Yokohama – Xmas 2012

Here is today’s Xmas 2012 sunset:


Merry Christmas wherever you may be 🙂



Kyu-Furukawa Teien

At the Northern end of the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, near Komagome station, is Kyu-Furukawa Teien house and gardens. The house was built in 1917 by Josiah Conder, a British architect who worked in Japan and a big influence on Japanese architecture, and has an English style rose garden. Below that, is a Japanese garden laid out by a famous designer from Kyoto. After all that was razed during the war and the subsequent building frenzy of the 1960s and 70s, it’s nice to see that some old buildings remain.

This is the approach down to the Japanese garden:

Kyu 1

Admiring the Autumn colours:

Kyu 2

There is a small lake (pond?) at the centre of the garden:

Kyu 3 Kyu 4 Kyu 5

Autumn berries:

Kyu 9

The house:

Kyu 7

Kyu 10

And rose garden:

Kyu 6

Kyu 8

Mt Takao

On the western edge of Tokyo city there is an oasis of greenery amoung the grey: Mt Takao. A sacred mountain for over 1000 years, it’s amazing that an area with a network of hiking trails through wooded slopes lies within metropolitan Tokyo. It was awarded 3-stars in the Japan Michelin guide and apparently holds the Guinness record for the most climbed mountain in the world.

Unfortunately, when we went last weekend, it seemed they all decided to come at once. As the cable-car more resembled Shinjuku station, we joined the crowds shuffling up the hill:

Luckily, there were some jizo statues to keep watch over everyone:

Now that the haze of summer has started to clear, there are some great views back over Tokyo along the way:

On the way to the top of the mountain is the temple Yakuoin.  The sacred deities associated with the temple are tengus which have either long noses or beaks:

I’m not sure who this little guy is:

The main hall of Yakuoin:

The temple is richly decorated and colourful:

Temple priest. They blow horns made of giant conch shells that echo around the mountain:

Around a smaller out-building of the temple are a series of small jizo statues. If you can manage to place a 5-yen coin on the heads of all of them you will have good luck:

Although it can get a bit tricky:

Of course, the real reason for the hordes of walkers is the autumn leaves (and the fact it was on TV that week). They really are quite spectacular:

And another view from the top across Tokyo:

Mt Jinba Wildflowers

Here are some photos from a hike we did to Mt Jinba, out near Mt Takao on the very western edge of Tokyo. The hike we did was from 小仏 (Kobotoke) to 陣馬山 (Mt Jinba), around 14 kilometers. Once you get to the top of the peak it’s quite a nice walk along the ridge between the two mountains (around 800m). It’s actually the border between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture so you straddle the two as you walk.

Summer wildflowers:

Wildflower with insect:

Wildflower with wasp: