Japan, Nature, Otawara & Nasu (local area)

Summer & Hydrangea

Summer in this area is hot and humid, and nothing says summer like Hydrangeas (Ajisai in Japanese) here.  There are so many in the lane-ways and parks around the town.  All colors, and sizes and shapes.  Its incredibly pretty.  I read somewhere there are over 70 different types of Hydrangea, we certainly have a lot of them here.. The colors…

Continue Reading

Nature, Otawara & Nasu (local area)

Late Spring

I love this time of year, end of spring, beginnings of summer.  Maybe the weather isn’t so stable, but on the fine days its lovely to walk or cycle around, lots of color and everything is lush and green.. Nature at its best.  I usually cycle around on the weekend doing my shopping and often stop to take a picture…

Continue Reading

Japan, Nature, Travelling Japan

Kairakuen & Plum Blossom

Kairakuen in the city of Mito, in Iberaki prefecture is famous for its park, which is one of the top three Japanese gardens. The park, called Kairakuen is known specifically for its more than three thousand plum trees. The high interest in Plum is that it signals the end of winter and the beginning or Cherry Blossom season.  Mito has a Plum Festival…

Continue Reading

Japan, Nature, Temples & Shrines, Travelling Japan

To No Hetsuri – Cliff Towers by the river

To No Hetsuri literally means cliffs shaped like towers. The popular sightseeing spot near Shimogo in Fukushima prefecture is a naturally created valley, where the erosion from wind, rain and water have shaped the rocks along the Ōkawa river. The rocks or “towers” have been assigned names like Eagle Tower, Hawk Tower, Lion Tower, House Tower, Turret Tower, Nine-ring Tower, Elephant Tower,…

Continue Reading

Japan, Nature, Onsen, Travelling Japan

Zao – Skiing, Onsen & Snow Monsters

 Zao Onsen Ski Resort is about a 3 hour drive north of Nasu in Yamagata Prefecture actually on the Yamagata-Miyagi prefecture border, centered on the Zao Mountain range of the same name.   The area is well known for its huge crater lake and amazing hiking trails and mountain plants, as well as stunning views of the region.  There are different attractions…

Continue Reading

Japan, Nature, Otawara & Nasu (local area)

Japanese Skunk Cabbage or Zen plant

Japanese Skunk Cabbage is also known as the Zen plant because it looks like a hooded monk praying, at least that’s what I gather. As its name suggests it is allegedly a smelly plant, although I couldn’t smell anything but I didn’t get too close.  But what is really interesting is it is one of only a few plants able to regulate its own temperature. …

Continue Reading

Nature, Otawara & Nasu (local area), Tochigi Prefecture

Nasu Autumn

Autumn in Japan is spectacular and Nasu Autumn is right up there with the best areas.   These are just a few photos from last weekend in Otawara & the Nasu Highland area.  Like Cherry Blossom time, but in reverse, you can track the color change as it moves down the country in the Autumn months. This was early November…

Continue Reading

Nature, Otawara & Nasu (local area)

Katakuri or Dogtooth Violet

Today I went for a bike ride to Nogi shrine, and unexpectedly got into a “Japanese” conversation with a lovely lady who lived near by. The result of which was an introduction to Katakuri..  Which is a beautiful; woodland flower that grows wild in the forest here… What I understood, was you can eat it, and its either long or…

Continue Reading