Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kamakura by the Sea

Most people think of the Great Buddha when Kamakura is mentioned but there is so much more to the area than that. For instance, there's Yuigahama beach! About a one kilometer walk from the Kamakura train station is a very nice beach that is popular with surfers and windsurfers.

If one visits here in the winter during the work week the place is almost deserted.

One thing that surprised me was how many fisherman operate from this beach.

This guy was very protective of his fishing nets.


At the far end of the beach there is a well maintained promenade for leisurely walking or jogging.

There are a few breakwaters in place to help stop the waves from splashing on the walkway.

By continuing along the promenade I arrived at a Inamuragasaki park which has a scenic view of Enoshima and Mt. Fuji.

The park is in the foreground and that's route 134 running along the coast.

As the wind picked up the seas were getting quite choppy.

This fellow was getting his girl friend to pose for a picture. One good sized wave and it might be the last time for that.

Of course there are the more traditional sights in Kamakura; like this tori gate.

Then there is one of my favorite sights. Girls in colorful kimonos.

Plum blossoms are starting to bloom.

Walking around the grounds surrounding the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine I noticed this sign. Good info for the English language readers.

Paper prayers on a wire.

A self purification station.

Shrine maidens going about their business.

The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine on the hill. A lot of history; just google it if interested.

A lot of foreign tourists here today as well as domestic sightseers.

More plum blossoms.

For 500 yen one can walk through the Botan (Peony) flower garden and in my opinion it's well worth the price of admission.

The botan flowers are protected from the harsh sun.

If one is feeling exhausted from looking at all the beautiful flowers there are plenty of benches to sit on and take a break,

A traditional bamboo and paper umbrella.

Handmade craftsmanship at its finest.

That was it for my Kamakura adventure. And, now some bonus pictures from... Yokohama!

The Royal Wing cruise ship pulling away from Osanbashi pier.

She's the queen and he thinks he's going to be the King.

The view of Minatomirai from Osanbashi pier.

There's always some kind of flowers blooming in Yamashita park.

A young couple having a professional photo shoot. Heck, they can have my picture for free.

Looks like a little blue Michelin man.

Ice skating makes her happy.

All she needs is a hockey stick and she'll be ready for the female Olympic team.

Coffee break time. This guy is a real chick magnet. All the ladies were hanging on his every word.

My cuppa coffee!

Thanks for stopping by!
Mike

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Atami & Shimoda - Sightseeing by Train

It was time for a trip so we decided to go to the Izu peninsula and visit Shimoda for one night and then Atami on the next night. If we headed straight to Shimoda on the first day we would arrive to early for our 15:00 free hotel shuttle so in route we made a stop at Atami for a little walk around and lunch before continuing on to Shimoda.

Day 1: Standing outside of Atami station. The outside of the station as been completely renovated. It's all sleek and modern.

In front of the station is a hot spring foot bath - it's free and completely open to the public. As a full time pedestrian I'm very appreciative of a hot foot bath; soothing and relaxing for your feet and your mind.

Around the station there are numerous shops selling local delicacies.

Squid and fish drying on a rack - yummy!

Atami is a hilly place. Buildings are built to conform to the terrain.

In someways Atami reminds me of San Francisco.

Since this is a tourist town there are shops and restaurants everywhere.

Must be good, there's a long waiting line to get in.

This covered shopping street is quite the gathering place.

Must be expensive, no one is waiting to get in.

After walking around town for awhile and grabbing some lunch we're back on the train platform at Atami station ready to ride the rails along the sea coast to Shimoda.

We lucked out and managed to get two seats on the ocean side of the train. Off we go!

It is often said that the journey is more important than the destination. I'll say that the journey on the train is great fun and that the view is fantastic.

In some spots the train line is right on the coast. I imagine that in rough weather they have to delay the train.

Passing over the river in Kawazu.

We have arrived in Shimoda.

Exiting from the platform.

Our hotel was at Yumigahama beach and the next morning I went out early for a sunrise photo experience.

Well, there was no beautiful sunrise, however, I did enjoy myself anyway.

After breakfast we took the hotel shuttle back to Shimoda station and to our surprise we boarded the "Black Ship Train". The seating arrangement on the Black Ship train is arranged to make the most of the scenic ocean view.

I would have thought that we'd have to pay more to ride this train, but we didn't. I guess we're just lucky!

Despite the day being overcast and gray, it was still terrific fun.

Speeding along the coast in a warm comfortable train coach is a real treat for me.

My seating neighbor was also enjoying the view.

Passing by one seaside town after another.

The day is getting nicer.

Getting closer to Atami. I wouldn't mind staying on the train all day shuttling back and forth between Atami and Shimoda.

After arriving at Atami we dropped our bags off at the hotel and went out for a walk. The waterfront is is nicely developed for sightseeing.

We walked, she ran.

In the background one can see all the hotels covering the hill side.

Casting a long shadow.

Atami is a pretty darn nice place.

Clean, scenic, and easy to walk around, what more could one want? Well, if one also wanted clean public restrooms, there are plenty of them too!

Sadly enough all good things must come to an end and the next day it was time to go home. It's funny, the outside of Atami train station is all modern and impressive while the platforms are as they have always been

Back on a train homeward bound.

I continued to gaze out the window like a small child in awe of his surroundings while others, like this fellow across from me just snoozes. Oh well.
It was a great trip; looking forward to the next.

Thanks for stopping by!
Mike