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Archive for the ‘Shimane 県’ Category

Mt. Sanbe

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 23, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

All Pictures

Mark and I had a day off in the middle of the week. Japan likes to give its citizens these mid-week holidays. Long weekends are rare and we just can’t have too many of that sort of thing. People might go on a trip somewhere and, god forbid, stop thinking about work.

What made this mid-week holiday worse was the half-assed rain. I am an adamant believer that it should either rain or it should not. It shouldn’t sort of rain for five minutes, then let the sun shine for ten minutes, only to turn into a monsoon fifteen minutes after that. How does one dress for this type of weather? Whether the sky wanted to smile, weep, sob its heart out, or all three, Mark and I were determined not to stay home and sleep, which is the usual past time for mid-week holiday makers in Japan.

Non-petrified Wood

We drove to the Hiroshima adjacent prefecture of Shimane to the little town of Oda. Our first stop was at the Sanbe‑Azukihara Buried Forest, where some really old trees were discovered. I was hoping to find petrified wood, but this forest has not quite gotten there yet. The wood of the trees looked more like charcoal rather than stone.

We were given many opportunities to learn how and why this underground forest was found and dug up. However, the explanations were only given in Japanese. We had to make our own story. It’s a story about a man named Jed. He was a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed. One day he was shooting at some food and up through the ground come an old tree, coal that is. (I watch too much television.)

We walked through the two underground bunkers then gazed at the trees above ground. After 15 minutes of not being able to read anything, we got back in our car to go get some breakfast.

Everything is better with an added egg

Sanbe Burger sells only products made with local ingredients. When you’re eating a Sanbe-Burger Burger, you are eating Shimane Prefecture. The cows for the beef graze on Mt. Sanbe. The tomatoes were grown in, maybe, Matsue City. The cheese was made in, maybe, Izumo. I think only the ketchup is imported, but what kind of cretin puts ketchup on a burger!?

We ate our burgers and enjoyed the view. There was a building across the street that was attracting a lot of tourists. I had a brochure of Mt. Sanbe; its pages had no information on what the popular building was. We would have to walk over there to check it out in person.

We crossed the road and before we even got up the steps we saw a poster that said, “Jurassic Sea”. “That could only mean good things,” Mark said. We went inside to find the Natural History Museum of Mt. Sanbe.

We saw Mt. Sanbe’s evolutionary history. Not only were there old trees found here, but old animals too. I really liked this museum. I would have loved it if there were more information in English. Mark and I had to reply heavily on scientific names being written in Romaji or at the very least Katakana or Hiragana.

We did get to see lots of fossils and a skeleton of a plesiosaur. There is also an observatory, but we would need reservations and to stay in Oda City overnight to enjoy that. Maybe in the future if I can figure out how to make reservations…

 

Next we headed for the main feature of this day trip, Mt. Sanbe. From the base of Mt. Sanbe, there are many courses to get you to one of the many peaks. Courses take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours to hike up.

I knew that it was unthinkable for Mark to spend hours hiking up a non-famous mountain. Once he left Korea, he hung up his hiking boots and never looked back. I, on the other hand, really wanted to go hiking even though I’m completely out of shape.

So, the course we took to get to the top of Mt. Sanbe first involved buying tickets for a chair lift. From there the biggest peak was a 20 minute hike away and the closest was 2 minutes.

He’s happy. He thinks he has finished hiking for the day.

Mark happily climbed to the 2 minute peak. He smiled and took photos. “I’m going to tell everyone I hiked up this mountain. Look how high up I got!” He seem very joyous as he took selfies this way and that way.

“Do you see that over there, Mark?” I pointed to a lookout platform higher up than we were. “That’s what’s at the end of the 20 minute course.” I looked at Mark waiting for him to understand what I was trying to get him to do.

“But this peak is really nice, Josie. There are picnic tables, a sign. And look, a plaque. I like this peak.”

“Maybe that higher peak also has another plaque…” It didn’t.

“But, who needs to see more than one plaque in a day. Nope. I’m a one plaque a day kind of guy, Josie. Besides, isn’t this view just as good as that one?”

“I don’t think so, Mark. That view is higher up. It will probably let you see more stuff.” In the end I got him to go up the 20 minute trail by bribing him with an apple. This is Japan, you can get people to do what you want by handing out free fruit.

The 20 minute trail took us a little over 20 minutes. It rained off and on throughout the day making the ground muddy and slippery. There were several near falls and almost slides, but we got to the top without anyone taking a tumble.

Imagine the view if it weren’t rainy!

“Wow, this is great!” Mark walked around taking more selfies and panoramic photos. “This is way better than that crummy 2 minute peak.”

60 Minutes? 75 Minutes!? I don’t think so.

I saw a sign post. Said that the next peak was a mere 60 minute hike away. I had no interest in that trail. 60 minutes there and 60 minutes back plus another 15 minutes to get back to the chair lift. I have an adventurous spirit, not a death wish!

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Sanbe-Azukihara Buried Forest
(三瓶小豆原埋没林公園)
(Sanbe Azukihara Maibotsurin Koen)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°10’37.1″N 132°36’02.6″E

Address:

  • 〒694-0003 Shimane-ken, Ōda-shi, Sanbechō Tane, ロ58−2

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • ¥300

Hours:

  • 9am-5pm (Last Entry 4:30pm)
  • Closed 1st Monday to Friday of December, New Year holidays

Notes:

  • This museum is not very big.

Sanbe Burger
(三瓶バーガー)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°09’13.1″N 132°37’17.7″E

Address:

  • 1125-2 Sanbecho Tane, Oda, Shimane Prefecture 694-0003
  • 〒694-0003 島根県大田市三瓶町多根1125-2

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Hours:

  • 10am-5pm
  • Closed Tuesday

Notes:

  • Only local ingredients are used at this burger shop.

Natural History Museum of Mt. Sanbe
(島根県立三瓶自然館サヒメル)
(Shimane Ken Ritsu Sanbe Shi Zenkan Sahimeru)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°09’09.9″N 132°37’15.0″E

Address:

  • 島根県立三瓶自然館サヒメル, 〒694-0003 Shimane Prefecture, Oda, 三瓶町多根1121−8
  • 1121-8, Tane, Sanbe-cho, Ooda City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan 694-0003

Phone:

  • +81-854-86-0500 (Overseas)
  • 0854-86-0500 (Domestic)

Websites:

Cost:

  • Adults 400yen (special exhibition cost extra)
  • Children (6-18) 200yen

Hours:

  • 9:30-17:00
  • Closed:
    • Every Tuesday (next weekday is closed when Tuesday is a holiday)
    • 5 consecutive days from the first Monday of March and December and the next day when a special exhibition was finished
    • winter holidays from December 29 – January 1 inclusive

Notes:

  • There is very little (almost no) information in English.

