Tag Archives: exploring

Another Walk – Unexpected Festivities

On Tuesday, we went for another walk. It was the last day of our holidays, and we made it a pretty interesting walk. We walked in an area we’ve never been to before, and had a very good time with some festival food.

Here, we walked down a street we’ve never been to before. As someone who likes exploring, this was all very interesting to me.

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We left the hilly area and entered the Sagami plain area of Kanagawa. It’s pretty flat.

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Welcome to Samukawa! I’d been there before, but not around Samukawa Station. Only Miyayama Station.

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The road approaching Samukawa Shrine. I was there once before, and it was somewhat busy. However, it’s still the New Year period. What would we see?

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Surprise! Ume blossoms! That’s three weeks early. It’s been a warm winter so far.

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Samukawa Shrine! That’s a very big torii, or shrine gate. The traffic was incredible here.

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Here’s the bridge and gate entering the shrine grounds. The bridge was actually quite steeply arched.

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On the ground is part of the original torii. On the left is a lantern.

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It’s busy. Much busier than I’d seen before.

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Lots of food stalls here. Looks like we found where we’re getting lunch.

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Amazing! This is the inner gate into the shrine. And it’s so crowded.

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A closeup of the gate. Very colourful.

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You can see the shrine through the gate. And that’s a big paper lantern.

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The main hall of the shrine. There’s a lot of gold there, actually. In the shrine grounds, there were probably several hundred people.

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Another shrine building. You could buy many things there.

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People tying omikuji (fortunes) to ropes.

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Time for lunch! With it being like a festival, and so many food stalls, I had some very typical festival food. This was my frank.

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And jagabata, or potatoes with butter. Delicious!

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After eating, we starting going home. Here is the same river we saw the day before, the Megujiri River. Very rural in this area.

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Some old farm buildings with the Tanzawa Mountains in the background.

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It was quite the walk. It was actually my third longest walk ever at 18.97 km. I had blisters on the bottom of both big toes. It was getting difficult to walk at the end.

Walks like this are great. We encountered something unexpected, a festival-like atmosphere at a famous shrine. With less than three months to go in Japan, I think we may take a few more of these walks and discover some new things or visit familiar places.

Have you ever gone for a walk or drive and found something unexpected?

A Journey on Foot – Exploring

I love fantasy novels. One of the things I love about them is the discovery and exploration of a new world. You get to see exotic locations, unique cultures, and amazing landscapes. But I don’t live in a fantasy world. I’m in the real world. But that doesn’t mean I can’t explore.

On Monday, we went for a long walk. A 17.37 km walk, to be exact. We walked from our home, all the way to the western edge of the city of Fujisawa, and back. We saw some new things, tried a new restaurant, and went over familiar territory, as well.

First, we found a new park. It was actually along a route we’ve walked before. It just opened.

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There’s a small hill on the northern end of the park. This is the view. Kind of underwhelming, though. And it is winter, so the lack of greenery is to be expected.

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We saw several Shinkansen, or bullet trains pass overhead near the western edge of our walk. This one was heading toward Shin-Yokohama. That’s the front.

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The middle.

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And the end.

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The above three pictures were taken from a new bridge called Yoda Oohashi (or Yoda Big Bridge). It went over the Megujiri River, which you can see below.

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We got off the bridge, and you can see it below.

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We crossed back over the river, but another bridge. Below, you can see the new bridge.

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It was around noon, and we were hungry. We found an Indian restaurant, and decided to try it. Below, these are some deep fried onions with some curry flavour. They were delicious.

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Our meal came! The naan was huge. I chose the beef curry, and it also came with keema curry. It was a big lunch, and we had to burn that off.

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Here’s the outside of the restaurant. It’s actually a chain, so if you find Kabab House in Kanagawa, give it a try.

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On our way back, we took a familiar route that went through Keio University. Before the university, though, we saw some cows. Moo.

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Looking back, we tried to see the mountains. The tallest peak is Mt. Oyama, which we climbed back in October. However, it was quite hazy due to the warm weather. Mt. Fuji was not easy to see that day.

