Friday, November 25, 2016

Hakone - A Place of Peace & Tranquility

If you associate the beauty of nature with peace & tranquility and that is something you can appreciate and may very well seek out for enjoyment then Hakone may be the place for you. We recently spent two days in Hakone traveling via a multitude of vehicles to get around using a special two day transportation pass.

Our first stop was this incredible botanical park.

Way above sea level this wetland park is beautiful even on a bleak overcast day.

In search of Swamp Thing.

There is an abundance of autumn colors.

The trails through the park are well maintained.

I'm a big fan of yellow leaves.

A boardwalk gets us through the marshy bog.

Surrounded by misty hills.

There are times when more is better than less - like now!

One could not ask for a better person to spend their life with than my wonderful wife.

Reds are good too!

Time for lunch. This restaurant was within walking distance of the park.

After lunch we boarded a local bus using our special pass to visit the Pola museum of art.
It's an incredible art museum in the middle of a forest. This particular painting was my favorite.

After the museum we caught another local bus then connected at Gora with the local train. This train travels up and down the mountain using switchbacks to deal with the steep assent.

We were not alone in the train.

Day two: High in the sky on the Hakano rope way.

The rope way makes a stop at Owakudani station. This place is described on the guide map as "sulphurous vapor erupting area" and that describes it perfectly.

They sell black hard boiled eggs here. They cook the eggs in naturally boiling sulphur water.

Returning to Owakudani station to catch another rope way car to take us to lake Ashi.

Kids love the view from the car; me too!

Passing by Mt. Fuji.

Lake Ashi with authentic tourist pirate boats.

Emi and I decided to walk along the lake shore for a little exercise.

More of that Peace & Tranquility stuff.

Such a lovely day.

Working our way back to the tourist boats.

Crossing the lake in style.

We caught a bus from lake Ashi to Hakone Yumoto station.

We decided to go for a walk along the Sukumo river. This shot was taken pointing my camera directly into the afternoon glare of the sun.

I like rivers.

Passing by a Geisha theater.

Emi marches on.

The sound of the river is music to my ears.

Last shot of the day: Crossing over the Yumoto train station platform to get to the other side where we'll board our highway bus to take us home.

Great trip! Using public transportation from start to finish was a great way to travel.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Godzilla lives in Kurihama - True!

I heard about a flower park in Kurihama and I decided to check it out. I've actually heard about this place for many years but never considered exploring so close to home. Well, times have changed and I'm looking inward as well as outward. So, off I set for Kurihama to see what there was to see.

I found the entrance to the park not so far from the Kurihama ferry landing.

A map at the entrance showed the lay out of the park quit clearly. It's a 2 kilometer route that crosses over a pretty big hill.

Up, up, and away! There is no warm up time, the trail immediately starts to ascend at a pretty good angle.

Passing by the sign that is visible from the ferry landing. Still ascending; this is great exercise for those that consider walking up a steep hill good exercise.

As the hill levels off a bit I discover a nice little restaurant that features spaghetti and pizza.

There is nothing I like better than a park with clean restrooms. This one was Spic & Span clean.

While it's late in the season there are still some flowers in bloom.

Good dependable transportation; like a cattle car for children.

As the hill finally leveled out and I came around the bend in the trail I noticed a small city bus with small children pouring out of it. What could it be?

Oh my goodness! It's Godzilla's home! The children were making a bee line to the belly of the beast. The belly is actually the entrance to a slide that exits out his rear-end and down his tail.

Behind Godzilla is a pretty cool playground for kids.

Moving on I was now in search for the cosmos flowers that the park is famous for. There is supposed to be a huge field of beautiful cosmos flowers somewhere in this park.

Uh-oh, I'm too late. The fields have been cleared and preparations are in place for next seasons plantings.

As I descended down the hill I noticed a nice wood patio for enjoying the outdoor atmosphere; read a book, eat a lunch or just chat with a friend.

Down the hill I go past the bare field covered with bags of fertilizer.

This end of the trail is the entrance nearest the Kurihama train station. Everything was closed for the season.

Well, at least I could get a can of coffee from a vending machine and take a little break by these nice flowers.

Exiting the entrance.

The avenue leading up to the park is lined with cherry blossom trees. This will be extraordinary in the spring when the blossoms are in bloom.

Just outside the flower park is another park. This is the kind of park where one would bring their preschooler to run amok.

This pavilion would make great shelter from unexpected rainfall.

A couple of old friends having lunch.

I was so impressed with the park that a couple days later I returned for a second look.

I started from the Kurihama train station side of the park. Today there were young school children playing in the park.

Today there were gardeners working the flower fields.

Climbing higher and higher. I must be getting old; not shown in the picture is a mother with a baby in a stroller passing me by like I was standing still.

A view from the top. I'm really looking forward to seeing this place when the cosmos is in bloom.

Having fun with Godzilla! This Godzilla replica is quite life like. Great attention to detail.

Funny what changing the camera angle can do to make a park play thing look like a menacing monster.

And, nearby a couple of parents quietly sip their tea while keeping an eye on their children playing in the park.

Working my way through the park.

What goes up must go down.

Pausing on the way down at a lookout point to take a picture of the ferry port.

The power plant is easily visible from here too.

Back down on sea level taking pictures of anything that doesn't move; fishing port junk!

Kurihama beach junk boats.

Last shot of the day: Just walking along the river on my way to the train station.
For anyone living in this area looking for a cheap way to enjoy the outdoors, I highly recommend visiting the Kurihama flower park. Just google it for a ton of information and images.

Thanks for stopping by!