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Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Page 8

Day 22 - Saturday, 11 November 2017

All the views

OK, I took 43 pictures today, so this description will be brief, and lacking any kind of tangents or bonus observations not related to the day.
I went to Mount Tanzawa, from Yokohama.
This required 3 trains and a bus.
First train just a local one to the main Yokohama station, I was in a hurry otherwise I would walk.
Second train from Yokohama to Ebina.
Third train from Ebina to Shibusawa.
Then just enought time to leap on the awaiting bus full of hikers to the trail start point.

Everything lined up perfectly, and the return trip was also very smooth.

Today was a fantastic hike, long, but amazing views the whole day.
When I started, it was a bit cloudy, but then Fuji came out and was there for hours.
There were colorful leaves lower down, bamboo forests higher up, rocks, steps, 2 peaks.
In addition to Fuji there are also views of the entire coastline including Yokohama, and also all of Tokyo.

Total time on the trail was about 6.5 hours, somewhere over 20km, with only a brief stop at the second summit.
I then ran back down wherever I could, many other people stay in one of the mountain huts overnight before returning, or going down the other side the next morning.
One of the reasons to do this is so you can see Fuji during the sunrise, when its likely to be cloud free, but it was cloud free for hours so I dont feel as though I missed out.
Onto the pics.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is a very popular hike, and its a Saturday. There is a large carpark, information building, cafe etc. Also frequent buses on Saturday. I was ther

This is a very popular hike, and its a Saturday. There is a large carpark, information building, cafe etc. Also frequent buses on Saturday.
I was there early, but my bus was packed to the gills with hikers. Actually the entire train was hikers.
My two eventual peaks are at the back of this photo - beyond the ugly wires and the pine trees.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I think this sign is warning about leeches. Maybe this is why I am the only person ever to wear shorts in Japan. I dont think its leech season.

I think this sign is warning about leeches. Maybe this is why I am the only person ever to wear shorts in Japan.
I dont think its leech season.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Those arent actually where I was going, I think mine are around to the left up the valley, I hate the wires.

Those arent actually where I was going, I think mine are around to the left up the valley, I hate the wires.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It was still quite cloudy and a bit dark at times, this is a poor photo looking back down at Shibusawa, I took the same photo again later in the day w

It was still quite cloudy and a bit dark at times, this is a poor photo looking back down at Shibusawa, I took the same photo again later in the day which looks much better.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There were probably 5 such mountain huts to stay at on the trail today. You have to book, it costs money etc. Not the sort of thing I would like to do

There were probably 5 such mountain huts to stay at on the trail today. You have to book, it costs money etc. Not the sort of thing I would like to do, but plenty of other people were.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Due to the popularity of this hike, they have put in lots of boards and steps like this otherwise it turns to slushy mud. A few random spots were very

Due to the popularity of this hike, they have put in lots of boards and steps like this otherwise it turns to slushy mud. A few random spots were very muddy and needed some plank-work.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Great views no doubt, but I have to get up higher before the amazing views start.

Great views no doubt, but I have to get up higher before the amazing views start.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Lower down there was some color to appreciate, especially when the sun came out.

Lower down there was some color to appreciate, especially when the sun came out.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I think a lot of the leaves were stripped during the typhoon, its a bit weird, some are still green but lots are missing. Its almost like its past its

I think a lot of the leaves were stripped during the typhoon, its a bit weird, some are still green but lots are missing. Its almost like its past its best but still green. This is a poor explanation of what I mean.
The colors arent as good as last year!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - First view of the other side of the mountain range.

First view of the other side of the mountain range.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Heres another mountain hut. Theres no power, no water, and no road at all. I believe they get some of their supplies by helicopter.

Heres another mountain hut. Theres no power, no water, and no road at all. I believe they get some of their supplies by helicopter.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Thats the ocean. The clouds looked great.

Thats the ocean. The clouds looked great.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The view down the coast. If a Tsunami came now, I was safe.

The view down the coast. If a Tsunami came now, I was safe.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more view from this lower down spot. No fuji yet!

A bit more view from this lower down spot. No fuji yet!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Kind of superfluous, more coast, the hills in the foreground look good. I am up higher here.

Kind of superfluous, more coast, the hills in the foreground look good. I am up higher here.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The view down the valley, Fuji is down there, behind cloud, but dont worry....

The view down the valley, Fuji is down there, behind cloud, but dont worry....


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Pretty high up how but still not the summit. More great views of the ocean.

Pretty high up how but still not the summit. More great views of the ocean.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - First one of these for the day. I am sweating a lot. I went really hard on the way up, passed hundreds of people.

First one of these for the day. I am sweating a lot. I went really hard on the way up, passed hundreds of people.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The first summit. Most people stop here. It is called Tou-no-dake. I had no intention of stopping though, its another hour to Mount Tanzawa!

The first summit. Most people stop here. It is called Tou-no-dake. I had no intention of stopping though, its another hour to Mount Tanzawa!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit hard to see, but that is Tokyo.

A bit hard to see, but that is Tokyo.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Almost out of the cloud. Look at that valley!

Almost out of the cloud. Look at that valley!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I had to head around to that peak on the left. The sea of little bamboo starts.

I had to head around to that peak on the left. The sea of little bamboo starts.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Bamboo plus almost all of Fuji. I struggled to only take 43 photos! Look at the water in the valley, the pine trees on the sides of the mountains. One

Bamboo plus almost all of Fuji. I struggled to only take 43 photos!
Look at the water in the valley, the pine trees on the sides of the mountains. One of these will end up on my wall.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And there we go, completely unobscured by cloud!

And there we go, completely unobscured by cloud!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I stuck my ugly head into the frame to ruin the view.

I stuck my ugly head into the frame to ruin the view.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Lets have a vertical one as well with a tiny statue.

Lets have a vertical one as well with a tiny statue.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And one more peaking through under the summit sign.

And one more peaking through under the summit sign.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And another vertical shot of the amazing valley, bamboo, fuji. I dont really need to add words here.

And another vertical shot of the amazing valley, bamboo, fuji. I dont really need to add words here.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Well and truly on my way back to Tou-no-dake from Tanzawa. The view of the bamboo in the sunlight was also fantastic.

Well and truly on my way back to Tou-no-dake from Tanzawa. The view of the bamboo in the sunlight was also fantastic.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I cant stop taking similar photos.

I cant stop taking similar photos.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Back at Tou-no-dake and its now packed with people I passed on the way up. They arent going any further than here though, lazy.

Back at Tou-no-dake and its now packed with people I passed on the way up. They arent going any further than here though, lazy.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more Tokyo. I needed zoom to make that work.

A bit more Tokyo. I needed zoom to make that work.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - To re-use one of my comments from the Taiwan trip -  Push her!

To re-use one of my comments from the Taiwan trip -
Push her!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There are lots of paths up lots of mountains linking up in this area. Many you need a car to get to though.

There are lots of paths up lots of mountains linking up in this area. Many you need a car to get to though.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - OK, one more because of the awesome clouds!

OK, one more because of the awesome clouds!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more color on the way down.

A bit more color on the way down.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And as promised, heres the same photo I took on the way up showing the sizeable city of Shibusawa.

And as promised, heres the same photo I took on the way up showing the sizeable city of Shibusawa.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Back at the bottom and they have built a very impressive pedestrian only suspension bridge to a campground.

Back at the bottom and they have built a very impressive pedestrian only suspension bridge to a campground.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It was getting late in the day, light was getting awesome.

It was getting late in the day, light was getting awesome.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Of course I had to cross it before the bus came, stil cant really see up the valley to the main peaks from here though.

Of course I had to cross it before the bus came, stil cant really see up the valley to the main peaks from here though.


Here are your shops

Apparently I am doing requests now.
Yokohama does have lots of shops. There are department stores, underground malls, long open air malls etc.
Tonight I went to a few of them, but not all of them, not even close.
There is no actual city centre, the 'Yokohama' area is actually quite small. Sakuragicho, Minatomirai, Chojamachi are all a lot busier.

Most of the very large modern looking buildings are actually shopping malls on the lower levels and underground.
They all have restaurant floors and 'streets' even if the streets are underground and indoors, just like other parts of Japan.
So there you go, theres all the info on where the shopping malls and stores and whatever are in Yokohama.

Now I feel pleasently exhausted. Its a most wonderful feeling most people never get to experience. Jelly legs from walking down the mountain, I can barely stay awak at 9:30pm.
Tomorrow I am back to Tokyo for 4 more nights. I better find some funny stories to make up otherwise this will be boring to read.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Before I selected my dinner, I got to see omurice being made, which I thought was fascinating. There is no way I would be able to do what is required

Before I selected my dinner, I got to see omurice being made, which I thought was fascinating.
There is no way I would be able to do what is required with an omelette to get it to go over the rice.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is inside the red brick warehouse down at the port. 3 levels of boutique shops. More touristy than the boutique shops of last night at motomatchi

This is inside the red brick warehouse down at the port. 3 levels of boutique shops. More touristy than the boutique shops of last night at motomatchi.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Heres a long exposure of the red brick warehouse. Everyone else was doing tripods etc. Lots of people were turning up here for dinner in limo's.

