I just noticed this article on the Metropolis site. It's well written with lots of useful info.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
|Hamarikyu Garden Pond|
|Tea House Overlooking Pond at Hamarikyu Gardens|
Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園 Hama-rikyū Onshi Teien)
We had a very nice stroll through Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園 Hama-rikyū Onshi Teien) the other day.
If you are looking for nice place for relaxing walk in central Tokyo, I strongly suggest checking this place out. It's a 5-10 minute walk from Shiodome and Shimbashi stations.
Description from Wikipedia:
"Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園 Hama-rikyū Onshi Teien) is a public park in Chūō, Tokyo, Japan. Located at the mouth of the Sumida River, it was opened April 1, 1946. The park is a 250,165 m² landscaped garden surrounding Shioiri Pond, the park itself surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay. It was remodeled as a public garden park on the site of a villa of the Shogun Tokugawa family in the 17th century.
Visitors can also enjoy refreshment at a teahouse in Nakashima located in the middle of the pond in the garden that offers matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea-ceremony style. A peony garden, plum tree grove and cosmos fields have flowers for every season. Japanese falconry and aikido are demonstrated at New Year."
As part of recent vacation I had opportunity to spend some time in Lake Sai (also known Lake Sai Ko or just Sai Ko) area in Yamashi-ken near Mt. Fuji.
The six of us rented a spacious fully furnished cabin just across the street from the lake. The cabin has a nice lake view, includes a full kitchen with dishes, utensils etc. and bathroom and bedroom linen. There was also lots of firewood to use in the wood burning stove.
|View from Hiking Trail|
|Hiking Trail Near Lake Sai Ko|
The best part was the daily rate was just JPY 10,000 total for all six of us.
I took my Brompton and did some nice rides around the lake. The roads are well maintained and had very little traffic.
|Road Around Lake Sai-Ko (Good for cycling!)|
|Model Airplane Gang|
Nearby lake Kawaguchi-ko also has a nice walking trail along its' south shore.
Overall, both lakes are very pretty and clean. I did, however, notice, that in some places the locals have taken to simply abandoning old items at the lakeside instead of properly disposing of them. I can't really understand why the local authorities or even the local residents would put up with this. But, hey, that's their choice.
|What's up with that?|
|Entrance to the Ice Cave|
We had a nice lunch of soba noodles at lakeside restaurant. The owner was very friendly, showed us her pictures of the local scenic spots, and provided us with a lot of info about local attractions etc. The noodle were a bit pricey. But, the owner kept assuring us that it was because her noodles had a lot more nutrients than standard noodles. :-)
|Soba Restaurant on Lake Sai-Ko|
|Proprietor of the Soba Restaurant w/Our Gang|
|More Views from Hiking Trail|
Monday, October 7, 2013
|On the Ferry Looking Back at Kurihama|
Continuing my journey along the Boso Peninsula, I and my oldest son, decided to start from Hamakanaya and head east. To get to started we took the ferry from Kurihama across Tokyo Bay to Chiba.
The road, Route 127, is great for cycling, with ample space, and little traffic. The road is relatively flat with ocean views to the right and mountains to the left. However, there are about five or six tunnels, so make sure you have proper lighting.
|Scenic Attraction Along Route 127|
There are plenty of places to stop for food and drinks.
|Looking Towards Tokyo from Sunozaki|
Our favourite pit stop was at the Sunozaki Light House which sits at the top of hill at the tip of the peninsula. There is a nice little snack shop ramen restaurant at the base of the light house. The owners were quite friendly and even gave us a free snack plate.
Out on the road again, we biked a long a good stretch of coastal beaches with plenty, of sand, surf, and surfers. I wouldn't call the beaches pristine, as there was a fair amount of rubbish. But, I would call them nice, as there is plenty of sand, medium sized surf, and not too many people. In fact, I really couldn't believe that we could be so close to Tokyo, but on such uncrowded beaches.
After we returned, I was telling a friend about the ride and they mentioned that we could have also take the rope car at Hamakanaya Station to view one of the oldest and largest carved Buddhas in Japan. Nokogiriyama is the home of Nihon-ji temple which was founded in the year 725.
|Ferry Ticket Prices|
|Ferry Time Table|
Sunday, September 8, 2013
|Bikes folded and ready for the train!|
Since I’ve had a lot of business travel and have been put off by the summer heat and humidity, I haven’t been making much progress on my coastal cycling plans.
So, on a recent Saturday, I, along with Makai, decided to take the train to Chiba City and start cycling towards Futtsu. Our plan was to bike to Hamakanaya in Futtsu and catch the ferry to Yokosuka.
|Bike Path (clearly marked)|
The first 90 minutes of the ride along HWY 357 (which later merges with, and becomes HWY 16) wasn’t very enjoyable as the scenery is almost as depressingly bad and smelly as the industrial wasteland that separates Chiba from Tokyo. And, since there are so many traffic lights, the pace is relatively slow. The only positive is that there is a clearly, and I mean CLEARLY marked bike path, that while being not very smooth or enjoyable, is, as I’ve said, CLEARLY MARKED.
|The Views Improve Closer to Futtsu|
|Nice Scenery in Futtsu|
Then at Sodegaura, about 20km before Hamakanaya, the route along HWY 16 (which later turns into HWY 465) becomes both scenic and much more enjoyable as the road is smoother, well maintained, and had very little traffic. There are some nice downhill sections and some pretty areas along the coast just before the ferry terminal.
|Coastal View from HWY 465|
If you are hungry there’s a large restaurant area about 1KM before the ferry with several establishments to choose from. As we needed to catch the ferry we went straight to the terminal to purchase our tickets. Inside the terminal there’s a variety of omiyage (souvenirs & snacks) and beverages to choose from.
|Bike Parking Area on Ferry|
We were able to quickly board the ferry and the attendants expertly secured our bikes so that we could go to the upper deck. We found plenty of comfortable seating, a variety of vending machines, and a small snack bar that sells, well, snacks, and simple foods like cup noodles etc. Best of all, they offer frosty cool draft beer.
The crossing to Yokosuka takes about 40 minutes. From the ferry terminal we biked about ten minutes to the nearest train station, JR Kurihama which is directly opposite the Keikyu Kurihama station. We then folded our bikes and hopped the train back home.
The total cycling distance from Chiba Station to the Hamkanaya Ferry Terminal is about 60KM.
|Tartaruga Folding Bike|
Some owners of Tartaruga Folding Bikes (see review) have organized a event in Yokohama called 'A
life with camera and Tartargua' that will be taking place on September 22nd 2013 in Yokohama.
The event was first held in 2008.
Here's a link to the Japanese info site: http://tartarugayokohama.seesaa.net/
Tartaruga makes several different models of bikes. So if you are interested in a seeing a variety of different bikes and talking to the owners about their experiences, this would be an ideal opportunity.
September 22nd is a car-free day in Yokohama so the cycling, regardless of what your ride is, should be great.
Don't forget to bring your camera!