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A morning mission to Takao-san

Takao-san is a popular mountain to the west of Tokyo with a number of hiking tracks and Yakuoin temple, and I’d never been out there.  This is surprising given that it’s only an hour from Tokyo and easy to get to, quick to climb, and (supposedly) has views across to Fuji-san.  I think what had deterred me from visiting previously was rumours of large crowds and queues of people lining up to get to the summit. (more…)

Old Edo streetscape survives in Kawagoe

Kawagoe promotes itself as “Little Edo”, with a streetscape that lets us imagine what a town in the Edo period might have looked like.  One key stretch of the main street even comes without power lines, which are so often a blight on the Japanese cityscape.  This might sound like only a small attention to detail, but it is noticeable way of making the streetscape so much more enjoyable.  If only cars were removed from the main historical street as well! (more…)

Summer excursion to Kamakura & Yokohama

My sister Cathy was visiting Japan for nearly a week, and we had a great time catching up in Tokyo while she was here.  Unfortunately, she’s already gone home to Australia, but on Sunday, we had a really fun, although rather hot, summer’s day exploring a few sites in Kamakura, followed by Yokohama for dinner.  (more…)

Rambling around the Kamakura Alps

Japan has the Kita (North) Alps, the Minami (South) Alps, and, according to my Japanese language guidebook called “Tokyo One Day Hiking”, also has the Kamakura Alps.  Of course, they’re only about 100 or so metres above sea level, and civilisation almost reaches their peaks.  (more…)

Sugimotodera

Sugimotodera, the oldest temple in Kamakura. (more…)