Heres a long exposure of the red brick warehouse. Everyone else was doing tripods etc.
Lots of people were turning up here for dinner in limo's.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The skyline plus ferris wheel. I am standing on top of a huge shopping mall thing.

The skyline plus ferris wheel. I am standing on top of a huge shopping mall thing.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Inside was a hawaiian themed food court, and I briefly considered having a savoury pancake meal.

Inside was a hawaiian themed food court, and I briefly considered having a savoury pancake meal.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - But then I decided on Korean tofu stew. Delicious. Damn cheap. Lots of mushrooms in the stew also.

But then I decided on Korean tofu stew. Delicious. Damn cheap. Lots of mushrooms in the stew also.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The fun park was not drawing a lot of customers on a Saturday night.

The fun park was not drawing a lot of customers on a Saturday night.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - That building in the front that looks like the Parthenon, also a shopping mall. I missed it on my way over from ferris wheel mall world because its we

That building in the front that looks like the Parthenon, also a shopping mall. I missed it on my way over from ferris wheel mall world because its wedged between the fun park and the water.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And heres a giant whaling ship in the harbour, unloading its tasty tasty catch.

And heres a giant whaling ship in the harbour, unloading its tasty tasty catch.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The sakuragicho station area is chock full of shopping malls.

The sakuragicho station area is chock full of shopping malls.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Behind it are a grid of restaurants, maid bars etc. Yokohamas Kabukicho.

Behind it are a grid of restaurants, maid bars etc. Yokohamas Kabukicho.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Then there is this strange place, running along the edge of a canal, all these little bars are just a few feet wide. They all seemed very popular.

Then there is this strange place, running along the edge of a canal, all these little bars are just a few feet wide. They all seemed very popular.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Final photo for tonight, a very low calorie ice cream. Much more ice than cream, and its really like they froze a cup of tea. I liked it.

Final photo for tonight, a very low calorie ice cream. Much more ice than cream, and its really like they froze a cup of tea. I liked it.


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

adriana on 2017-11-11 said:

Night shots are your best yet. I know what jelly legs feel like, but wouldn't say it's a favorite.


mother on 2017-11-11 said:

Spectacular! the one of Fuji before the people sitting eating on the way down definitely needs to be framed.



Day 23 - Sunday, 12 November 2017

I have returned

I have indeed returned to Tokyo, my last stop, but still have 4 nights here before boarding my plane home, plenty of time left to climb more things.
The weather appears to be good for all my remaining days, in anticipation I have purchased the Tokyo wide 3 day train pass again, which gets you to almost everywhere in a 200km radius, including all the mountains.

Before all that, todays story -
I was lined up at a cafe for my matcha tea latte, watching this unfold in front of me.
3 or 4 people had paid and were trying to get past a woman with a baby in a stroller / pram / pusher, she was rocking this baby carrier on wheels back and forth, her baby was asleep in it.
Simultaneously, 3 or 4 people were trying to leave, so theres about 8 people, vs lady with baby.
At first me and everyone else thought she was just an inconsiderate horrible mother, trying to pretend her baby is important, looking for attention.
As each person tried to pass, she would move the baby all terrain vehicle at their shins, they would stop, this happened about ten times.
Then one guy tried to step over, she rammed him! Hard.
He was taken aback, and kind of looked on. Another lady in the other direction thought this cant be right, and tried to squeeze past, not only did she get rammed, she now got yelled at by this crazed mother.
So now the poor girls serving in the cafe are trying their best to ask her to politely stop being a stupid bitch, this sent her into a rage, and she starts ramming everything with her baby. 2 cups of coffee went flying, the floor was now a sea of coffee.
The woman then just kept yelling and yelling and left. Presumably she went straight to the nearby station and flung herself onto the tracks.
Flinging yourself onto the tracks happens multiple times a day!

My final hotel of this trip is back in Ueno, an area of Tokyo I am very familiar with. It is so very very cheap, but that means, no window! Quite small even though apparently its a double, a bit dated, no bath.
Onto the pics.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Before leaving Yokohama, I had time for another walk around the city, I found this colorful park up some steps. Great weather again.

