Monday, April 29, 2019

Destination - Hyōgo-ken & Kyōto-fu (Part 3)

Last day! Man, what an action packed tour this has been so far and I think today will be more of the same.

First stop is Motoise Kono Shrine.

This shrine is kind of the gateway to Amanohasidate (more on Amanohasidate soon).

Gotta do the purification thing before visiting the shrine.

It's very nice but no photography is allowed inside.

Turn left at the shrine and it's only a short walk to Fuchu station. This is where we boarded a cable car to go to Kasamatsu Park.

Kasamatsu Park is on top of a hill with the best view of "Amanohasidate".
Amanohasidate is a 3.6 kilometer sand bridge formed over thousands of years.

They say that when one views Amanohasidate upside down it looks like a dragon. Emi is up for trying this and swings into action.

She's going for it!

Now it's a been-there-done-that experience for her.

Instead of taking the cable car back down the hill we opt for the chair lift.

The chair lift is a lot more fun than the cable car.

Emi is coming in for a landing.

Time for lunch. We ate at this restaurant that is set-up for large bus tour groups.

It feels like we had lunch at a fancy country club.

Now it's time to walk across Amanohasidate.
On foot: 50 minute walk
By bicycle: 20 minute ride

It's a great after lunch walk.

Yes, it's us.

This bridge that connects Amanohasidate with the mainland can rotate 90 degrees and allow boats to pass through the channel.

Of course speed boats can pass under the bridge anytime they want.

Visitors to Chinonji Temple which is located on the other side of the bridge. The little white things hanging on the tree behind them are...

...small fans.

Not far from the Temple is Amanohasidate train station.

It's a very clean train station.

In front of the station is an area sightseeing map with lots of useful information.

Posing for photos in the tour bus parking lot.

Yes, it's me. Strange how this camera lens makes me look much fatter than I really am.

After departing the Amanohasidate area we started the long drive back to the Bullet train station where we started this fantastic 3 day tour. However, we still had a couple of stops to make along the way there.

We visited this natural spring in the middle of this very green forest.

The name of this spring is Uri-wari-no-taki and the water is drinkable and delicious. We filled up a couple of 500ml pet bottles with the water to drink later.

Inside a small hut near the spring.

Moss grows everywhere; it's like a nice green carpet.

Last stop before the long drive to the train station.

It's an old post town named Kumagawa-juku.

Last shot of the tour: A quaint old building in the post town basking in the afternoon light.

It was a fantastic 3 day group tour. We had a terrific time. The tour guide and bus driver were professional and friendly. The cold beer was cold, the hot food was hot, we laughed a lot, now I'm tired, I need a nap, and as always...

Thanks for stopping by!

Bonus shots!
Sony A7II camera and Planar T* 50mm f2 ZM lens

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Destination - Hyōgo-ken & Kyōto-fu (Part 2)

On the road again for part 2 of the Hyōgo-ken & Kyōto-fu!

We stopped at a shrine. There are so many shrines in Japan and they are all unique... I don't remember the name of this one. My wife just informed me that this is "Urashima shrine".

I'll just say that this shrine was very nice and everyone in the group had a good time. After departing the shrine we were served box lunches on the bus that were delicious.

Visiting Kyogo Misaki.
We enjoyed a great scenic view of the ocean as we hiked the trail to see a lighthouse.

Kyogo Misaki Lighthouse. It's a lighthouse on top of a steep hill. There are many stone steps up the hill to get to the lighthouse. My heart had a pretty good workout getting to the top of the hill. Yes, it's a lighthouse.

Back down the hill to the parking lot and restroom area there are about a dozen serious photographers milling about.

When we asked one of them what they were doing he replied that a certain breed of falcon can be photographed here but that they are fast and hard to capture on the camera. I wished them good luck and off we went to the next place.

Our tour guide telling us to look out the window as we follow the coast on our way to the Tango peninsula to see the Tateiwa Rock.

In the distance is Tateiwa Rock.

Such a beautiful day to walk on the beach.

The tour guide tells us that they often film samurai movies and TV shows here.

This is also where the Takeno river meets the sea.

Emi meets the rock.

Our bus is parked at the Tateiwa camping grounds.

Next stop is Kotobikihama beach, home of the singing sand.
Our tour guide turned us over to an expert on making the sand sing (the guy with the bull horn).

We were marched down to the sea, that's where the best singing sand can be found.

We formed a circle and the guide instructed us on how to make the sand sing.

He made that sand sing like Frank Sinatra! Actually he made the sand sound more like a bird chirping, or maybe a puppy dog barking. Either way, he made the sand make noise.

Emi made the sand squeal like a baby piglet.

In the singing sand parking lot our bus guide was chatting with another bus guide. Our bus is the white one.

Next stop is Kinosaki Onsen.

This is the reason we wanted to go on this trip. Kinosaki Onsen is one of the most famous Hot spring towns in Japan. There are no large hotels in Kinosaki so our group was divided into 3 groups and we were sent to 3 different Inns for the night. Two of the Inns were in town, one was on the outskirts; naturally Emi and I were in the group that was banished sent to the outskirts.  No big deal. After check in at the Inn was complete the manager of the Inn drove us to town so that Emi could go onsen hopping and I could walk around town and take pictures.

A small river runs through the center of town.

This is one of the public bath houses.

The river is lined with willow trees and there are many stone bridges crossing the river.

The streets are very narrow. It's amazing that the tour buses can squeeze through the town.

It's very popular to walk around in yukata (a kind of Kimono).

It's getting late in the day.

It's such a scenic town.

We happen to be visiting when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

People are taking selfies and pictures of each other all over the place.

Many of these visitors are from China, Europe, Canada, from all over the world.

It's quite remarkable to see so many people walking around town in the Yukata that the Inns provide you with while you are visiting.

There goes Emi! We're heading back to our Inn to enjoy dinner and of course a cold beer! Make that a few cold beers! It's been a long day.

Part 3 will be posted in a few days.

Thanks for stopping by!