it just goes on and on, my friends.
We just got back from 4 days in Shimoda, which is a beach town about 2 hours South of Tokyo by train. It was absolutely gorgeous and inspiring. I just finished Lost Japan by Alex Kerr, and one of the things he says early on, is “But nature, in Japan, used to be far more mysterious and fantastic, a sacred area that seemed surely inhabited by gods. In Shinto, there is a tradition of Kani no Yo, the “Age of the Gods”, when man was pure and the gods dwelled in hills and trees.” He argues that with the loss of the primeval forest due to logging and then replanting with homogeneous species that feeling has been lost, but I would claim that it hasn’t. We definitely experienced mysterious and fantastic nature, and scenes that have my mind racing with stories to write.
To say I took eleventy billion pictures would be an understatement. Here are a bunch of them, roughly sorted into categories, so you can skip if you get bored. 🙂
This is Ofuna Kannon, a HUGE statue on the side of a mountain. We saw it from the train and have to plan a trip to Ofuna specifically to see it.
This is a frog.
A store just outside the train station in Shimoda.
There’s a ropeway that takes you up to the top of a mountain. We love a good ropeway, so of course we took it.
An automated shrine/fortune dispenser in the rope way lobby. (We’ll get back to the rope way later, apparently I put these pictures in a weird order.)
The girls with little statue man. He showed up a lot around the city.
The camera got turned around, so we took a picture.
More pictures of Tiny and Z.
Doing a dance.
Lounging at the hotel. We stayed at the White Beach Hotel, which I highly recommend. We had a tatami room for the first 2 nights, and then they asked us to move into a room with a bed and the girls slept on the floor. (Long story why they asked us to move, but it included the owner bending over backwards to help an employee, so it was all good.) Both kinds of room were very comfortable.
Aha, here’s the rope way again. The view heading up.
The view from the top.
There’s a park at the top of the rope way with paths to hike and gorgeous views.
This is just from a walk around Shimoda.
Back up at the top of the rope way, we followed this sign. Who wouldn’t?
It led this way.
Prayers at the top of the mountain.
Discarded fortunes tied to a tree.
The following pictures are weird/awesome/funny things we saw around Shimoda. I don’t have explanations for most of them.
As we wandered through Shimoda on our first day, we came across a temple with a cemetery on one side, and shrines on the other. In front was this riverbed, that was completely crawling with crabs. All those little things that look like rocks starting about halfway back are actually crabs. ( The things that look like rocks at the front are rocks.) And there’s a blue and black butterfly in the middle.
There were crabs all over Shimoda, scuttling along the edges of the streets.
One of the shrines.
One section of the cemetery was further back in the woods, and one of the grave monuments had a hive of bees in its base.
This area of the cemetery was SO cool, so pretty and mysterious.
The river that fed out of the ocean had a boardwalk you could walk along, and on either side the river bank was teeming with crabs.
Where does the tunnel go?
Perry Street in Shimoda is a completely adorable street with a river running through it. (The street is named after Commander Perry, who opened Japan to the rest of the world. He landed in Shimoda.)
We told the girls that this was the jail.
Let’s take a brief break for a girl and her shadow.
Ohama beach at night. The beach was a 2 minute walk from the hotel, and was utterly gorgeous.
This sign was a bit sobering. We were near a mountain though…
Surf Patrol, training.
Miss Z enjoyed the beach quite a lot, she never wanted to leave. She loved being out in the water and actually tried her hand at boogie boarding. She did pretty well!
We call this man “The Nude Belgian”. He started out as “The Perplexed Belgian”, because he looked quite perplexed, but then he stood like this, holding his surfboard so, and, well, he looks nekkid. So forever more, he shall be the Nude Belgian.
More of the beach.
More of the boardwalk.
A crabby fellow.
We decided that this was a genie, having been let out of whatever was containing him. But he hadn’t shown up to the person who let him out yet, and he wasn’t going to for another few minutes, until the person had aaaaaaaalmost given up hope.
I didn’t zoom much on this picture, this spider was massive.
This was an empty shrine- so magical and full of story potential.
When farmers in the area have produce that isn’t pretty enough to sell to the grocery stores, they put them out on the side of the road in these little boxes with signs of how much they cost (quite cheap) and then you take what you want and leave money there.
Some silly girls.
On our last day, we went to the Shimoda floating Aquarium.
The aquarium is in a series of buildings connected by boardwalks.
As we walked back into town, we saw this cool little island connected to the coast by a bridge. There was a shrine at the top of it, hidden in the trees, but we didn’t get up to it, as walking around on the island with the girls was a bit anxiety inducing. But there’s a story on that island, don’t you think?