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And a look forward to where we were going. A lot of our walk was in a rural area. Quite nice to walk in the countryside.

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We made it home, tired, but feeling good. But this was only one day of walking. We also walked yesterday. That’s for another post.

Do you like exploring areas near your home? Let me know in the comments below.

Exploring Canada – Stony Plain, Alberta

I’d like to introduce you to a new feature, Exploring.  In this series, I’ll introduce you to a different place through videos and a few statistics.  Some of them will be places I’ve been, others will be places I’d like to go, or even some places that I don’t want to go to.  I decided to start this because of my interest in geography and exploration.  So, please enjoy these places.

For the first place, I want to introduce you to Stony Plain, Alberta in Canada.  This is my sort-of hometown.  I lived there from age 9 to 18.  When I moved there in 1986, the population was 5,400.  In the 2011 census, it had 15,051 people, a huge increase in population.

Stony Plain is near the city of Edmonton, which is where much of my family lives.  The town is famous for its murals, and it has many parks.  Many of my old high school classmates still live there.  Take a look at the video (surprisingly, it’s hosted by Terry Bradshaw).

Here’s a map of Stony Plain via Google Maps.

Desire to Explore

One of my hobbies, which I haven’t had much time for lately, is exploring.  I like going to new places and just looking around.  Japan has no shortage of places to explore.

My home country of Canada is huge.  Exploring there would take a lifetime, there are so many places to see.  One thing that my wife and I would like to do is drive around the country and explore as much as we can.  Not just the big cities, but also small towns.  Every place has something to offer, I think.

But as you know, I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy.  One thing that fantasy provides is a new world to explore.  I’m currently in Westeros, but I was in Discworld before that.  In science fiction, you can explore a whole galaxy or at least part of a galaxy.  I was recently reading a book that went to many planets.  Imagine exploring Ringworld, the land surface being millions of Earths in size.

Back in reality, I love exploring both urban and rural areas.  I love the beach, the mountains, river valleys, and islands.  I like wandering down alleys, finding hidden spots, and visiting famous places.  I just want to see everything.

Where would you like to explore if you had a lot of time?

What’s Around the Corner?

I love to explore.  In recent years, one of my hobbies has been walking.  But not for the sake of walking.  I walk to explore new places.  I often pick somewhere not so far from my home and decide to see what’s there.  Sometimes, I’m surprised.

Beautiful garden at Hasedera temple in Kamakura.
Beautiful garden at Hasedera temple in Kamakura.

Sometimes, I go to places I’ve been to before and find something new.  A couple weeks ago, I was in Kamakura with a friend, and we visited Hasedera, which is probably my favourite temple in the city.  There was one gate open that I’d never gone through before.  It had always been closed.  The picture above is what I saw.  I had no idea.  It was a wonderful surprise.

Another time, I went to Keio University with my family.  It’s not far from where we live, and it’s a pretty famous university.  Next to the campus is a large bamboo forest.  Walking through the forest is incredible.  Being surrounded by the tall bamboo was like being transported to another time.

In Kamakura, there’s an often overlooked shrine that’s near the much more popular Zeniarai Benzaiten, a shrine where you can wash your money.  This lesser-known shrine, Sasuke Inari Shrine, evokes an image of traditional Japan.

Many red gates lead up the steps to Sasuke Inari Shrine.
Many red gates lead up the steps to Sasuke Inari Shrine.

An incredibly large number of red torii gates arch over the path leading up to the shrine.  There are occasional fox statues on either side of the path welcoming visitors.  For those of you who enjoy stories of ninja, the name of this shrine, as well as the neighbourhood, is shared by a famous ninja, Sasuke.  In fact, this area has an interesting story.  During the Kamakura Period, back when Kamakura was the capital of Japan and the seat of government for the Shogun, this valley was a kind of hidden village.  There was only one way in, so it was very well-protected.  It’s said that this village was the home to the predecessors of the ninja.  It’s a fascinating valley.

I want to do some more exploring.  It’s like being in my own little epic fantasy story.  There are so many places to see and so little time.  I wonder what I’ll discover next.