Flora

Mt. Tomi(鳥見山) to Lake Murou(室生湖)

Long time no hear/read. Been busy with my so called Life 🙂

Anyways, I join this hike on my last day of Golden Week Vacation here in Osaka. A lot of first and I saw another side of Nara that I really like. A bit far from where I am currently located but definitely worth the trip.

Our group met in Hasedara Station, which is about 1.5 hours train ride for me.

Sign post for Hasedera in Nara
The tall stone saying Hasedera Temple , just outside Hasedera Station.

I have never heard of Hasedera Temple before so I was really happy to find this place.
The group arrived on time and so our hike began. We are supposed to follow one of the Tokai Nature Trail in Nara Prefecture.

We had a short stop at the Yoki Tenma Jinja, since our organizer have this fascination with it.

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A small shrine near stairs with small cute foxes(Inari) inside.


Let’s start the walk up to the Shrine.

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The moss covered stairs going up. On our way up, we met some university students busily sketching the scenery. I envy them since I can’t draw a thing.


The Cow. If you ever been to Tenmangu Shrine, you will notice that there is always a Cow sculpture/statue inside which is a familiar god in Tenmangu Shrines.

After our short visit, we proceed with our hike. There was not much around Hasedera Station but as we were approaching the main Temple, there peony beautiful blooming at the side of the street, vendors giving us free taste of their products. I have never heard of Hasedera so I have never visited this place. A few weeks after this hike, I was reading the book called “The Pillow Book” that I realized the historical importance of this place. Of course entering the Temple is not free and unfortunately, we still have a long way to go so I will have to go back there soon.

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The Front Gate of Hasedera.

After we left Hasedera, we were following the highway and a few minutes later we found our marker.
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Our next stop is Hase Dam.

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Front View of Hase Dam.

As we were heading back to the main road. We noticed this very interesting sign.
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Looks like Guns are not allowed.

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It was beautiful. The peacefulness of it all.

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View from the top of the Dam.

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Forward march. Yup we are crossing this bridge.

More walking along the highway and we found another marker leading to the mountains.

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Watch out for your head.

It was a steep climb and we are supposed to find Takatsuka Castle on top but unfortunately this is what was left of the castle.
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Suffice it to say, we did not get to see a castle or any of its ruins.

We also found some interesting plants along the way.
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The red mushroom. Any idea the name of this mushroom?


It looks like a pitcher plant.

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Wee!! another sign that we are almost to the top of the mountain.

We took a short, 1 hour break , for lunch and chatted a good while. Then we checked out the view. It was amazing.


I’m not sure if this is Nara Prefecture or Mie Prefecture already. But it looks really nice.


A Panoramic Shot.

The Azaleas were also blooming so it was really beautiful up there.

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I like this shot of the Photographer seriously taking some pictures surrounded by this beautiful foliage.


And another one.

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A close up with the Azaleas.

A few minutes walk we found another place where we can see more of the view.
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one more 🙂


And one more.

We wanted to stay there and just enjoy the view, but we still have a very long way to go till we reach our final destination.

We found several interesting areas including this very small waterfall.


Rice fields that looks like a small version of the Banaue Rice Terraces

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It looks like that the farmers just started planting rice in this area.


Farmers busy planting. I hope you have a great harvest soon.

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I love this view.

Our next goal was to look for the Grave site of Yamabe Akihito a poet during Nara Period and a few hours later we found it.

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The lone grave of Yamabe Akahito(山辺赤人)

Our next goal was to reach Murou Dam which according to the map was not that far, but next marker we found said that Lake Murou is 8KM away and the Dam is still a few km away from that.

We thought that there was a mistake with the marker but we thought wrong.

When we got out of the mountain and was going to the lake it was already after 4pm, the sun was already starting to set.

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Part of the Lake closer to the highway. We are just entering the Lake.


It was really beautiful.


So peaceful.


Akahito’s Bridge.

We decided to check gps how far is the Dam, and it looks like it was still a good 5-6 KM away and unfortunately nobody was carrying flashlight or what not. All of us still have classes and work to do the next day. So we all decided to take the shortest route to the next station following the side of the Lake.

We found some wild deer which scampered away as soon as they caught our smell. All we could see where the white spots near the butt :).

It was a nice walk beside the lake, dirt road, smell of summer breeze , earth and forest all together. When we finally got out and back to the main road , this is what greeted us.

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We still have a 2 Km to walk till we get to the train station but we got there safely and catch our train. We were all tired, but I was very satisfied to join see this amazing places.

till the next adventure:)

Categories: Clouds, Flora, Landscape, Life In Japan, Structures, Temples, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Random Sakura

The Sakura on my way to work

Sakura @ Daito

Sakura@daito
Close up version.

Sakura @Daito
The Sun and Sakura.

The Sakura @ Nozaki Kannon Temple

Sakura @Nozaki Kannonj

Categories: Flora | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sakura no toorinuke @ Osaka Mint Bureau

Let us take a short break from all the manhole covers and enjoy some cherry blossoms (Sakura) for this year 2014.

During this season, I call it Sakura Season,  I love walking early in the morning and just enjoy the beauty of what Spring could offer. Every year the Osaka Mint Bureau opens their gates to the public for 1 week to share the beauty of the Sakura inside the complex. They currently have 350 trees and 130 varieties inside. Unfortunately it’s very famous , thus the crowd.