Mt. Sanbe
(Mt. Sanbe Chair Lift)
(三瓶観光リフト)
(Sanbe Kankō Rifuto)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°07’42.0″N 132°38’26.5″E

Address:

  • 〒694-0222 Shimane Prefecture, Oda, 三瓶町志学1640−2

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • ¥670 round trip

Hours:

  • 8:30-16:30
  • April to November
  • Closed on Tuesdays

Notes:

  • From where the chair lift leaves you:
    • It’s a 3 minute hike to the nearest peak.
    • It’s a 20 minute hike to the nearest high peak.

Map:

Posted in Honshū, Japan, Shimane 県, Ōda 市 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Travel List Thursday: Shimane Prefecture

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 20, 2016

Download PDF Version

Posted in Japan, Shimane 県 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Weekday Beaching

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 28, 2016

Saturday, July 9th – Sunday July 10th & Wednesday, July 27th – Sunday, July 31st, 2016

All Pictures

There’s almost no one here.

Weekdays Are the Best

The summer has started once again and Mark and I still don’t have an air conditioner in our apartment. Every year we think about buying one and every year we decide not to. We travel or go camping during the summer, so it’s not worth it.

Mark and his decapitated fish

I like going to the beach to swim or read a book on shore. I enjoy camping and being outdoors while still being very comfortable. Mark likes going to the beach to do some spare fishing. He tries to catch about 2 or 3 fish each day.

No one to play volleyball with

The beach was amazingly quite the first weekend we went there this year. The summer had just begun, yet our tent was the only one in the free camping area. Everyone else was in the auto-camping section which costs about 3,500 Yen per night.

Mark and I wondered where everyone was. This is a very popular beach. “Why wasn’t anyone here?” We didn’t want company; we just wondered where the crowds were.

We went back to Iwami Kaihin Park a few weeks later on a Wednesday. Still, not many people were at the beach. There were more campers around us, but not too much. It was calm and relaxing.

All this for just Mark and me?

Friday

On Friday evening tents started going up all around us. Our once lonely area was filled with other campers. Next to us was a group of college kids. They brought with them several kegs of beer.

They partied the night away. They talked very loudly, but since they didn’t play any music it wasn’t too bad. I could have slept through their loud talking, but not their laughing. There were a couple of women in their group that cackled. It was a loud irksome laugh that is especially annoying when you don’t know what the joke is.

Throughout the night I would fall asleep only to be yanked awake by this maniacal laughter. It was very disturbing.

Saturday

The next day, around the same time the kids showed up the day before, a group of Americans were looking for a spot. They wedge themselves between us and the college kids. They talked quite loudly too. But I was glad they showed up, since they intimidated the young Japanese college kids.

Saturday night the college kids were quiet and went to bed very early. I laid in my tent listening to the Americans talk about non-sense and fell asleep. Then in the middle of the night I heard, “You’re ruining my life! I wish I could smack you!”

The Americans were drunk and one couple from their party was having a huge drunken fight. I could hear someone hitting the ground and then, “Should we help him up?”

“No. Let him sleep there if he wants to hit me.”

The night continued with this couple yelling at each other back and forth. Each listing the illogical reasons why the other is the cause of their unhappiness. I wanted to yell, “Get a divorce and go to bed,” but I thought it would be best not to get anything started with drunk strangers.

The next morning Mark and I packed up our stuff and went home vowing to only return during the work week.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Iwami Kaihin Park
(島根県立石見海浜公園)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°57’04.7″N 132°07’05.1″E

Address:

〒697-0003 島根県浜田市国分町

Shimane-ken, Hamada-shi, Koku-buncho 1644-1

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Entrance fee – (There was a fee we had to pay. I don’t remember now it if was an entrance fee or just a parking fee. I think it was about 1,000 – 1,500 Yen for both Mark and me or for the car.)
  • If you enter the park before 8:30 or after 17:30 there is not to collect your money and therefore entrance in free.
    • If you are camping, make  sure to get in by 18:30 your first night so you can register.
  • Coin shower – 200 yen

Activities:  Register at the beach (Hours 9:00 to 17:00)

  • Banana Boat – 1,000 Yen
    • must be 6 or older
    • 10 minutes
  • Jet Ski – 2,500 Yen
    • must be 6 or older
    • passengers only
    • 10 minutes
  • Wake Board – 3,500
    • must be 12 or older
    • 20 minutes
  • Snorkeling with Guide – 4,500 yen
    • must be 6 or older
    • 90 minutes
    • 10:00 – 16:30
  • Scrambler – 1,00 Yen per person
    • must be 6 or older
    • 4 people max
    • 10 minutes
  • Life-Saving Junior Program – 1,000 Yen
    • elementary and junior high school students
    • 60 minutes
    • 5 people

Auto Camping: Open year round and all holidays

  • Over night camping
    • Bring your own tent – 3,830 Yen
    • 3 pm to 2 pm the next day
    • Renting a permanent tent – 6,440 Yen
    • electricity – 510 Yen
  • Day Camping
    • Bring your own tent – 1,910 Yen
    • 10:00 to 14:00
    • must have revelations at least a day in advanced
    • Renting a permanent tent – 3,110 Yen
    • electricity – 250 Yen
  • Over Night Cabin
    • 16:00 to 10:00 the next day
    • Small  (2 – 3 people) – 3,280 yen
    • Medium (4 – 5 people) – 3,860 yen
    • Large (6 – 7 people) – 5,920 yen
    • electricity – 510 Yen
    • bring your own bedding, pots, dishes, etc
  • Day Cabin
    • 11:00 to 15:00
    • must have revelations at least a day in advanced
    • Small (2 – 3 people) – 250 yen
    • Medium-sized (4 – 5 people) – 310 yen
    • Large (6 – 7 people) – 500 yen
    • electricity – 250 Yen
    • bring your own bedding, pots, dishes, etc

Non-Auto/ Free Camping:

  • Here’s a map of the free camping.
    • Free as in it costs 0 Yen.
  • All you need to do is register on the day you get there.
    • When you register you can pick up free trash bags for your burnables, plastic, and food trash.
  • You cannot reserve a camping spot.
  • Make  sure to get in by 18:30 your first night so you can register.

Hours:

  • The office closes at 18:30, but the park itself never closes.

