Saturday, 28 July 2012

Heading Towards Yamadera

On Monday we managed to cross another thing off my 'To do before leaving Japan' list, and finally made a visit to Yamadera. It's a temple on the side of mountain, and more information about it in my next post, but first, the hike we did to get there. 

You can get the train straight from Sendai, via our house, to Yamadera, but if you get off one stop earlier, at Omoshiroyamakogen, you can hike the remaining 8km. The first half is along a river, secluded and gorgeous. The second half is along a road through pine forests and past rice fields. Slightly less secluded, but just as lovely. The whole walk took us about 2 hours, and we still had enough energy to climb the 1,000,000 1000 steps to the top temple at Yamadera (after we'd eaten our delicious bentos).

Enough rambling, time for photos! 

View of our hike from the train station

About all there is to Omoshiroyamakogen!

Down we go!

Relaxing on the bridge

The water is so so blue and clear! 

Bridge not made for fat foreigners!

Ridiculous path cut out of sheer rock

The most life we saw on the whole path.

I need somewhere like this to come whenever I feel stressed out.

Off the path and onto the road. 

Heading towards Yamadera

Rice fields.

If you want to do the hike yourself it's really easy. At Omoshiroyamakoen, cross over the road bridge over the station and the river, and on the far side of the bridge follow the sign on the left marked ハイキングコース. After that, it's just a case of following the path. You could barely get lost if you tried. Definitely a recommended extension to a trip to Yamadera!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ayashi Reservoir

Back in March, I posted these photos of a reservoir in Ayashi, not too far from our house. It was beautiful in the ice and snow, but I think it's even more lovely now there's greenery everywhere! We stopped at a sushi restaurant for lunch on the way, then spent a couple of hours wandering all the way round the reservoir, taking some photos and enjoying the nice weather.  


View was a lot hazier, but also a lot greener than in March

Lovely and peaceful

Row of fishermen. It looks very sociable...

...but I think I'd prefer the solitude of these two.

I think these are Japanese Serow, we came across the two of them on the path, and they obligingly stayed for a couple of photos, before running away and letting us safely continue!

Hiding in the undergrowth

View from the opposite end

Whenever I give John the camera, I end up with random photos of strange bugs.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Bike Ride in the Sun

For the last couple of weeks, for the most part the weather has been gorgeous. Hot and sunny and lovely. We've been out and about in it quite a bit (largely because it's turned our apartment into a sauna). Last week, one day was so especially gorgeous that despite the fact I had work in the evening, we decided to make the most of it. Photos below ^-^

PS - British people, just so you don't hate me, the weather has now turned and is cold and there's rain forecast. You've apparently stolen our sun. And you should all read this, because it's hilarious.

Biking out of our town towards Sendai, view along the river

I'd passed this intriguing staircase before, but never had time to go up it, but I'm glad we did this time.

At the top is a lovely temple, surrounded by buddha statues and trees.

There is apparently a rabbit theme to this temple. There was only Japanese info, so I have no idea why, but the only info I can find about Buddhist rabbits is to do with the rabbit in the moon, so perhaps it has something to do with that?

Rabbits on the roof

One of the many lovely statues. 

From Buddhism to Shinto...we stopped off at Osaki Hachimangu Shrine

And tanabata had already started. Doesn't the paper look lovely?

Everyone's wishes for the next year. I haven't written mine yet, but I will.

Our bikes, with the Sendai skyline.

I would love to live on the top floor on the apartment block in the centre of this photo.

After some shopping, we headed to Tsutsujigaoka part for some sunbathing, reading and people (and dog) watching.

I had to go to work then for a few hours, so I surrendered the camera to John, who took this photo of a ridiculous car park...

...but also this lovely photo of his bike ride home.

We wanted to go for sushi for dinner, but by the time I'd biked the 15km back from school it was 10pm and the restaurant was closed. So we bought half price sashimi and pizza, and curled up in bed, and ate and watched Once Upon a Time, our current TV show obsession! 

It was a lovely, lovely day, and as soon as the sun comes back out, we're planning to have many many more!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

My Week: Around and About

These photos are a really random selection! I've re-starting taking photos of all the random things I find. I'd stopped doing it, but then I've just started re-noticing all the Japan-y thing! Plus, it's summer, and so people and things and nature are all prettier and just clamour  to be photographed! 

"You can be a drag queen" for the bargain price of ¥100!

Pikachu smiling at us from the opposing train

Rurousha and Lina, this one is for you! 

I bought a yukata, to be worn to tanabata :)

My Japanese tutor decided that we could have a summer break yesterday, and so we made this gorgeous book instead of studying!

And then she fed me pomegranate juice and macaroons!

The rice and the greenery are both growing fast!

A funny dancing bird/castle, advertising a festival in Aomori

Our friend moved into a new apartment, and we went round to see it...

...and cook and eat Mexican food!