Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall

Shiretoko is a special place even for Japanese.

Shiretoko means 'end of the earth' in Ainu language. Because of this rich and beautiful nature, Shiretoko is UNESCO's World Heritage site.

Do you know Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall? It is waterfall but at the same time hot spring!

Kamuiwakka Hot Waterfall is a hot spring river coming out from Iwo Mountain located in the mid of Shiretoko Peninslar. Watching from the sea, you can see the valley dividing the Iwo Mountaint from the summit to sea shore.

If you get closer,...

The last (hot) waterfall is dropping directly into the sea.

Then, let's go to a trail through a forest. You may meet a wild fox if you are lucky.

I was lucky...

Arrived at Kamuiwakka. Starting to climb the waterfall.

Arrived in one of the fall pods. Temprature was very nice, about 36-40 degree centigrate.

A waterfall trip ended up here. It used to be one of Japan's ultimate hot spring destinations. However, the upper part beyond the point, most spectacular section of the river, has been closed to the public due to the danger of falling rocks.

It's really a secret place where you can visit only during a short summer. The forest path only opens from late June to October because of weather. Only permitted car can enter during high season. However, any time it's open to Brompton and other bikes.

Shuttle Bus Shiretoko Goko Parking → Kamuiwakka
Distance: 10.6km
Maximum difference of an elevation: 119m
Average inclination: total 0% ascent 4.9% descent 4.1%
Gained elevation: ascent 178m descent 176m

Shiretoko National Park Nature Center

Trip Advisor: Kamui Wakka no Taki Falls

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Karuizawa with Brompton

Brompton and I went to Karuizawa because Mizutani, a sole importer and sales agent of Brompton in Japan, opened a summer-only shop in the center street of Karuizawa.

Karuizawa is a picturesque resort town situated at the elevation of 1000 meters in the foot of Mt Asama, one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. Due to its elevation, it is very comfortable for people to spend summer holodays.

[Transportation examples]
JR Nagano-Shinkansen ASAMA: Tokyo Station dept. 08:36 → Karuizawa Station arr. 09:45
JR Nagano-Shinkansen ASAMA: Tokyo Station dept. 09:20 → Karuizawa Station arr. 10:30

After loitering along the main street of old Karuizawa town, I dropped by the shop. Drinking iced coffee, I chatted with an attendant a lot about Brompton.

During summer holidays, there were a lot of people on vacation in Karuizawa.

A new church.

An old church, Karuizawa Shaw Memorial Church.

The original one was build by Alexander Croft Shaw, a Canadian rector, in 1895 as a first church in Karuizawa. In Meiji era, Japanese Government then invited a lot of foreign people with knowledges and skills to Japan. The climate in Toyo was intolerable for many of those who came from North America and Europe. Alexander Shaw and James Dickson, an English teacher of the University of Tokyo escaped Tokyo to seek cooler weather during summer and finally reached here. They told their friends about Karuizawa's ideal climate during summer and as a result westerners and rich Japanese built their summer houses here in Karuizawa.

Mikasa Hotel, one of the oldest western style hotels in Japan.

My favorite path to Manpei.

My favorite hotel, Manpei.

There are restaurants where I used to have lunch and dinner with friends of mine then from my mid-twenties and thirties. I recalled a lot of things with them.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sento (Public Bath)

If you try Sento, a traditional public bath, I recommend to go to the famous "Inariyu" near Nishi-Sugamo Station of Mita-Line subway.

You had better use Brompton to go because it is a bit distant from any subway station but no space for car parking. The following route will offer you an opportunity to experinece traditional downtown scenary and lives of common people in Tokyo in addition to Inariyu.

It is a traditional building like a temple.
A sign board "わ" means ready to take bath.

You can park Brompton inside the entrance space like this.

It is common for most of Sento to have such a Mt. Fuji picture on the wall.

Japanese people usually drink a bottle of milk or bottle of this yellow liquid after bathing. 120 yen.

Inariyu is now very famouse because of the popular film "THERMAE ROMAE". Hiroshi Abe is a nice actor. Before your visit, you can learn how you behave in a good manner by watching that film.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mt. Fuji downhill by Brompton

Mt. Fuji, rising above the clouds, is the symbol of Japan and has provided a spiritual basis for the Japanese since ancient times.

I brought my Brompton to Mt. Fuji (gogoume = the fifth step) at the elevation of 2,305 meters by bus then started downhill to Kawaguchi-ko Station (elevation: 857 meters).

Transportation example:
Saturday/Sunday (summer season)
1)Train - JR Shinjuku Station 08:14 - Fujisan Station 10:21 (Holiday Kaisoku Mt. Fuji No.1)
2)Bus - Fujisan Station bus stop 10:40 - Mt. Fuji Gogoume 11:45

(Fujisan Station accepts SUICA and PASMO. Bus also accepts SUICA and PASMO.)

I needed to be careful of overspeeding. I limited the speed below 45km/hour on straight lines and 30km/hour at corners.

Beyond forest limit around the elevation of 2250 meters. It was cold even in summer.

We need to be careful of uncertain weathers in mountains. Suddenly I was surrounded by fog and it became very cold. Because my clothe was no sleve shirt and a short pant, I was afraid I would be in trouble. But after a while, wind stopped and fog cleared.
An elevation of 2045 meters.

Continue descending. An elevation of 1,786 meters.

I met some road bikes climbing the mountain. Sorry, I used a bus...

Already approaching the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Finally arrived Kawaguchi-ko Station.

Fujikyuko Line official web site

Mt. Fuji Climbing official web site