Before leaving Yokohama, I had time for another walk around the city, I found this colorful park up some steps. Great weather again.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Nearby I met my new best friend in Japan. He followed me for a while and kept me entertained. I think he might have been deaf actually, when I first s

Nearby I met my new best friend in Japan. He followed me for a while and kept me entertained. I think he might have been deaf actually, when I first saw him I got very very close to him before he realised and he leapt into the air when he noticed me.
After his initial fright he was very friendly.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - View from the garden of the grey looking port area.

View from the garden of the grey looking port area.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The garden up here was quite extensive, very formal English style.

The garden up here was quite extensive, very formal English style.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I could hear lots of different cars being revved to death across the city this morning. Sunday must be car club day. I like this old Porsche, it has a

I could hear lots of different cars being revved to death across the city this morning. Sunday must be car club day. I like this old Porsche, it has a large chrome pipe back into the cabin from the Engine at the back, presumably to pipe noise in!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I found myself back at the Motomachi street. Looks good, but other than a couple of cafes, closed.

I found myself back at the Motomachi street. Looks good, but other than a couple of cafes, closed.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Time for one last walk through China town before checking out of my hotel.

Time for one last walk through China town before checking out of my hotel.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This seems to be a celebration of the 120 year anniversary of Japan taking over Taiwan. Really, I think thats what it was!

This seems to be a celebration of the 120 year anniversary of Japan taking over Taiwan. Really, I think thats what it was!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Now I am in colorful Ueno, its very busy. Most lunch places have huge lines.

Now I am in colorful Ueno, its very busy. Most lunch places have huge lines.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I wandered away and ended up at this police check point, entire huge road closed....

I wandered away and ended up at this police check point, entire huge road closed....


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Ahh, its Sunday, in Akihabara, they close off the road, I have never actually been on a Sunday before. It makes it seem a lot less busy. This photo wo

Ahh, its Sunday, in Akihabara, they close off the road, I have never actually been on a Sunday before. It makes it seem a lot less busy.
This photo would have been great without the sun bleed.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I am always amused at shops that are nothing but coin capsule machines.

I am always amused at shops that are nothing but coin capsule machines.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The local exibition centre is having a gaming expo, the future must be all VR cause thats what 90% of things are. You had to pay to get in, so I just

The local exibition centre is having a gaming expo, the future must be all VR cause thats what 90% of things are.
You had to pay to get in, so I just took a photo through the window.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is a Mclaren, it is adorned with stickers advertising a show on the radio. So I took a photo. The owner was very unhappy that I did. So lets reca

This is a Mclaren, it is adorned with stickers advertising a show on the radio. So I took a photo. The owner was very unhappy that I did.
So lets recap. You park a supercar, on a closed road, in Akihabara, on a Sunday, with advertisements stuck to it, and you dont want anyone to take a photo?


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Nearby is a local farmers market, right in between all the electronics stores and fat people in costumes pretending to be teddy bears, seems out of pl

Nearby is a local farmers market, right in between all the electronics stores and fat people in costumes pretending to be teddy bears, seems out of place.
Mushrooms look delicious though!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Its the Tokyo gun show! Highly disturbing. Machine guns and pistols on show.

Its the Tokyo gun show! Highly disturbing. Machine guns and pistols on show.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Yes, his jacket says 'The Gun Maker Carrying Out Extreme Sensitivity'. Level of disturbing increases.

Yes, his jacket says 'The Gun Maker Carrying Out Extreme Sensitivity'. Level of disturbing increases.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Level of disturbing peaking. This is a cafe where you can pay a small fortune to let a teenage girl dressed as a maid mess about with your inner ear c

Level of disturbing peaking.
This is a cafe where you can pay a small fortune to let a teenage girl dressed as a maid mess about with your inner ear canal using a fish hook.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I had to flee back to Ueno, where I found this temple hidden in the streets with a view of the passing trains to reflect on what I had seen.

I had to flee back to Ueno, where I found this temple hidden in the streets with a view of the passing trains to reflect on what I had seen.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And finally, heres my dark hotel room. Japanese people love Martha Stewart, she is on tv 24x7.

And finally, heres my dark hotel room. Japanese people love Martha Stewart, she is on tv 24x7.


