Thursday, May 23, 2019

Kanazawa-Hakkei - Walking and Riding the Rails

Now that the major renovation of Kanazawa-Hakkei train station is nearly complete I decided to spend some time re-exploring the area.The biggest thing that the renovation did was to connect the Keikyu train line and the Seaside train line into one station. In the past one would have to exit the Keikyu station and walk across route 16 to get to the Seaside line station. Now it's so convenient; walk out of one wicket and then a few feet away is the next!

As I exited the Keikyu line I looked over at the entrance to the Seaside line. But today I'm more interested in a walk along Hirakata Bay.

A view of the Seaside train line crossing over Hirakata Bay.

There goes the Seaside train heading to Kanazawa-Hakkei station.

In the distance is  my first destination - the Sekisho Bridge. 

The Sekisho Bridge is not big or even an engineering marvel. However, it is in my opinion a pretty cool looking bridge.

On the other side of this bridge is Nojimacho.
 There are 3 view points on each side of the bridge for pedestrians to stop and...

...enjoy the view.

Next destination - Nojima Park.

Nojima Park is such a great place, especially for clam diggers!

At the far end of the park is Hirofumi Ito’s former seaside residence.
Stone lanterns in the residence garden.

Inside the residence looking out.

Outside the residence looking in. By-the-way, admission is free!

This small seawall and navigation light mark the entrance to the channel that separates Nojimacho from the mainland.

Near the bridge to Nojimakoen train station is this small restaurant. They serve fresh locally caught fish and it has been featured on TV. I hear it's very good.

Crossing the bridge over the channel, the Nojimakoen train station is on the left side.

It's getting late and I'm getting lazy so I decided to catch the Seaside train back to Kanazawa-Hakkei and call it a day.

It's a clean train with a great view of  Hirakata Bay.


Day 2: The adventure continues! I returned to Kanazawa-Hakkei a couple days later to further explore only this time I decided to take the Seaside line to Uminokōen-Shibaguchi Station and then walk back to Kanazawa-Hakkei station.

Entering the Seaside line station.

On the platform waiting for passengers to exit the train so I can enter.

 Uminokōen-Shibaguchi Station is the fourth stop on the Seaside line. After leaving the station me and my new friends head for the Marine Park beach!

It looks like a bunch of junior high school students beat me to the beach. No problem, the Marine Park is quite large and it's a great place for walking.

It's a good place for rest and relaxation too!

As close as this place is to my home in Yokosuka I really should come here more often.

Not so many people here today but come back on the weekend and it'll be a different story. 

Walking my way back to Kanazawa-Hakkei I stay cool in the shade of the Seaside line. 

Back in Nojimacho. I think this is the only store on the island.

It's low tide and the clam diggers are out in force.

I had to get off the seawall or be run over by this serious cyclist.

His destination.

As I walk through Nojima Park I'm surprised at how many people are digging for clams.

Back on the Sekisho Bridge and I decide to pause and watch the world go by.

Looks like another serious cyclist.

Leaving the Sekisho Bridge behind me its not to far to go now.

Another view of the Seaside line crossing over Hirakata Bay.

Well, I'm back at Kanazawa-Hakkei train station and it's time to go home.

Thanks for stopping by!
Mike

Thursday, May 16, 2019

State Guest House, Akasaka Palace - Tokyo, Japan

We visited the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo. This is the place where some dignitaries and VIPs that are visiting Japan are greeted, entertained and sometimes spend the night.

The front gate alone is pretty impressive.

It's a long way from the front gate to the front door of the palace.

The grounds on ether side of the entrance are beautifully maintained.

Emi had made reservations for our visit and after passing through security we entered the palace. There is no photography allowed inside the palace so I have no photographs. This website has information and interior shots https://www.geihinkan.go.jp/en/akasaka/
What I can say is that the inside is unbelievable!

After we finished the tour we walked around to the backyard.

We needed to kill an hour before we went on our special tour of the Japanese style Annex. This was no problem because the exterior of the palace and the palace grounds were plenty to keep us busy.

There's a fountain in the backyard.

Then we moved around to the front of the palace.

This place is big!


Even the awning over the side entrance is trimmed with gold.

The main entrance.

Playing around with my wide angle lens.

Looking at the main entrance from the other side.

At 12:00 we joined the group for our special tour of the Japanese Annex.

The carp pond behind the Annex.

The man with his hand up was our tour guide.

The path to the back door of the Annex.

Another view of the carp pond.

Just like the Palace we were not allowed to take pictures inside. So, here we are leaving after the tour was over.

It was a beautiful day for our tour.

Back on the Palace grounds I continued to take pictures.

Taking the long walk to the front gate.

Time to leave the Palace but not time to go home.

After a late lunch we headed to Nihonbashi.

Close to Ginza and Tokyo Station, the city district of Nihonbashi blends traditional charm with ultra-modern architecture. A major commercial center in the Edo period (1603-1867), it was the starting point of the five major roads across Japan and distances are still measured from here.

Here's Emi!

Sunday afternoon and here come the Super Mario Go Karts.

While we were standing on the corner we could hear the sounds of a Mikoshi parade in the distance and when the police showed up to direct traffic we decided to wait to see the parade.

Law & Order: Special Parade Unit... thunk thunk!

Here they come. Only a few in the front.

Then it starts to get more crowded.

The special unit maintains order.

Here comes the Mikoshi.

Things are getting wild!

But not so wild that there isn't time to check ones smart phone.

After the parade passed by we walked to Ginza where the streets are blocked off so the pedestrians can roam about freely.

It's like a big street party.


As the afternoon Sun starts to creep in we say goodbye to Ginaz and catch a train back home. It was a wonderful day!

Thanks for stopping by!
Mike

Bonus shots!