Weekly Photo Challenge : Golden Hour

I love taking picture of sunrise and sunset and since both side of my apartment have a really great view for it, I have quiet a collection of it already. So for this week’s theme golden hour, allow me to show you some of my favorite shot around Daito City Osaka, Japan.

20130716-112237.jpgSunrise over at Mt. Ikoma.

20130716-112049.jpgSunset @ Daito City Osaka

20130716-112107.jpgSunset @ Nozaki Temple Daito City Osaka.

All were taken by my iPhone 4S camera. I hope you like. Have a great week everyone.



Water Lilies and Manholes

During the our hike last Sunday, I mentioned that we passed by a water lily pond,  I got a close up picture with a white one.


On our way back , I found a colorful manhole cover near the Shijonawate Temple.


A few meters away I found a non-colored version:


This is a small one I found in HigashiOsaka near Konoikeshinden Station. It says “Rugby Town”. I wonder if they have a good Rugby team in the area.


Typhoon, Hiking and Fainting?

Whenever I am asked where I live in Osaka, they always gave a question back right at me : ” Where is that?”.

I don’t blame them. I have lived in Osaka for 4.5 years before moving to Tokyo last 2009 and during that time I have never heard of a place called Daito(大東).  So it gave me an idea to suggest a hiking meetup around the area.

I accidentally found this hiking course during one of my visit to Nozaki Kannon, but I have not ventured far since I have no idea how long the hike would be and till the day of the hike, I still do not have the idea of what the hike would be. The local website also where not much of helped. There is only one map that I could find and it is not even detailed and of course everything is in Japanese.

I specifically added in the Meetup details : “JOIN AT YOUR OWN RISK” because I have no idea what to expect yet. So only the adventurous and brave at heart must join.

A week before the hike, a typhoon was approaching Japan and it was just raining all day long. A few days before the hike, J one of the participants decided to check out the trail either he was excited or he just did not want to trust on fate or me , either way, I was very grateful of the information he gave me. By Thursday, the typhoon left the country but we are supposed to get about 30-50% chance of rain on day of the hike. A little rain would not hurt so it was a go.

A few people were a bit late, but by 11:20 am everybody (almost, one did not show up) was there and so all we go. ( I uploaded the picture here ).

Here we are at the foot of Nozaki Kannon

We visited temple first and wash our hands before proceeding with the hike.

At the small hanging bridge, near Nozaki Kannon

The rain was on and off, but nobody seems to mind any of it. It was great up there. Everything was just green and the air was so fresh. There were lots of wild strawberries too. C even decided to try some of them and announced to everybody that it was not sweet at all.

A creek up in the mountain

Then we reached “七曲” or “Seven turns”. On the last flight of stairs, C and I did a quick sprint to reach the top and that cause a big trouble for me. I felt really great while waiting for the others, I was not even breathing that hard but a few minutes later, just as we are about to continue with the hike, I felt weird. I went to T for support just in case but then all of a sudden, my vision was getting blurry. Everything was turning black, my hearing was even blurry too. Before I faint I went to the nearest bench and sat down and close my eyes. The last thing I heard, was T saying , “take control of you body” and for about 5 minutes that I was concentrating on that. I fought hard not to faint, just closed my eyes and calm my self down. It worked, everything went back to normal. The rest of the group was already gone, I guess T told them to go on ahead, T was of course there and my good friend M and here guest was there with us too. I felt so embarrassed. This has never happened to me before. I have hike more difficult trail than this and one time without even much sleep but I was fine.

The last flight of stairs after the 7 turns.

Then we moved on and catch up with the group. On our way we found this small dam and everything around it was just so green and beautiful.

After that embarrassing. almost fainting moment, I took control of the group again and more determined to finish the hike.

We had a short toilet stop at the Youth Center and found a really nice water lily pond.

K, C and J on the platform in the pond

A white water lily

Rice paddies

A few minutes later we reached the peak of our trail.

A view from the top

We also found somebody’s statue on top and when I asked M how to read the Kanji, she can’t read it :p



Another one, I wonder who this is.



An a stone tablet:

20130626-102136.jpgEven with my almost fainting stint, it was still a lovely day. The hike was invigorating. I finally found a place to spend the a day or an afternoon away from everything else and just be one with nature.

We finished the hike in Shijonawate Temple, I think it took us about almost 3 hours since we have a few stops to chat and relax a bit. The total distance is about 4 Km.

If you want to do a short, hike outside the city, I highly recommend trying the trail here.

How to get to Nozaki :

Nozaki is serviced by JR Gakkentoshi line. From Osaka you can take the JR Loop line to Kyobashi Station and change to Gakkentoshi line. Only local train stops at Nozaki Station , so if you take the Express one, make sure you change at Suminodo Station or Hanaten Station. Every now and then, there is a special train that turns into a Higashi Osaka Line from Hanaten Station, make sure you get off at Hanaten if you take this train since it will go the opposite side from there. From JR Kyobashi it takes about 20 minutes to reach Nozaki  Station.

From Nozaki Station, just walk towards Nozaki Kannon. It’s about 5  minutes walk away ( to the stairs of the temple). The trail starts at the back of the temple , you will notice a hiking map there. Lots of stairs going up and going down, but I think it’s worth it.

I hope you have a good hike there and don’t faint :p


Weekly Photo Challenge : The World Through Your Eyes

There is something about Sunset that is so mysterious. Even though science has already explained the phenomenon, I still find it very romantic and beautiful. Unfortunately looking directly at the sun is not good for eyes, so I use my camera (phone or my old fujifilm) to capture the moment and stare at at indefinitely until I get tired of it. For this week’s challenge, see the Sunset through my eyes.

20130624-143846.jpgI have probably taken several Sunset pictures from my veranda, but whenever I go home from work I still get so  happy if I can get a glimpse of it.

20130624-143917.jpgCan you find Osaka Castle? Beautiful sunset on a beautiful day during the Thailand Festival in Osaka Castle Ground.




Date Night, Sushi Night

Every now and then T and I would treat ourselves with some real delish plates of sushi. Tonight is one them.

The usual sushi place near the train station changed owners and they have some interesting additional items on their menu, like this one:

20130531-214019.jpgLooks good? Yeah it does, but I could not get pass the raw egg yolk and the sticky white thing underneath it. I think it is shredded(?) Yama Imo or Japanese Yam. The maki , according to T, is made of rice with cucumber and other stuff.  He is not sure what other stuff, he tried to make me eat it but I was feeling like a sissy :p

20130531-214025.jpgAnd of course I would never forget to order my Chawanmushi. Very very very good 🙂

The store is called 北海素材(Hokkai Sozai) and it looks like it can only be found around Osaka and one in Hyogo Area.

Happy Tummy.