Ueno to Shinjuku is not far

Chances are if you have been to Tokyo that you have ridden on the Yamanote line that goes in a circle around the main parts of the city.
You might then know that Ueno is near Tokyo station, and the opposite side of the city from Shinjuku and Shibuya.
That means I would of course choose to see how long it would take to walk across all of Tokyo instead, the answer, about 2 hours.

The journey goes through some very quiet parts of central Tokyo, there was really only one big shopping area, pictured below, as well as the Tokyo-dome stadium which I couldnt get a picture of.
It is also up hill nearly the whole way, I wasnt really expecting that, I guess I was walking towards the mountains, but I always considered Tokyo to be very flat.

And now, the story of how someone tried to scam me!
I caught the train back, and as I was walking over the overpass near Ueno station, a little Japanese 'girl' came running over crying.
There was no one else about at all, I felt as though I had come out the wrong exit.
Then she proceeded to tell me that she urgently needed money to get home to Kyoto. She had lost all her money and had no way to contact her parents for help.
She spoke absolutely perfect English, and chose to target me specifically.
I like how she selected Kyoto as her destination, knowing that English speakers holidaying in Japan would know where Kyoto is.
I congratulated her on her great English, suggested she should improve her story though, she looked at least 25 years old, too old to be crying because she was going to get in trouble with her parents.
And also, probably best to not have your phone in your back pocket when you are telling this scam story.
She stopped crying instantly once the game was up and scurried off.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is the one busy shopping area between Ueno and Shinjuku, Kagurazaka.

This is the one busy shopping area between Ueno and Shinjuku, Kagurazaka.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There were of course supermarkets amongst the residential apartment buildings. This one has a PET bottle recycling machine. I was excited.

There were of course supermarkets amongst the residential apartment buildings. This one has a PET bottle recycling machine. I was excited.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - On the edge of Shinjuku is this temple, which is a shed, a metal frame, and some plastic balloons.

On the edge of Shinjuku is this temple, which is a shed, a metal frame, and some plastic balloons.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Now we do a bit of Shinjuku neon.

Now we do a bit of Shinjuku neon.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Godzilla street. Later I will compare to my photo from last year, but it seemed pretty quiet tonight.

Godzilla street. Later I will compare to my photo from last year, but it seemed pretty quiet tonight.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I came here to have my favourite tomato ramen with gorgonzola and chorizo. I convinced myself that by walking there I would burn off the extra calorie

I came here to have my favourite tomato ramen with gorgonzola and chorizo. I convinced myself that by walking there I would burn off the extra calories. I am delusional.
I am going to have to let my belt out a notch soon.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - In the back streets of Kabukicho there is this walkway through an urban forest.

In the back streets of Kabukicho there is this walkway through an urban forest.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This leads you to the Golden Gai area. This is now ONLY FOR WHITE PEOPLE. If you want to find all the Australians in Tokyo, go here.

This leads you to the Golden Gai area. This is now ONLY FOR WHITE PEOPLE.
If you want to find all the Australians in Tokyo, go here.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - All the signs in the Golden Gai are only in English. All advertising no cover charge for foreign tourists. Drinks are expensive though, considering yo

All the signs in the Golden Gai are only in English. All advertising no cover charge for foreign tourists. Drinks are expensive though, considering you can buy cans of full strength beer at the convenience store for $1.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - No photos. Oh really. Thats all anyone not drinking is doing.

No photos. Oh really. Thats all anyone not drinking is doing.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - OK, one more of the Golden Gai, I dont understand its allure.

OK, one more of the Golden Gai, I dont understand its allure.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It really did seem very quiet.

It really did seem very quiet.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is the crossing right by the station, where are all the people?

This is the crossing right by the station, where are all the people?


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

mother on 2017-11-12 said:

Must be shichi go san festival. 3 year old girls,five year old boys and 7 year old girls blessing at shrine for long life. You will see little children in kimono there. you are having some interesting unusual experiences this time. place is getting ruined now with too many tourists.


jenny on 2017-11-12 said:

Your trip seems to have gone very fast.



Day 24 - Monday, 13 November 2017

Central mountain route

Today I hiked over the most difficult section of the Nakesendo trail, one of the original routes between Tokyo and Kyoto.
It really wasnt that difficult, but I am reliably informed that the central mountain route, which is the translation of Nakasendo, over the Usui pass which is where you cross from Gunma to Nagano prefectures, is the hardest part of any of the ancient roads between the two Japanese capitals.
Getting there was easy enough, I decided to start at the bottom and hike up hill all day, because thats what I do, I much prefer the up hill than the down hill.
I first took a bullet train from Ueno, where I am staying, to Takasaki, where I changed to a normal train to the end of the line at Yokokawa. I am fully aware all these places sound the same.
From Yokokawa, you first hike along the old abandoned rail line, although its not quite abandoned yet, there is a train museum that still runs diesel locomotives along the line to keep some old retired train drivers happy.

