me of cantaloupe and ice cream in Florida with my grandma and grandpa. Oh and to top it off we had some Kiwi Lemon Calpis. OISHII!
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