Notes:

  • Facilities – Restrooms, showers, cabins, auto-camping, free camping, communal kitchen, beach.
  • There are lots of paid showers throughout the park.
    • They are generally 2 minutes for 200 Yen.
    • The showers by the auto-camping, the showers are 5 minutes for 200 Yen. These showers are cleaner and generally better.
  • There is an aquarium nearby.
    • adult 1540 yen
    • 9:00-17:00 Closed Tuesdays
    • free parking
  • Beach map

Map:

Posted in Hamada 市, Japan, Shimane 県 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Wish Granting Shrines

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 21, 2016

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

All Pictures

Spring is for traveling

As long as it’s special.

The weather was getting nice and Mark and I wanted to go somewhere and take nice photos of Japan. We sat in our living room reading through websites with lists like “Top 10 Must Sees in Hiroshima”. I clicked on one site after another reading through non-sense and getting more and more annoyed by the moment.

Me – Isn’t there one non-shrine related thing left for us to do here?

Mark – Nope.

Me – How many shrines and temples does one country need?

I started a little soliloquy about how much more fun Japan would be for us if they had as many themed parks as they did temples, when Mark cut me off.

Mark – Why not just see a few shrines?

Me – Only if by going to the shrine I get to confront Buddha about all the temples he has.

Mark – I think you’re confusing two different religions.

Me – Am I?

Torri = Shrine = Shintoism = no Buddha

Then Mark picked up his computer and showed it to me. “I think this is what you’re asking for.” He was smiling behind his laptop. I looked at the photo at the top of someone’s blog. “Mark, that’s just a round rock.”

“No. Not just a round rock,” he said taking back his computer. “It’s the roundest rock and it has magical wish granting powers.” “What on earth would I wish for?” I asked scrolling through the website I was previously looking at on my own laptop. “Better tourist attractions for us to visit,” he replied.

What am I supposed to wish on?

On Sunday morning we got into the car and Mark typed the destination into the Garmin. “Wish city here we come,” I exclaimed. “First,” Mark said waving his index finger in the air, “we must make a stop at another wish granting shrine.” “Two wish granting shrines in one day!” I was amazed.

Our first stop would be at Yaegaki Shrine. Many singles go to this shrine to look for help in finding love. Mark and I have been married for sometime now, so we’ve both already been pretty lucky in love. But, we could always ask for more.

Looking for Love

At Yaegaki, down a path behind the main shrine is a pond. It’s called Mirror Pond and it has oracle-like powers. It cannot tell you who you should marry or even who you should ask out on a date. All it can do is give you a vague idea of how long your wait for love will be.

A single person should buy a special paper from the shrine in front and take the paper to the pond. Get a coin and place it on the paper. I think most people use a 100 Yen coin. Then float the paper, with the coin on it, in the water. The longer the paper floats before sinking, the longer your wait for love will be.

Exactly how long of a wait, I don’t know. There was no mathematical formula given, like for every minute afloat you’ll have a year of waiting. Some papers sank quickly, others sank after awhile.

There goes all your hopes.

Then there were some papers that would not sink. Once the paper got damp enough, the coin just fell through. The paper on its own will float for a very long time. The weight of the coin is what drags it down to the bottom of the pond. If the coin breaks through, the paper will not sink.

Climb those steps for a wish.

Next, we drove to Tamtsukuriyu Shrine. Here we could wish for anything, not just things related to love. I paid for a small wish charm and was given an instruction booklet. Of course, it was in Japanese, but it did have lots of pictures. There was also a lady who got there right before Mark and I did, so I just followed her lead.

Clean enough to make wishes

It was a bit of a process. There were about 6 steps to it. Mark and I would look at our booklet and then at what the lady was doing. She went from the washing area, to the shrine, then to the round rock and back to the shrine. Mark and I followed her as closely as we could while still being completely respectful.

“I get my power from my roundness.”

In the end we took home a little charm, but I’m not sure what I am supposed to do with it. Do I continue to wish on it? Would it be wrong for me to make a bracelet with it?

I should have wished for 5 more wishes!

The street the Tamatsukuriyu Shrine is on, is a wonderfully charming street. It’s a street of beauty. I don’t mean that the street is beautiful, though it is. I mean, the water that flows down the middle of this street is believed to have magical beautifying properties. Along the street there are unmanned stands where you can buy spray bottles of the water to take home. Just squirt it on your face to look years younger. If you want to spend more money, you can buy expensive skin care products made from the water.

The whole street is lined with things that give you luck, like the many expensive luck beads you buy in the shops, or beauty, like Seiganji Temple with the Oshiroi Jizo that heals skin and makes one prettier. There are also many onsens, cafes, restaurants, and shops that give the place a very “treat-y0-self” feel.

Smiling while his feet cook

For people like Mark and me, people on a budget, there are many free foot onsens. Unfortunately, the water is 2 degree short of boiling. Maybe it would be more fun in the winter.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Matsue
(松江市)
(Matsue-shi)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°27’49.9″N 133°03’51.1″E

Address:

〒690-0846 Shimane Prefecture, Matsue, 末次町86

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Videos:


Yaegaki Shrine
(八重垣神社)
(Yaegaki Jinja)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates

Address:

  • 〒690-0035 島根県松江市佐草町227
  • 227 Sakusacho, Matsue, Shimane Prefecture 690-0035

Phone:

  • tel 0852-21-1148
  • fax 0852-22-9156

Websites:

Cost:

  • 200 Yen, but no one will collect it.
  • 100 Yen – Special Fortune paper
  • Free Parking

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 17:00

Videos:

Notes:

  • Take the Special Fortune paper to the Mirror pond. Put a coin on it and set it afloat in the water. The time it takes to sink is related to the time it will take for you to find your true love.

Tamatsukuriyu Shrine
(玉作湯神社)
(Tamatsukuriyu Jinja)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°24’49.4″N 133°00’42.2″E

Address:

  • 522 Tamayucho Tamatsukuri, Matsue, Shimane Prefecture 699-0201
  • 玉作湯神社 松江市玉湯町玉造522 〒699-0201

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Free
  • Free Parking

Hours:

  • 24 hours

Videos:

Notes:

Map:

Posted in Honshū, Japan, Matsue 市, Shimane 県 | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Mark Goes Fishing

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 24, 2016

Wednesday, August 5 – Friday, August 14, 2015 

All Pictures

Majestic!

The Next Beach

We spent the day at Kute Beach. It was part a beach day, part a reconnaissance mission. It’s sometimes hard to find information about Japanese campsites online, so we had to look around the area in person for some camping spots for later.