After about 4km of that nice trail accomponied by Japanese old folks, I found the place where you can join on with the trail proper.
At first it was a really steep climb, but it doesnt last long, it then becomes a 3 hour gentle constantly up hill climb.
I passed no one at all, which was surprising, until 100 people all at once came in the other direction as part of an organised tour. Including Australian old folks. 3 of whom were proudly wearing 'old farts slow hiking club' jackets. They told me they had selected this section of the trail because it was gently downhill the whole way.

You would think on such an established trail I couldnt get lost, but I kind of did. After about 3 hours I came to a fork in the trail. One side was clearly marked Zhong Shan Dao (chinese and japanese characters are the same for this), the other side was not marked. So I followed the marked path.
Soon after my choice of path became pretty overgrown, with huge logs crossing the path, streams to forward. I was sure I had gone the wrong way so I doubled back and took the other path.
This one was actually marked on google and I knew it would get me to my eventual destination of Karuizawa, but I was confused.
Eventually the Nakasendo rejoined this 'road', so it seems I could have stayed on the marked trail.

Soon after I got to a temple which marks the end of this section, and I thought my day was pretty much over, just walk back to the train at Karuizawa. Well thats another 8km!

Karuizawa is an amazing place. It is a modern ski resort / shopping resort / Onsen town that somehow convinced the rail people to put a bullet train station in town.
Then there is the gigantic upmarket shopping mall, Karuizawa Prince, with adjoining outlet shopping mall, ski slopes with man made snow, and up the other end of town, Ginza tourist street.
The place was packed, on a weekday, out of season.
Whoever thought up the idea should win business person of the year award.

After wondering how the hell the place could exist, it was time to board the direct bullet train back to Ueno, very convenient, and all covered on my 3 day pass.

Somehow over my 30km of walking today I have managed to take 31 photos, they dont seem to be much good, but perhaps my expectations are now too high after my last mountain experience with Fuji from Tanzawa.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is where the train line ends, at a train museum, in the colorful town of Yokokawa. I would be going up and over the pass seen here around to the

This is where the train line ends, at a train museum, in the colorful town of Yokokawa. I would be going up and over the pass seen here around to the left.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - First part followed an abandoned rail line, with a train running on it. I think I need to clean my lense, direct sun bothers it too much.

First part followed an abandoned rail line, with a train running on it. I think I need to clean my lense, direct sun bothers it too much.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - After the track curves around, I will be heading up there. I did my best to hide as many wires as I could in this shot.

After the track curves around, I will be heading up there. I did my best to hide as many wires as I could in this shot.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The tunnels today were very well lit, tracks removed, no need for a torch at all.

The tunnels today were very well lit, tracks removed, no need for a torch at all.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Ahhh, heres the sign I have been waiting for, the hard part now begins.

Ahhh, heres the sign I have been waiting for, the hard part now begins.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - First there was great light amongst the cedars, and no bears in site despite the warning signs.

First there was great light amongst the cedars, and no bears in site despite the warning signs.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A view across a valley of a golf course and some wires.

A view across a valley of a golf course and some wires.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - There were a huge amount of historical markers and ruins along the ancient road. I chose to photograph just this one, so appreciate it.

There were a huge amount of historical markers and ruins along the ancient road. I chose to photograph just this one, so appreciate it.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - That is the famous old town of Sakamoto, where people would stay before going over the Usui pass. I know its famous because I read that it was. Becaus

That is the famous old town of Sakamoto, where people would stay before going over the Usui pass. I know its famous because I read that it was. Because I followed the train line at first I didnt actually go through this town, but you can.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It was constant up hill all day, the leaves were past their best, but still at times spectacular, especially in the first half of the hike.

It was constant up hill all day, the leaves were past their best, but still at times spectacular, especially in the first half of the hike.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Serow again! These things seem really dumb, no wonder they were hunted almost to extinction. It just looks at me waiting to get an arrow between its e

Serow again! These things seem really dumb, no wonder they were hunted almost to extinction. It just looks at me waiting to get an arrow between its eyes.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And now we do a trio of color, 1 of 3.

