Thursday, May 21, 2009


Itsumi and I took an overnight trip to Inubo-zaki, the eastern-most point on Japan's main islands. To get there we took several trains, ending on this tiny one-car train, a one-man operation. Some of the stations where this train stopped did not even have a ticket taker, and instead the driver took the fare.
We got off at Inubo-zaki, a small and rustic-looking station that would look more appropriate in South America rather than in Japan.

We checked into our ryokan, or traditional hotel, and penguins greeted us at the door! I think they are part of a cooperative project with the marine park next door.
Our hotel was right above the lighthouse, on the eastern-most point of Inubo-zaki. From here, you can see 330 degrees of ocean, and only 30 degrees of land.
We took an evening walk on the beach before soaking in the hotel's hot springs.
On the beach we found a washed-up tire, covered with living baby shellfish! I don't think they survived though, because they had washed up in the tide.
The sand made beautiful patterns on the beach.
We got up at 4:30 a.m. to watch the sunrise over this eastern-most point. After New Zealand and Australia, it is one of the first sunrises in the world. It was beautiful! I took these pictures from the terrace of our hotel.
Inubo-zaki seemed to be a bit warmer than Tokyo, with palm trees and these cacti, which remind me of the prickly pear cactus from the American Southwest and Mexico.

Below are carp-shaped flags in honor of Children's Day, celebrated on May 5 in Japan.
From our hotel, we took a hike to Inubo-zaki's observation tower, passing the tiny train as it trundled past vegetable fields.

We saw some farmland from the observation tower, but mostly we saw 330 degrees of Pacific Ocean!
And a wind farm
And ocean

From here it is possible to see a mountain in the Phillippines, using a telescope. We couldn't see it, but in the photo you can read the katakana word for Phillippines, which is pronounced hu-i-li-pi-n. (I can read this now!)
Japan has vending machines everywhere, even ice cream vending machines!
An old-fashioned wheelbarrow
Inubo-zaki has the largest and most delicious sushi I've ever seen! Usually sushi is eaten in one bite, but it would be impossible to do that here!

On the way back to Tokyo, we stopped at the Kameido Tenjin Shrine, which is famous for its wisteria blossoms.
Wisteria blossoms

There are many beautiful places just a short trip from Tokyo!

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