Kute Beach is okay, nothing special. It’s a fine beach that’s free with free parking. Most of the people who go to this beach live nearby and walk to it.

our future camping neighbors

After swimming we drove along the coast until we saw some tents at a park. We got out the car and asked the campers there about the campsite. They spoke no English but we were able to communicate with my limited Japanese. They told us that camping there was completely free and year round. We thanked them for the information and told them that we would return in a few days.

It’s dead Mark!

Before we drove back home we went to a roadside rest stop for some ramen. After dinner, our car wouldn’t start. We had no idea what to do.

We don’t belong to any roadside assistance clubs like AAA or JAF. We left the hood of the car open hoping that someone would come by and offer to give us a jump-start. No one did.

After about 20 minutes I went inside one of the shops at the rest stop. I asked an employee for advice. I told a lady that my car “sleeps and can’t wake up.” She seemed to understand what I was saying. Then I asked her if she had “jumper cables”. I couldn’t think of a way to describe jumper cables with my limited vocabulary. So I mimed connecting to cars, then turning one on so that the other will start. “Oh, I see,” she exclaimed in Japanese.

She went in a back room to explain everything to her manager. He came out and told me something in rapid-fire Japanese, before heading out the door. The lady looked at me, “Everything will be fine. Just wait a moment.” She motioned me to sit by a window.

Ten minutes later the manager came back. “Which car is yours?” “The white Wagon R from Okayama.” Mark and I led him to our car. He took out his cables and jump started our car. We were very grateful. We thanked and bowed to the manager.

Instead of driving home, we went to the nearest Auto Bacs. We keep a stash of cash with us when we go on trips. It’s called the “car fund”. We put aside about $400 each month to pay for any car related surprises. We took that money out and bought a new car battery and jumper cables at Auto Bacs.

The people at Auto Bacs were very nice. We showed up about 10 minutes before closing time. But, they still greeted us like we weren’t making them stay late. They put in the new battery and cleaned our windshield and windows. They waved goodbye to us as we pulled out of their parking lot.

That will do!

A few days later

We came back a few days later. We put up our tent next to the guys who gave us the camping information at Tagi Beach. They were two men who were there the whole time. Sometimes other men would join them camping, other times a group of 5 or 6 boys would join them. There were women who would come by and they would cook for the ladies. But the women never spent the night like the men or boys did. We just referred to them as “the boys”.

After we said hello to “the boys” and set up our tent, we drove up the coast for a better beach. Tagi Beach had free camping, but the beach itself was no good at all for swimming.

It wasn’t long before we found a lovely and lonely spot. We parked our car nearby and got in the water. It was a lazy swimming day.

Mark went off snorkeling and floated around very contentedly. After about an hour of this I felt something. It was like a cross between a bite and an electric shock. But it was so faint, I almost thought I had imagined it. Then I felt another one. This time it was worse.

Damn you sea creatures!

I put on my snorkel mask and put my head under water. Jellyfish! Jellyfish everywhere! Now they were all coming after me. I got out of the water and sat on the shore.

It was a hot day. Too hot to sit on the beach out of the water. So, I went back in. The jellyfish attacked again. I got out of the water. I called Mark. “Lets get lunch!”

sea-snails

“The Boys” Give Cooking Advice

We got up one morning to find a new beach for the day’s swimming. As we were leaving we passed “the boys” and gave them the usually “Ohiyogoziemasu” and small talk. They were grilling something that smelt really good.

“Oh, did you go shopping already?” I was just teasing. “The boys” were great fishermen and were basically living off stuff they caught. The only thing they seemed to buy was beer, coke, and whiskey.

“No, we got that from the sea. Try some!” Mark was hesitant, but I really wanted to try it. One of “the boys” handed me a shelled sea-snail. “It’s delicious!” I was shocked. It smelt good, but I didn’t think it would actually taste good too.

“I grilled it, then fried it in butter.” Then he handed one to Mark. Mark liked it too.

We decided that Mark and I would gather some sea snails and try to cook them. We went to the rest stop to use their free internet. We looked at some YouTube videos on how to cook fresh sea-snail.

Well, we tried it that evening. But it didn’t taste like what the boys made. Ours tasted like sea poison.

Poseidon

“The Boys” get Mark into Spear Fishing

Another day as we were heading off to another beach, we stop by “the boys” camp for our “Ohayo” and small talk. In the course of the conversation, (“The boys” speak no English.) they recommended that Mark get a spear to catch fish. They noticed that he had been having no luck with his fishing pole.

They told us where we could buy a spear, how much it cost, and even gave Mark a short lesson in using one with one of their’s. They advised getting the bamboo one, because it floats. But we didn’t understand that part of the conversation until Mark lost a metal spear.

The Bounty

So, for the next couple of days we stayed at Tagi Beach. Mark spent the whole time spear fishing. He caught many fish, but they weren’t big enough to make a decent meal. He said, “All the bigger fish are too smart and fast for me to catch. All I can get are the slow dumb ones.”

We ate slow dumb fish more as side dishes to accompany the chicken and pork we brought to grill. We did not try sea snails again.

It’s going to rain all day.

A Day Indoors

One night it rained a lot. In the morning it was still raining, so instead of heading out to another beach, we went to a mall. First we had breakfast at a Joyfull. The plan was to stay indoors until the rain stopped. We got gas, found some internet, and checked the forecast. It would stop raining around three in the afternoon.

We spent the next morning laying our things out to dry before we went out swimming. We were still having a great time.

Happy Camper’s Cove

The Day “the Boys” got Weird

We mostly only talked to “the boys” in the mornings. In the evenings they were usually entertaining guests or fishing. For the most part, other than our morning “ohiyo’s” and small talk, they pretty much kept to themselves. So it was a little odd when one of them came over to us while Mark and I where talking on the beach.

We had not seen this particular guy before. He was about the same age as the two main guys who stayed at the camp the whole time. I think he was about 45 or 50ish. He claimed to speak more English than the others, but it was hard to tell; he was kind of drunk.

He asked us where we were from. “We’re from America.” “America!? I like America!” We asked why he liked America and he told us that he liked “FreedOOOMMM!”

“Someone’s been buying into the propaganda.” But, that’s not what he meant. We would soon find out when the conversation took a bizarre turn.

He asked us if we were from Colorado. He really wanted to visit Colorado. “Do you like skiing?” “No, not ski.” He seemed very confused as to why the topic of skiing was brought up.

“Then why do you want to go to Colorado?” “Freedoooooommmmmm!” Then he started to smoke an imaginary joint. “Do you know magic mushroooooooms?”