And now we do a trio of color, 1 of 3.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - 2 of 3.

2 of 3.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - 3 of 3, after this it all became dead and brown. At this stage I was annoyed I had brought my jacket, it was hot! Felt like 15c. That would change.

3 of 3, after this it all became dead and brown.
At this stage I was annoyed I had brought my jacket, it was hot! Felt like 15c. That would change.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I actually got up quite high today, but there are no summits as such, its all a mountainous area, the city of Karuizawa is quite high up I think.

I actually got up quite high today, but there are no summits as such, its all a mountainous area, the city of Karuizawa is quite high up I think.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - First sign of modern civilization, apparently an old school, and its bus. I have no idea how the bus ever got here, the road is gone now.

First sign of modern civilization, apparently an old school, and its bus. I have no idea how the bus ever got here, the road is gone now.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It was at this point that I thought I had gone the wrong way, so I doubled back. I think what has happened is people know the water is over the main p

It was at this point that I thought I had gone the wrong way, so I doubled back.
I think what has happened is people know the water is over the main path so take the old road pictured below. I could have actually gone either way.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is the old road which presumably went to the school. Its dead and brown now, and nothings driven down here for many years. There were logs over i

This is the old road which presumably went to the school. Its dead and brown now, and nothings driven down here for many years. There were logs over it in many places.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And after a few km on the old road, you end up at the top of Karuizawa, and 8km of real road. At least it was a very nice road.

And after a few km on the old road, you end up at the top of Karuizawa, and 8km of real road. At least it was a very nice road.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is their newly made Ginza tourist street, very popular.

This is their newly made Ginza tourist street, very popular.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Lots of bakeries, shops selling chopsticks, the usual things. Very expensive restaurants.

Lots of bakeries, shops selling chopsticks, the usual things. Very expensive restaurants.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I have no idea why this shop is advertising for Ferrari.

I have no idea why this shop is advertising for Ferrari.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Hello, my name is Bee-man, thank you very much.

Hello, my name is Bee-man, thank you very much.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And then behind the station is this bizzarre very high end mall, and attached outlet mall, and as you will see, giant food court.

And then behind the station is this bizzarre very high end mall, and attached outlet mall, and as you will see, giant food court.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It had brands I have never seen anywhere else ever. Barneys of New York is something you hear people talk about on TV shows set in New York for exampl

It had brands I have never seen anywhere else ever. Barneys of New York is something you hear people talk about on TV shows set in New York for example.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - It was about 5c this side of the pass, so much colder, I was glad I bought my jacket. Cold enough for the snow making machines to work. There are a lo

It was about 5c this side of the pass, so much colder, I was glad I bought my jacket. Cold enough for the snow making machines to work.
There are a lot of skifields in every direction, but only a few have man made snow already.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Have a bit more snow, its the only snow I will see on this trip.

Have a bit more snow, its the only snow I will see on this trip.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - The entire area is filled with cute little lodges, some like this, some bright and colorful, and one area set aside for people with dogs.

The entire area is filled with cute little lodges, some like this, some bright and colorful, and one area set aside for people with dogs.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - A bit more of the mall.

A bit more of the mall.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Another huge part of the mall, it was very strange, and much bigger than the pictures convey, enormous car park!

Another huge part of the mall, it was very strange, and much bigger than the pictures convey, enormous car park!


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - And an enormous food court. It was too late for me to have a proper lunch, and they had no cheap bakery, so I sat and ate my calorie mate block.

And an enormous food court. It was too late for me to have a proper lunch, and they had no cheap bakery, so I sat and ate my calorie mate block.


Surprise downpour whilst tired

I had planned to catch the train past Ginza, walk all the way back through Ginza, see lots of lights, gawk at eastern Europeans, then there was a sudden downpour.
This was not forecast.

I was also surprised at how tired I felt this evening, yes I have done 45k steps again, which is a lot, but I feel more tired than I expected. Must be old now, might have to start going on cruises instead.

All this added up to not many photos, but I do have 2 stories.

Coming up out of the station, the stairs were wet, and one guy fell over, upwards thankfully, whilst reading his phone. He kept reading as he got up with his other hand, never looked away from his phone, fell over again, repeated this, took 3 steps up, fell over again. He never once looked up from his phone in all of this. It was quite amazing.
All this happened in front of the sign warning people not to walk and text.

