Looking down over Hibara Lake from the top of the mountain. We’d eventually drive our way down and pass the lake on our way to southern Fukushima. There were actually people out fishing in the rain and on the road leading to the lake, people selling giant cabbage and other vegetables, offering free mushroom soup as service for anyone who stopped to buy something. 

Looking down over Hibara Lake from the top of the mountain. We’d eventually drive our way down and pass the lake on our way to southern Fukushima. There were actually people out fishing in the rain and on the road leading to the lake, people selling giant cabbage and other vegetables, offering free mushroom soup as service for anyone who stopped to buy something. 

 We were up about 1900 m (6000 or so feet) and could see clouds moving over the mountains. 

 We were up about 1900 m (6000 or so feet) and could see clouds moving over the mountains. 

bergamotbandit:

I was smitten with these wildflowers I always passed on my drives to my mountain schools in Nishikadogawa, so I stopped to take a few pictures. The little things I get to experience each day here are so overwhelmingly beautiful.

It’s been raining on and off for a few days but it finally cleared up a bit. The scenery in the countryside can be really beautiful

It’s been raining on and off for a few days but it finally cleared up a bit. The scenery in the countryside can be really beautiful

View from the top of 福満虚空蔵尊圓藏寺 in Yanaizu, Fukushima. Earlier that day, I had gone to the Saito Kiyoshi art museum nearby and it’s clear how the scenery in this part of the prefecture inspired his paintings. 

View from the top of 福満虚空蔵尊圓藏寺 in Yanaizu, Fukushima. Earlier that day, I had gone to the Saito Kiyoshi art museum nearby and it’s clear how the scenery in this part of the prefecture inspired his paintings. 

The strangest scarecrows at the Nunobiki Wind Farm. 

The view of lake inawashiro

The view of lake inawashiro

I went hiking on the Happodai trail near Mount Bandai. Between driving up winding roads and then hiking, it was cool to actually see just how far up I was. The town outside the mountain near Lake Inawashiro is really picturesque, it’s quiet and I love driving through it. 
The whole day had been cloudy but the sun finally came out and I got to see this view. Totally should have worn better shoes though..
People had on serious hiking gear and I looked like I was about to take a stroll through a park with no mud (or bears)

I went hiking on the Happodai trail near Mount Bandai. Between driving up winding roads and then hiking, it was cool to actually see just how far up I was. The town outside the mountain near Lake Inawashiro is really picturesque, it’s quiet and I love driving through it.
The whole day had been cloudy but the sun finally came out and I got to see this view. Totally should have worn better shoes though..
People had on serious hiking gear and I looked like I was about to take a stroll through a park with no mud (or bears)

iwaki-iwaki:

Photo slide shows of Fukushima. 

ookawauoten:

今朝の四倉海岸です。
見た目よりも良い波でした。

The coast of Iwaki

ookawauoten:

今朝の四倉海岸です。
見た目よりも良い波でした。

The coast of Iwaki

Xiangshan Mountain

As it turns out, we started the climb at the end, not the beginning. We had been searching for the entrance for a while but the path up Xiangshan is actually marked with large stone elephants.

As it turns out, we started the climb at the end, not the beginning. We had been searching for the entrance for a while but the path up Xiangshan is actually marked with large stone elephants.

Taipei Day 2

This is the rainy season in Taiwan and while it said heavy rain for all 3 days we were there, we got lucky and just had overcast. On our 2nd day, we weren’t sure how long the clear weather would last so we decided to climb Xiangshan Mountain (象山). There are a lot of hiking trails around the city but this is part of the famous Four Beasts Mountains (四獸山) and apparently the easiest. 

image

image

About to start our climb up

image

image

At the top. This mountain is famous for its view of the city. The view would have been better if it were sunny out but the mist felt good climbing up. It felt so tropical going from the Fukushima countryside, it had been a while since I walked around in such humid weather. 

The climb up was pretty tough but the climb down was a bit worse. Super steep, the mist made the steps slippery. Halfway down we saw stray dogs with bites of fur missing from fights and were careful to go around them. Stray dogs didn’t seem as out of place as random shacks in the mountains. I didn’t expect to see people living there but I guess they do

image

Hanami season is coming soon and around the prefecture, flowers are starting to bloom. The rice fields have been cleaned up and farmers have started planting. It’s hard not to be in a good mood after winter which, in Japan at least, is just depressing. I went for a drive to Ibaraki prefecture to see if the cherry blossoms are starting to come out. They’re nearly there. From far away the trees sort of look a bit pink but it’s still a week or so too soon. Daffodils and wild flowers are everywhere though. I went to Taiwan last week and when I came back my town seemed so much brighter than the way I left it.

It’s been cold though which I’m guessing is the last of winter weather. The Japanese call it 寒の戻り, return of the cold. It actually snowed a bit on Saturday but I’m hoping that’s the last of it. I’m ready for warmer weather. 

Trying not to slip down the side of Elephant Mountain

Trying not to slip down the side of Elephant Mountain