Mark and I just looked at each other. “It’s magic season.” Then he name some town where there are plenty of magic mushrooms growing in the forest. In a combination of English and Japanese he told us where to go to get them and how to prepare them. But, it took a while for him to give us all this unsolicited information. He kept slurring his words and starting over.

“So you like smoking, drinking, and magic mushrooms?” Mark confirmed.

“I don’t drink!” He seemed offended. “But I love cocaaaaaaine. Do you have cocaaaaine?”

“No.”

“I looooooove cocaaaaaine!” Then he rolled over on his side and just stopped moving. He made no sounds. He just lay there with a big silly grin on his face dreaming about his beloved cocaine. I thought that this would be a good time to back away and leave him there.

I started to get up. “If I had cocaaaaine I would share it you. OOHHHHH!” He started moaning loudly. Some other guys, none we had seen before, came to get Mr. Cocaaaine. They picked him up off the ground and dragged him to their tent.

That night, there were screams all night long coming from “the boys'” tent along with some randomly shouted, “Fuck you’s,” “Fuck me’s,” “Fuck baby’s,” and other various things to fuck. They sang songs, or rather shouted songs. But, most of the night was spend screaming; it wasn’t the “I’m being chased by an ax-murderer” type of screams. It was more like the “I’m at a fabulous rock concert and I’m stoned out of my mind” type of screaming.

“The Boys'” tents, days before the Weird Night

The next morning, “the boys” were nowhere to be seen. Mark and I were looking up at the sky, which was threatening to rain again, and wondering if we should just pack up and go home. Then we saw some official-looking people. They didn’t have uniforms, but they did have badges.

They asked if they could talk to us. It seemed ominous. They spoke no English, so I took out my pocket dictionary. It seemed like the conversation we were about to have would be the type where one would want as little misunderstanding as possible.

“Did you hear any noise last night?”

We both nodded our heads. We pointed to the other camp. “Drunk maybe,” I said. “Normally quiet, but last night party I think.” They asked us where they were.

“I don’t know. I speak only a little Japanese. They don’t speak English. They went to the store maybe. Their car is not here.” The officials seemed satisfied with that. They walked over to “the boys” camp and left a letter on their camping table.

“Mark, I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I think we should be far, far from here when it happens.” So we packed up our stuff and headed back home.

Japan has strict drug laws. You can get in trouble by just being friends with someone who has drugs, especially if you’re a foreigner. The officials never asked us our names or where we lived. I didn’t want to give them an opportunity to come back and do so. At that moment, all they knew was that some people were very loud. If they found drugs in their tent or something, I didn’t want to be dragged into that.

I heard that Japanese prison is no fun.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Kute Beach
(久手海水浴場)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°13’39.9″N 132°29’59.9″E

Address:

〒694-0053, 島根県大田市鳥井町鳥越新田

Phone:

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Free
  • Free Parking

Hours:

  • Always available

Notes:

  • There is a free outdoor shower for rinsing off, a bathroom, and changing rooms.

Tagi Beach
(田儀海水浴場)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°16’24.6″N 132°35’06.8″E

Address:

〒699-0904 島根県出雲市多伎町口田儀

Phone:

  • 0853-86-3111

Websites:

Cost:

  • Camping – free
  • Showers
    • July 18 – August 23
    • 9:00 – 19:00
    • 3 minutes
    • 200 yen
  • There is free, but limited parking.

Hours:

  • Always available

Notes:

  • This beach is more for fishing than for swimming. But, people still try to swim here. Personally, I think there are so many nicer beaches nearby that are great for swimming that you shouldn’t come here unless you wanted free camping or to go fishing.
  • Grilling is not allowed here, though people seem to do it all the time.
  • Kirara is a nearby rest area with restaurants and an information desk. The nice beaches are near Kirara.

Map:

Posted in Izumo 市, Japan, Shimane 県, Ōda 市 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A Day at Hamada Beach

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 17, 2016

Thursday, July 30, 2015

All Pictures

Me in my swimming hat

Year 2 with no Air Conditioning

It was that time of year again, when the sun, in all its glory, reminded us that our little apartment has no air conditioning. We still refused to buy an a/c unit. One would cost about $2,000. Instead we took one-fourth of that money and headed to the beach several times this summer.

Very Nice

One beach we visited was the nicest beach, in Japan, that I have ever seen! It’s called Hamada beach. The sand is soft; not the rocky foot-knives type sand normally at Japanese beaches. You can actually walk bare footed there.

The day we went the beach was not crowded at all. There was even a section of the beach that we had all to ourselves. The sea was calm there. It was very peaceful and quiet.

The “Crowded” Area

Beach Wear

The first day at the beach I actually wore a swim suit, but with a hat. Most women in Japan are almost fully dressed at the beach. They don’t want to tan. At first it looks silly, but then when you think about it, it makes sense.

Sunscreen only does so much. And, although I don’t mind getting a tan, I don’t like when my skin peels. When I wear a hat while swimming, my face does not peel even when I forget to reapply sunscreen. That’s great!

No more sun-burns for me.

I’ve even started to swim with a long sleeve t-shirt when I know I will spend many days at the beach.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • International ATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask what ATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Iwami Kaihin Park
(島根県立石見海浜公園)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°57’04.7″N 132°07’05.1″E

Address:

〒697-0003 島根県浜田市国分町

Shimane-ken, Hamada-shi, Koku-buncho 1644-1

Phone:

Websites:

Cost:

  • Entrance fee – (There was a fee we had to pay. I don’t remember now it if was an entrance fee or just a parking fee. I think it was about 1,000 – 1,500 Yen for both Mark and me or for the car.)
  • If you enter the park before 8:30 or after 17:30 there is not to collect your money and therefore entrance in free.
    • If you are camping, make  sure to get in by 18:30 your first night so you can register.
  • Coin shower – 200 yen

Activities:  Register at the beach (Hours 9:00 to 17:00)

  • Banana Boat – 1,000 Yen
    • must be 6 or older
    • 10 minutes
  • Jet Ski – 2,500 Yen
    • must be 6 or older
    • passengers only
    • 10 minutes
  • Wake Board – 3,500
    • must be 12 or older
    • 20 minutes
  • Snorkeling with Guide – 4,500 yen
    • must be 6 or older
    • 90 minutes
    • 10:00 – 16:30
  • Scrambler – 1,00 Yen per person
    • must be 6 or older
    • 4 people max
    • 10 minutes
  • Life-Saving Junior Program – 1,000 Yen
    • elementary and junior high school students
    • 60 minutes
    • 5 people

