Thursday, November 21, 2013

A is for Apple - and Aomori II

This day Momo looked better, but still a bit tense as she was walked around the grounds of her doggy hotel.

From Sabishiro Beach we could see a Grumman E2C Hawkeye (airborne radar) practicing touch and goes out of Misawa Air Base.

Leaving Misawa where we had visited the aviation museum, we headed west toward the mountains and Lake Towada.   The weather was perfect and the pastoral landscapes lovely.

Pandabonium's up the hill album on Photobucket

Lake Towada is at the high point of the area's mountains which is 400 meters (1800 feet) above sea level.  Oirase stream empties the lake and as we entered Oirase Gorge the sky all but disappeared in the forest canopy.    The gorge is studded with waterfalls and a footpath runs some 14 km along the main stream.    We spent time walking and driving to see some of the falls and photograph them.  There was so much to see that we decided to skip canoeing or kayaking on the lake in the morning and come back to hike along the stream instead. 

Here are some pictures of Oirase Gorge from both days.

Pandabonium's Oirsase Gorge album on Photobucket

It is popular tourist destination - especially in fall when the leaves are turning colors. We saw groups of school children, Japanese tourists, some Chinese tourists, and a few young American families I assumed were from Misawa Air Base (not a bad place to be stationed, eh?).

K assured me this was the best way to get rid of the hiccups.

We had seen many signs in gorge cautioning "Watch for Falling Trees".  When we at last returned to the car, I noticed the huge tree right behind where K had parked.  Oh, my.

Don't look now...

While at Lake Towada, we stayed at Towada Prince Hotel which fronts the lake.  The breakfast buffet was expansive and excellent.  K had called ahead to alert them to my plant based eating habits for dinner.  Although they weren't terribly creative, they did try to please, and served up some yummy mountain veggies, some of which I'd never tried before.

The Prince at Lake Towada

The room was nice and was even equipped with a "teru teru bōzu" (shine shine monk) - a simple doll that resembles a ghost.   A tradition started by farmers in the Edo Era, teru refers to sunshine and bōzu to a Buddhist monk.  The head of the doll is smooth, resembling the shaved head of a monk.  If you hang it in your window it will prevent or stop rainy weather. ;)     Children hang them to wish for good weather when a school excursion is coming up.  Good item to have on vacation.
K with teru teru bōzu
Meanwhile, back at the doggie hotel at Lake Hinuma, Momo was finally looking happy on her third day. 

Last installment coming up: Lake Towada.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Sandscraper said...

I miss my time spent in Japan, especially in the mountains. I know that I have to plan a return trip, someday soon before this old body betrays me.

Glad to see that you two are enjoying life.

Pandabonium said...

We're looking forward to your visit, Sandscraper.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks for the second message Sandscraper. If I ever decide to do FB, I'll search as suggested.