Then when I got back on a train, a girl was pushing a 4 wheel suitcase whilst running to make the train, which comes every 3 minutes. She stopped just outside the door, left her case on the platform and got on to look at the map inside the train. Of course the doors shut. Her case was now on the platform and she was on the train.
She then spoke to everyone using the fastest Japanese speaking I have ever heard, sounded like one of those guys calling a cattle auction, only in squeaky mouse Japanese girl voice.
The good news for her is, theres probably no better place in the world to leave your suitcase unattended, I predict she will get it back.

I think I will go fast asleep now.

Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Rainy Ginza. First time the forecast has been wrong.

Rainy Ginza. First time the forecast has been wrong.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - Here, have a bit more rainy Ginza.

Here, have a bit more rainy Ginza.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - I had to retreat underground to find dinner. I found this place and had spaghetti omurice, there are spaghetti noodles inside the egg, so its not omur

I had to retreat underground to find dinner. I found this place and had spaghetti omurice, there are spaghetti noodles inside the egg, so its not omurice at all.
It was ok, but a small serve. I then noticed that despite being quite a large place, I was the only male. They had sat me way in the back corner on my own.
Also the place was called ducky duck. I feel as though I chose poorly.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - This is back in Ueno, where there are a heap of very large restaurants like this serving the guts of sea monsters in creative ways.

This is back in Ueno, where there are a heap of very large restaurants like this serving the guts of sea monsters in creative ways.


Back to Japan for even more - Oct and Nov 2017 - One last pic of Ueno, it had kind of stopped raining by now. Tomorrow is forecast to be cloudy but no rain. I surely cant complain about the amazing w

One last pic of Ueno, it had kind of stopped raining by now. Tomorrow is forecast to be cloudy but no rain. I surely cant complain about the amazing weather I have had.


There are currently 2 comments - click to add

adriana on 2017-11-13 said:

ginza looks good in the rain. I see the xmas trees are out already.


Mother on 2017-11-13 said:

Karuizawa looks like a day trip to put on the list. Not doing any more of the Nakasendo though. Been there done that remember the migraine.



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Contents

Day 1 - Saturday, 21 October 2017
  26 hours door to door then more
  I want to murder your children
Day 2 - Sunday, 22 October 2017
  The journey is still not quite over
  Typhoon Lan
  Saturation point
Day 3 - Monday, 23 October 2017
  Fortunate train cancellation
  Wasted ramen opportunity
Day 4 - Tuesday, 24 October 2017
  Lost on twin peaks
  The new shiny Tokyo
Day 5 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017
  Snot pump
  Bus confusion
Day 6 - Thursday, 26 October 2017
  Mountain goat
  Shimizu ghost town
Day 7 - Friday, 27 October 2017
  Train to mountain stroll ropeway beach bus
  Second opinion
Day 8 - Saturday, 28 October 2017
  Drowning in a sea of tissues
  Artful rain dodger
Day 9 - Sunday, 29 October 2017
  Rain concentrator
  Better than forecast
Day 10 - Monday, 30 October 2017
  Equal best ever scenery
  Its not Halloween
Day 11 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
  Thwarted
  Halloween was Saturday
Day 12 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017
  The temple run
  Lost in expansion
Day 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017
  My trusty old friend is a shining light
  Umeda me a hamburg steak
Day 14 - Friday, 3 November 2017
  Primordial typhoon deer attack
  Resurrection
Day 15 - Saturday, 4 November 2017
  The wind arrived
  Surprisingly great
Day 16 - Sunday, 5 November 2017
  First everybody then nobody
  Pyramids of Sannomiya
Day 17 - Monday, 6 November 2017
  The turn for home
  You would never ever get wet
Day 18 - Tuesday, 7 November 2017
  Exposed
  Short visit to big city
Day 19 - Wednesday, 8 November 2017
  Castle in the fog
  I have seen all of it
Day 20 - Thursday, 9 November 2017
  Decline
  Resurgence
Day 21 - Friday, 10 November 2017
  Clinically clean
  Ready for action
Day 22 - Saturday, 11 November 2017
  All the views
  Here are your shops
Day 23 - Sunday, 12 November 2017
  I have returned
  Ueno to Shinjuku is not far
Day 24 - Monday, 13 November 2017
  Central mountain route
  Surprise downpour whilst tired
Day 25 - Tuesday, 14 November 2017
  Value extraction
  Night of the long exposures
Day 26 - Wednesday, 15 November 2017
  Between the tracks
  The last supper
Day 27 - Thursday, 16 November 2017
  Narita procedural update
  The end