Auto Camping: Open year round and all holidays

  • Over night camping
    • Bring your own tent – 3,830 Yen
    • 3 pm to 2 pm the next day
    • Renting a permanent tent – 6,440 Yen
    • electricity – 510 Yen
  • Day Camping
    • Bring your own tent – 1,910 Yen
    • 10:00 to 14:00
    • must have revelations at least a day in advanced
    • Renting a permanent tent – 3,110 Yen
    • electricity – 250 Yen
  • Over Night Cabin
    • 16:00 to 10:00 the next day
    • Small  (2 – 3 people) – 3,280 yen
    • Medium (4 – 5 people) – 3,860 yen
    • Large (6 – 7 people) – 5,920 yen
    • electricity – 510 Yen
    • bring your own bedding, pots, dishes, etc
  • Day Cabin
    • 11:00 to 15:00
    • must have revelations at least a day in advanced
    • Small (2 – 3 people) – 250 yen
    • Medium-sized (4 – 5 people) – 310 yen
    • Large (6 – 7 people) – 500 yen
    • electricity – 250 Yen
    • bring your own bedding, pots, dishes, etc

Non-Auto/ Free Camping:

  • Here’s a map of the free camping.
    • Free as in it costs 0 Yen.
  • All you need to do is register on the day you get there.
    • When you register you can pick up free trash bags for your burnables, plastic, and food trash.
  • You cannot reserve a camping spot.
  • Make  sure to get in by 18:30 your first night so you can register.

Hours:

  • The office closes at 18:30, but the park itself never closes.

Notes:

  • Facilities – Restrooms, showers, cabins, auto-camping, free camping, communal kitchen, beach.
  • There are lots of paid showers throughout the park.
    • They are generally 2 minutes for 200 Yen.
    • The showers by the auto-camping, the showers are 5 minutes for 200 Yen. These showers are cleaner and generally better.
  • There is an aquarium nearby.
    • adult 1540 yen
    • 9:00-17:00 Closed Tuesdays
    • free parking
  • Beach map

Map:

Posted in Hamada 市, Honshū, Japan, Shimane 県 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

We Bring the Rain

Posted by Heliocentrism on June 26, 2015

Sunday May 3, 2015

All Pictures

We all know who caused the rain.

Rain

It seems like whenever we camp too near to Hiroshima Prefecture it rains. Sometimes it stops raining for a few hours, but then someone gets bitten by a snake. We don’t mean for any of this to happen. We really have no idea how to stop the rain from following us other than by not camping within a 30 mile radius of Hiroshima prefecture.

We all tried to make it a good day despite the rain.

More Rain

We first went to the Izumo-Taisha shrine in Shimane prefecture. Mark and I had been there before. It’s not that far from our apartment in Miyoshi.

We followed our friends as they took tons of photos. They really liked the shrine but, I think they would have enjoyed it a bit more if the rain would have just stopped.

It’s raining? Let’s go to Starbucks.

It’s Raining… Still

I mentioned that the Starbucks across the street was the nearest Starbucks to my home. “You live that close to this shrine?” someone asked.

“No. I live about 1.5 hours away.”

As we passed by the coffee shop we noticed that there was a cookie themed drink on special. We had to try it. We all sat upstairs, out of the rain, and enjoyed the view of the entrance to the shrine, while consuming a whole day’s worth of calories in the form of one coffee based drink.

“It’s just another 45 minutes of walking up this hill and we’ll be there!”

Rain Won’t Stop Us!

The rain had not stopped by the time we got to the area where the old silver mine was. I say “area” because there was no way to drive anywhere near it. We had to find a bus station, take an overly crowded bus to somewhere closer to the mine, then walk up hill for about 45 minutes.

There were bikes to rent, but not everyone in our group wanted to ride bikes in the rain. There were also taxi-bicycles to hire. But, there were none to be found when we were at the bottom of the hill. We found 3 of them at the top, but they were waiting for the people who had hired them. Our timing was all wrong.

The rain might have stopped, but it’s still drippy in here.

So we walked to the top with our own 2 feet, or rather 12 feet. The mine was good in that it wasn’t raining (though, most cave-like things tend to be dank and drippy), we all got a %50 off foreigner discount, and we were now headed down hill.

Just typical minors

I was really hoping to see some silver, or silver rock. You know, an example of what silver minors looked for when mining. But there was no such thing. There were only drawings of the horrible conditions that minors had to deal with when mining.

It stopped raining for a whole 20 minutes!

We headed towards the next campsite with the plan that if it were still raining, we would try to rent a cabin somewhere. Where? I don’t know. There were no cabins anywhere near this campsite that we knew of.

It didn’t matter anyway. When we got to the  Campsite, the rain had stopped. We raced to get our tents up. Because this campsite was so crowded, we chose not to stay more than one night. In our rush to set up camp, we unpacked only what we needed for one overnight stay.

Once all the tents where up, the rain started again. This meant that grilling dinner was out of the question. We got some food from the nearest konbini, and ate next to many of the camper’s drying clothes and camping gear under the shelter of one of the few pavilions at the campsite.

Then we stayed up until midnight in one of our tents playing nerd games where we had to find killers, wizards, and good men.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Izumo-taisha
(出雲大社)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°24’07.3″N 132°41’07.8″E

Address:

〒699-0701
島根県出雲市大社町杵築東195 出雲大社社務所内

195 Kitsukihigashi, Taisha-machi, Izumo-shi, Shimane-ken
699-0701

Phone:

  • +81 0853-53-3100

Websites:

Download:

e-mail:

  • sengu@izumooyashiro.or.jp

Cost:

  • Entrance – free
  • If you can get ¥45 worth of coins to stick in or on the straw rope (the rope in the photo above), you will have good luck.

Hours:

  • Always open

Notes:

  • This is a temple for the god of marriage.
  • When you pray at this temple, you should clap 4 times instead of the normal 2 times; 2 claps for you and 2 claps for your love or future love.
  • No one knows how old this temple is, but it’s pretty old.
    • Some think it’s the oldest shrine in Japan.
    • There is record of its existence way back in the early  700s.

Iwami silver mine
(石見銀山)
(Ishimi Ginzan)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°06’18.5″N 132°26’19.5″E
  • There is nowhere near the mine to park. You have to park your car near Oda Bus Center.
    • Take the bus to Omori-Daikansho-Ato bus stop. (250yen)
  • If you are going by train, you can get a bus at Oda-shi station to Omori-Daikansho-Ato bus stop.
  • Once at Omori-Daikansho-Ato bus stop, the mine is a mere 45 minute walk… up hill.
    • There is a bike rental place where you can rent regular and electric bikes.
    • There are also bike taxis, where you ride and pay someone else to do the pedaling.

