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.