Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July Kanpai: Part 2 of 2

After the tub race, we took the train a little farther south to the Jogasaki coast.

This map was a couple blocks from the train station, and in the most rural area we've seen since we arrived in the country.

We could have taken a 10-minute bus ride (assuming we could find the right stop for the right bus), but we opted for the half-hour walk. The route was pretty straightforward and through a lovely neighborhood.

This flower was in someone's front yard, but I don't know what it is.

It was mostly residential, but there was the occasional business. Like the Pension & Restaurant Marine • Herb.

I haven't seen a yard that isn't perfectly manicured.

We made it to the Jogasaki coast! 5km of hiking trail weaving through forest, along the cliff edge, over rocks, across tree roots, up stairs, and down hills.

A small stretch of trail in either direction from the main parking lot was pretty sightseer-heavy, but farther than that we didn't see many people at all.

Fun fact: these fences that look like logs are actually made of steel and cement, molded to look like wood.

The suspension bridge is a big tourist attraction. It covers a small but deep inlet that goes nowhere. This is the point in our journey where the husband started walking into approximately every third photo.

We followed the trail to the northern end and turned around to go the other way.

Husband o'Mine wondered aloud when the last time was that someone had stood upon that island. It's not that far away, but you can't really get there from here.

Lily growing on the cliff face.

I don't know them, I just thought this was cute. It looks like they're having a good time.

I think these are hydrangeas, and they are everywhere.

Parts of the trail were paved, parts were packed dirt, and parts were this rubberized wood chip stuff. It's a little spongy, like a race track.

Just inside the tree line is a pagoda with picnic tables and benches. Directly behind me is guardrail and ocean.

This was a stone monument at a fairly popular rest spot. I don't know what the music is. I could probably sound out the lyrics, but my vocabulary isn't strong enough to really translate.

This is why he carries cat treats. This is a Japanese bobtail, it's a breed that is born with a short tail. (Hello Kitty is a Japanese bobtail, btw.) This particular cat was not only happy to take treats from his hand, but literally yelled at us when we tried to walk away.

Back across the bridge.

Lots of stairs on this trail.

The southern end of the trail. There we found food, a botanical garden, and a shrine.

Lunch! He had a hot dog with super spicy mustard, I had takoyaki because it was the only thing on the menu I could recognize and therefore knew did not contain pork. This stuff was way better than the takoyaki I had before, and as a food item, it has redeemed itself. It's still essentially an octopus hush puppy, but this didn't taste fishy. The teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise (different taste than American mayo) were pretty good flavor accents.

Ice cream! (More evidence of how he knows how to treat a girl.) Flavor choices are mikan (tangerine, on the left) and ajisai (on the right), which I learned later is hydrangea. It was amazing. And the lovely woman that prepared our fantastic food complimented my Japanese.

If you ever see this sign, get some. It's totally worth trying.

Next up, the botanical garden.

Could it possibly be in a better location?

The day was warm enough that they had all the doors to the greenhouse open. I don't know what these flowers are, but they're purdy.

I just don't know what to make of this. It's a dolphin-shaped flowerbed. On stilts.

Past the ocean overlook, the trail moves down the hill, around the pool where people get their scuba diving certifications, and over to the other side of the garden.

In this section, all the flowers were conveniently labeled. Apparently the wheelchair flowers are off to the right.

Lizard! Its nose stripes are yellow, the tip of its tail is electric blue.

Sometimes on hillsides with cement roadways (or footpaths, in this case) it looks like someone took a cookie cutter and went to town on the concrete. I think it's for traction when it's raining, but that's pure speculation.

I've never seen so much aloe.

I have no idea what this means, but it has my attention.

A literal observation deck. From here, you can see the ocean, some of the garden, and the pool where people are getting dive certs.

This photo draws attention to a particular branch on this tree that starts at one trunk and ends at another.

And here's the branch. I wasn't able to get a better angle.

And this is the sign explaining it.

Here's the ocean/dive cert view from the deck.

And the view on our way out. Just out of the frame on the right is a little booth where we bought some hydrangea tea after trying a free sample. It was very sweet and had an interesting flavor, I'm not sure if honey was added or if it's naturally like that. I guess I'll find out when I eventually brew a pot.

Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as hiiiiiigh...

Just outside the entrance to the garden (and the gift shop) is where you park your wheelchairs, strollers, and inflatable penguins.

Down the road is a Buddhist temple.

Off to the left is a path.

At the top of the hill was a pretty extensive cemetery, but there were some people there, so we didn't stay to look around.

We went back to the main building and followed a path off in a different direction.

I think this is a fantastic place for an eternal resting spot. It's maintained but not busy, it's middle-of-the-forest quiet, and it looks out on this:

The mystery path continues!

In the middle of a wide clearing that may not have seen any people in months, we found this. I wish I knew what it was. It's large and powerful-looking, but I can't read the lettering.

We walked through increasingly dense vegetation for maybe a mile or two (and more than a few spiderwebs), and suddenly popped out in a residential street.

Like I've mentioned before, Japan isn't the hottest or most humid place on the planet, but it's atsui and mushiatsui enough that I was a sweltering, sticky blob and Walking Through the Middle of My Photos was dripping sweat off his sunglasses. We were not a pretty sight. So on the way through the 'burbs back to the train station, we stopped at a vending machine for a cool and refreshing beverage.

This was written on the side of the vending machine.
My heart are indeed thirsting for a good feeling of place, how did they know? That's uncanny!

The train ride back:
Seats on a typical Tokyo train. Note how plush and unstained they are!

There are special trains (called Romance Trains) that you can take if you have a fair amount of distance to cover and are willing to spend another $6 or so. There are assigned seats and a snack cart that offers beer and airline bottles of liquor. It was pretty nice after such a long day of walking.

Then we went to the base to grab dinner and see the fireworks!

Firework photos aren't my strong point, and the battery died before I had a chance to switch to video. The display was the best I've ever seen, hands down. There was one kind that I hadn't seen in almost fifteen years, at least two or three I'd never seen before, and some serious choreography. But fireworks are something very location-specific - you had to be there to really see what I'm getting at. But trust me, it was awesome.

Happy Fourth!


  1. Lovely photos as usual. : )
    If I'm not mistaken your lizard is a five-lined skink! We actually have them in VT but they're super duper endangered and it's big news if someone sees one. (Which is why I know what it looks like, they're pretty distinctive!)

  2. Test comment.... can you see me now?