Address:

〒694-0305 Shimane Prefecture, Oda, Omoricho, イ1597−3

Phone:

  • 0854-89-0183

Websites:

Cost:

  • 410 yen
  • 50% off with a foreign passport or ARC card.

Hours:

  • 9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:00 from December to February)

Notes:


Tamagawa Campsite
(田万川キャンプ場)
(Tamagawa Kyanpujō)

near

Tamagawa Onsen
(田万川温泉憩いの湯 )
(Tamagawa Onsen’ikoinoyu)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°39’09.7″N 131°39’44.3″E

Address:

Campsite: 〒759-3112 山口県萩市江崎

Onsen:

1740-1 Shimotama
Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture 759-3112

Phone:

  • Campsite: 08387-2-1150
  • Onsen: 08387-2-0370

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Campsite:
    • 1,000 JYN/ Night / Tent
  • Onsen
    • ¥ 410 / adult
    • ¥ 200-100 / kids

Hours:

  • Campsite:
    • 8: 30 ~ 19: 00
  • Onsen:
    • Closed Mondays
    • 10: 00 ~21: 00 (last admittance 20: 30)

Notes:

  • To check-in at the campsite, go to the front desk of the onsen.
  • This campsite is near or part of Yutori Park Tamagawa.
  • There are no tents to rent.
  • There is also RV camping for ¥ 1,000 per day.
  • I’m not sure it there are showers on the camp grounds, but there is that onsen nearby.

Map:

Posted in Hagi 市, Izumo 市, Japan, Shimane 県, Yamaguchi 県, Ōda 市 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Garden Garden Bridge

Posted by Heliocentrism on June 19, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

All Pictures

Yesterday’s liqueur becomes today’s breakfast treats.

Starting Off Every Morning

Mark and I are early risers. We don’t mean to wake up with the sun every damn holiday morning, we’re just cursed with this ability. We have the hardest time getting up in time for work, but we have seen just about every sunrise of every holiday and weekend for the past 3 years. Maybe this is a sign of old age.

We would have gone through everyone’s stuff, if we weren’t so lazy.

In our party, we were always the first up. We would quietly sit around, watch the sun come up, while reading e-books or listening to audio-books. Mark would start boiling some water and make us some coffee. It would be 2 or 3 hours until Freda and Roland emerged from their tent. In the mean time we would relax and lounge about the camp.

The garden makes Mark rethink his whole life.

Roland’s Flower Quest

This morning, as Roland announce the day’s schedule, he made a plea for us to not see him as a person who only thinks about gardens. He wanted us to believe that it was a mere coincidence that today’s (and yesterday’s) itinerary was so garden heavy. He tried to assure us that after today there would not be so many gardens in our lives.

Is that a new macro lens!?

I didn’t buy it for one second. Roland had recently bought a new fancy-shmanchy camera along with a few changeable lenses for it. After spending about 10 minutes at the Adachi Museum of Art, our first garden of the day, we knew why we had come. Roland was going to take a picture of every flower, rock, and blade of grass!

It’s easier just to steal Roland’s photos.

Not only did Roland have a better camera than any of us, he took photos that no one thought to take. At first I started to mimic his photo-taking. I would crouch down where Roland had just been, to get a similar picture for myself. But then I would look at his photo and compare it to mine. There was no contest; his was clearly better.

There is something a little cruel about a garden you cannot go into.

When we got to the museum Mark and I expected to be bored the whole time. We aren’t art loving people. We like art, but we don’t love it. It helped a lot that the 2,300 yen entrance fee was sliced in half after we showed our ARC cards. We were only going to pay half as much to be tormented by art.

But the museum was much more than art. At the Adachi Museum there was art you could look at, but not take photos of, and a garden you could take photos of, but not enter. I loved the garden. And, at the very least, it gave me something to photograph as a keepsake of this experience.

The museum, the art portion of it, goes on and on and on. Every time we thought we had gotten to the end of it, someone in our group would discover another floor, passageway, bridge, or whole other section.

I bought a postcard in the gift shop before realizing that we were only halfway through. I wish I had known, because I liked the pictures in the second half of the museum better, and would have much preferred a postcard of one of them.

I’m sure Roland’s photo of these flowers don’t have that bar in it.

Next we drove to Daikon island to check out their Peony Festival. Before this trip I had no idea what a peony was, much less that there are many types of them. I don’t really know that much about flowers. I can distinguish sunflowers, tulips, and maybe carnations. I thought I could tell a rose from a non-rose, but I mistook a bunch of roses at the festival for peonies, so…

Mark is more than happy to pose for any and everyone!

This was a garden done right. It more than made up for our not being able to walk in the earlier garden. Here we felt free to walk up to and pose with the many flowers. I even got several sniffs in. This place smelt so good. It gave me an idea of what those Glade Plug-in people are trying to do. But, the garden was 10 times better than any Plug-in.

Mark loves the drapey flowers.

Just be aware that, with this many flowers around, there are many bees. No one got stung. Most bees have the attitude that if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. They are not unlike tired people on the subway after work that way.

Lots of photopportunities!!

At one point during the garden, Freda and I sat down waiting for all the guys to take their obligatory 200 photos. We found an ice cream vendor in the garden and hoped that they had peony flavored ice cream. (You can usually count on tourist sites in Japan to have a themed ice cream flavor.) But, this time the choices were yogurt, matcha, or honey.

“Hey, it’s a few blocks away from here!”

On our way back to the parking lot we found this poster. Since the bridge it advertised wasn’t too far away, we went to check it out.

Half those people are on the bridge just to be on the bridge.

We stopped to take photos of it, then we drove across the bridge just to drive across the bridge. It looks a lot scarier than it really is. When you’re on the bridge, it’s no big thing.

Let’s end this with one of Roland’s photos.

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Hoshikami Star Park
(星上山スターパーク)
(Hoshikamiyama Star Park)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°23’14.5″N 133°07’55.6″E

Address:

星上山スターパーク
〒690-2102
島根県松江市八雲町東岩坂3050−3

Phone:

  • 0852-54-2450

Websites:

Downloads:

e-mail

Cost:

  • For Camping per night:
    • 300 Yen per person +
    • 510 per tent
    • and an additional 300 per night for use of the kitchen
  • Bungalow one night basic charge 6500 yen
  • 100 per non-timed shower

Hours:

  • Reception: 9:00~18:00
  • Check-in 15: 00 ~ Check out 10: 00

Notes:

  • Reservations are needed to stay at this campsite. Call before you go.