The very first time I visited the place many moons ago, I could barely moved much less take a decent picture. The second time, I was there even before the gates were open and I was able to enjoy the beauty of the Sakura and was able to get a decent picture so I was satisfied.

After returning to Osaka , three years ago, T and I tried to see the blooms once more but turned back after we saw the crowd. For this year I decided to create a meetup event to force myself to go 🙂

Here are some of the pictures I took.

The Lamp and the Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
I love the lamp among these fluffy Sakura.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
This place would have been perfect for a picnic , unfortunately it is not allowed.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
It looks like fluffy pink marshmallows 🙂

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
I was underneath it. I wished I could have stayed longer underneath it.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
A close up shot.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
Another one.

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau
Fluffy little white clouds 🙂

Sakura @ Osaka Mint Bureau

The whole place is less than 600 meters long but you could easily stay there for hours just taking pictures of these lovely Sakura.

If you are in Osaka at this time of the year make sure to include a short visit to the Osaka Mint Bureau, I’m sure you will enjoy it, minus the crowd 🙂

Till next year.

Categories: Events, Festivities, Flora | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hiking Mt. Ikoma (Again)

My apologies for the very long hiatus. Last year, I was not able to anything much during Spring because of my allergies but this year I’m back with a vengeance. My allergies is still here but it more manageable, or I have learned a trick or two to manage it and still enjoy Spring here in Kansai.

So back to the original topic of this post.

Mt. Ikoma. Another hiking event organize by “Hiking In Kansai” group and I got to see Mt. Ikoma in Spring Season. We met we everybody at Ishikiri Station at 9:30 am, but we were not able to start until 10 am. From the station we took the same route we used last time so we passed again the Watermill again but this time the Sakura were in bloom so it was really very pretty.
Sakura
The big Sakura tree gave a very nice backdrop to the watermill.

Sakura

Another one but just started blooming.

Watermill
The Watermill.

Sakura
The same tree, from a different side.

Stone Buddha
The little stone Buddha on road. Keeping a watch on us.

Last time we went all the way to the theme park but we never really found the peak of the mountain. This time we/I did and took a proper photo as a proof 🙂

The Peak of Mt. Ikoma

The reason we did not find the mountain peak last time is because it is hiding inside this ride.
Peak of Mt. Ikoma
The theme park staff will let you in to see the peak.

There were lots of Sakura Trees on top of Mt. Ikoma but unfortunately it was just starting to bloom. It was really a cold day when we started and by the time we got to the top, it was even colder. We had a quick lunch , a visit to the loo and we continued on our hike.

A few minutes later, just outside the theme park we found this strange looking edifice. There were no sign explaining what it was but there were new air conditioning system installed so I guess it was still currently in used.

A weird building

After passing the building we came out to this small skyline park and the view was marvelous. On the left side you can see Nara Prefecture and on the right side, you can see the East Side of Osaka Prefecture. Then, of course , we have to take our group picture here.
HIK
So can you find me? 😀

To continue :
Directions
Where to go? Back to Ikoma or Kuragaritouge ?

Japan's Highway ????
Kuragaritouge serves as the boundary between Osaka Prefecture on the East Side and Nara Prefecture.

Nara - Osaka Border
I am both on Nara and Osaka. 😀

Our hike continues but this time we are walking in one of Japan’s narrowest and steepest National Highway.
Probably the narrowest and steepest Highway in Japan

Rice field
Rice field on the side of the highway.

walking along the highway
Yes that is still part of the National Highway.

A few minutes of walking down we found these group of stones with a gate in front. We are not sure if this is somebody’s private graveyard, but it looks so old and then everybody just started snapping pictures of it 🙂

stone and gate

Then we found this small temple/shrine and I was able to get the permission of our leader to explore it for a few minutes.

a waterfall?

The waterfall
I guess this is the waterfall.

The Stone Buddha
More Stone Buddhas on the side .

The Main Deity

The Holy Stone
Power Stone?

where to go?
Directions !! Where to go this time.

Sakura
Sakura everywhere.

Shidare Sakuru
Picture is Edited. I enhance the color that is why it looks so pink.

Sakura
Up close and personal.

It was really a great day.We had lots of fun chatting and getting to know the members of the group. We ended up having a plate of Oden near Ishikiri Jinja before calling it a day.

Till the next hike.

Categories: Buildings, Events, Flora, Landscape, Life In Japan, Structures, Temples, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring is almost upon us

and also all the pollen that comes with it. I’m crossing my finger that my preparation, by drinking local pollen to boast my immune system would be a help to me this year.

Anyways, I recently found out that Osaka Castle have a Plum Blossom (Ume) garden. It looks like it has about 1200 plum trees planted in the area. So last weekend together with some folks at meetup we checkout how much of the plum have bloomed.

Pink Plum blossom
Three Beautiful Dainty Pink Plum Flowers were blooming on this branch.

Plum Blossoms
Another 3 on this branch.

There were still several trees that have not started yet, specially the whipping-type. Hopefully the weather will be nice this coming weekend so I can go and check out the garden again.

How are flowers in your side of the world? Has spring already arrived?

Categories: Flora, Life In Japan, Photohunt | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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