Travels & Adventures + Around Hino + Around Tokyo + Big trip + Day(s) trip + Just at home

Autumn gone - but not forgotten

During autumn I was planning on changing the colours and theme of this site with the seasons but somehow time has escaped me (now it is past and plum blossom season has almost started)! However, the colours were amazing and are worth revisiting...
Contrasting red against blue sky and lakeContrasting red against blue sky and lake The path leading to the bridgeThe path leading to the bridge

The Japanese pay a great deal of attention to the seasons and it is popular just to go out "viewing". Indeed the maple season rivals that of the cherry blossoms, although all through the year there are so many different flowers and colours that if you're attentive there is some beautiful nature to see at almost anytime.

EmergingEmerging Full to lateFull to late

Like the "hanami" (flower viewing during cherry blossom season) the autumn colours do not come all at once. In any one park there may be leaves still green whilst others are bright shades of red and yellow. In general the maple leaves turn at a later time than other deciduous trees.
Stepping stonesStepping stones Brilliant illumination from behindBrilliant illumination from behind

Tsukiji auction now closed to public!

Getting up at 4am to catch the first train at 4:28 from Toyoda station was quite a strain. Some of Simon’s uni colleagues joining us, decided it would be easier to stay up all night although the 1hour trip to downtown Tokyo took its toll with a few shut eyes. We arrived in time to see the tuna auctions in enormous sheds (separate fresh and frozen sections), and the hive of activity that surrounds this. I would say you have to see it for yourself, but it seems the morning we went was the last time it is open to public, so it was definitely worth the effort of an early morning rise! After the auctions we visited the tightly compacted markets which are perhaps more interesting with the incredible variety of seafood and to see the care with which the large fresh tuna are portioned up. Then for breakfast we ate sushi at the tiny nearby Daiwa Sushi, which is also quite a famous requiring us to wait in queue (for nearly an hour). Log on and click here to see more photos…

Back in Oct - Okutama retreat

It was great to have, the first weekend back, a retreat in the moutains which was a welcomed recoupe after our holidays! The passage for the weekend was "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesian 2:10.

Log on and click here to see more photos…

Autumn colours emergingAutumn colours emerging Weird rocksWeird rocks


Back in Sept - Give me a home among the gum trees....

Ah, I miss the gum trees and the smells of reminds me of a song, are you already singing it? (if you not up on Australia folks songs and would like to join in the chorus see Song: Home Among the Gum Trees)
I hadn't been back to the farm in spring for 5 years so it was magnificent to see it in such a beautiful array of colours. Unfortunately what were bumper crops have frizzled with the lack of late rains leading to yet another "drought" year.

If you'd like to see more, I've compiled a thumbnail view of 40 photos although you'll need to be logged on to view them (see more Australia photos )

Back in Aug - Western Honshu Loop

For 15days at the start of August we travelled a loop around this western part of the main island. It was hot, humid and hectic! But great fun and Caleb was always keeping us amused. We started in Okayama and travel south/west skipping Miyajima, looping up to the north coast right up to Tottori before expressing down to see the fireworks at Miyajima and then stopping at Himeji on the way home. There were many highlights but instead of writting about them I've opted (lazy I know!) to let the pictures tell the story. I've compiled a thumbnail view of 56 photos, you'll need to be logged on to view them (see more Western Honshu photos )
Iwakuni: Kintai-kyo bridge at twilghtIwakuni: Kintai-kyo bridge at twilght Matsue: One of the few original castles remainingMatsue: One of the few original castles remaining Matsue: View over Shinji-ko (lake)Matsue: View over Shinji-ko (lake) Miyajima: Western Japans biggest fireworksMiyajima: Western Japans biggest fireworks

Simons China trip

Simons trip to China.

Huang ShanHuang ShanLovers LocksLovers LocksZhongliu rice terracesZhongliu rice terracesAnd moreAnd moreLi River by GuilinLi River by GuilinOpera performerOpera performerGreat wall of ChinaGreat wall of ChinaTerracotta warriorsTerracotta warriors

Rain storm at Show Kinen Park

The same day we went to the Tachikawa Bosaikan we also visited the Showa Kinen Park with our Japanese class. This is a huge and impressive park which has many natural areas (from swamp to bonsai) and recreational areas (including water playground & mini golf).

Together as a group we got to go on the mini "train" transport (which Caleb didn't want to get off) and have traditional Japanese green tea/sweets, all compliments of the Japanese Class funding. The timing was impeccable as we watched a sudden torrential downpour over this lake from the air-conditioned comfort of the tearooms. This cooled the humid 33 degrees a little, with steamed vapourising from the hot ground.


What should have been just a simple 1 hour train trip south, turned into a day of train connection mayhem. Still we had a nice time.

Steeped in history, Kamakura was a seat of power 8 centuries ago. Many of the shrines (19) and temples (65 of them) date from this time and in season, the Hydrangeas are beautiful.

Hino Hydrangeas

In our Hino city (suburb of greater Tokyo if you like) there is a big hydrangea park. We went to visit but we were a little early to see the full blooms. I never realized that there is so much variation in these flowers.

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

On the same day we visited Meiji-jingu we also visited this garden, to see if the irises weren't further advanced in their bloom. Indeed they were.

I thoroughly enjoyed these gardens as there were so many different bridges and hidden valleys to explore.

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