Adachi Museum of Art
(足立美術館)
(Adachi Bijutsukan)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°22’47.6″N 133°11’38.8″E
  • There is a free shuttle from JR Yasugi Station, JR Yonago Station, Tamatsukuri Spa, Kaike Spa and ANA Hotel Yonago.

Address:

320 Furukawa-cho, Yasugi, Shimane, 692-0064, JAPAN

Phone:

  • ( +81 )0854-28-7111

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • 2,300yen
    • Bring your passport or ARC for a 50% foreigner discount
  • They accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners and JCB.
  • It’s 500 Yen for audio devices that offer information in Japanese, English or Mandarin.
  • Free Parking

Hours:

  • April-September: 9:00-17:30
  • October-March: 9:00-17:00

Videos:

Notes:

  • It takes about 2 hours to see the whole museum.
  • Do not leave the museum until you are sure that you’ve seen the whole thing. Re-entry is not allowed.
  • Don’t shop at the first gift shop, until you’ve seen the second gift shop.
  • Photos are not allowed inside the museum. You can, however, take photos of the gardens.
  • You are not allowed in the gardens; you can only look at the gardens.

Yuushien garden
(由志園)
(Yushien)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°29’26.3″N 133°10’31.7″E

Address:

1260-2 Hanyu, Yatsuka-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken

Phone:

  • 0852-76-2255

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • 600yen
    • Bring your passport or ARC for a 50% foreigner discount
  • Free Parking

Hours:

  • 8:30 – 17:30

Notes:

  • Every year around the end of April and the beginning of May there is a Peony Festival.

Ejima Bridge
(江島大橋)
(Ejima Ohashi)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°31’08.5″N 133°11’59.3″E

Phone:

  • 0859-42-3706 (Sakai Port)

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free
  • There is an area where you can park for free for a short time.
    • This parking area is on the Shimane side of the bridge.
    • This would give you enough time to take several photos of the bridge.

Hours:

  • always avaible

Videos:

Notes:

Map:

Posted in Daikon Island, Honshū, Japan, Matsue 市, Shimane 県, Yasugi 市 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

We have no A/C. We must find a beach!

Posted by Heliocentrism on December 5, 2014

Sunday, July 27 & Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All Pictures

It’s so hot, our flowers need to lay down for a spell.

So hot!

At our new apartment, we have neither heater nor air conditioning. We moved in back in late March so it never bothered us. When it started to get hot we went over to our local used goods shop and bought 2 fans. They both have been doing a stellar job until last week when it became too hot for just fans.

We had started taking naps in the middle of the day because the heat drains our energy. I wake up earlier and earlier in the morning to exercise before it gets too hot. When Mark waters the plants all I want to do is run in front of the hose. I shower 3 times a day, just to cool off.

Shade and beach!

On Sunday, we got in our car, cranked the a/c all the way up, and headed to nearest beach. It was about 1 hour 45 minutes away. That’s really too far for a day at the beach. But, having no a/c at home make sitting an air-conditioned car for almost 2 hours seem like pure bliss.

When we got to the beach we set up our tarp. When I say, “we,” I mean Mark. I set out our blankets and cooler and poured us both some icy water while Mark fought with the tarp poles and stakes. You should have heard the horrible words that came out of that normally calm man’s mouth when a gust of wind blew the whole thing over.

Grilling in the shade

Once the tarp was up, we ran into the water to cool off before firing up the grill. Once again, Mark did all the work and I poured more cold water. This felt a lot better than staying home.

We sat under our tarp and talked about our plans for the rest of the week. Mark had to work on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I wanted to come back on the days he was not working. We had passed by a big temple on our way to the beach and I wanted to see that too.

Who tied that rope?

Temple for Lovers

The next day Mark went to Hiroshima for a company meetings. He mentioned to one of his fellow teachers that he was going to see Izumo-Taisha and she happened to also have plans to see it. She and a friend of hers were going to see it on Tuesday. They decided that we should all see it together.

Mark loves toriis!

The next day we meet under the main torii. As we waited for the ladies to show up I looked across the street to the first Starbucks I’d seen in months. I contemplated going over there to get a treat.

It’s odd. I’m not a coffeeholic. I’ve never visited Starbuck that often when I lived in a town that had many of them. In fact, I think their drinks are over priced and I only patronize Starbucks when I’m with other people who are going to Starbucks. But living in a town without a Starbucks makes me long for a frappucino.

Purification

The shrine is for a god named, Okuninushi no Okami. He not only made all of Japan, but as a deity, he is in charge of couples and marriage. If you need help finding that someone special or keeping that someone special, apparently this is the place to go.

We walked around and took as many photos of stuff as we could in the heat. After about an hour of the temple we were tired and over heated. It was very pretty, but I really could have used a mister.

We left the shrine and walked down the main street of the little town we were in. We were on the hunt for ice cream. If you keep walking down towards the torii in town you will find a cafe that sells mango ice cream that you can eat indoors in air-conditioned splendor.

Boards of Wishes

After this we headed to the beach for barbecue and a dip in the water. It was a great day!

All Pictures


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.   Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with most cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Kizuki Seaside Park
(きづき海浜公園)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°23’32.7″N 132°40’26.3″E

Address:

〒699-0751 島根県出雲市大社町杵築西

Phone:

  • 0853-53-3113

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free Park
  • Free Access
  • Hot Showers – ¥100/ 3 minute

Hours:

  • Always available

Notes:

  • The beach is not the best beach in the world. It could really do with a trash crew coming by once a week to pick up the flotsam and jetsam that gets washed up on shore.
  • But, it is free and has plenty of parking!

Izumo-taisha
(出雲大社)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°24’07.3″N 132°41’07.8″E

Address:

〒699-0701
島根県出雲市大社町杵築東195 出雲大社社務所内

195 Kitsukihigashi, Taisha-machi, Izumo-shi, Shimane-ken
699-0701

Phone:

  • +81 0853-53-3100

Websites:

Download:

e-mail:

  • sengu@izumooyashiro.or.jp

Cost:

  • Entrance – free
  • If you can get ¥45 worth of coins to stick in or on the straw rope (the rope in the photo above), you will have good luck.

Hours:

  • Always open

Notes:

  • This is a temple for the god of marriage.
  • When you pray at this temple, you should clap 4 times instead of the normal 2 times; 2 claps for you and 2 claps for your love or future love.
  • No one knows how old this temple is, but it’s pretty old.
    • Some think it’s the oldest shrine in Japan.
    • There is record of its existence way back in the early  700s.

Map:

Posted in Izumo 市, Japan, Shimane 県 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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