Nara – Kōbe – Himeji (E)

Five days immersed in Kyotos culture were not enough, so we continued to Nara. Amused we watched everyone feeding the tame deer in the park. The major sightseeing spot in Nara is the gigantic Tōdai-ji featuring the Daibutsu (big Buddah). Wow this one is indeed big. Almost beeing 15m tall, (14.98m precisely), it is spectacular. Plain crazy what the japanese built in thr early days!

Along our journey heading to Shikoku we visited the harbour city Kobe and the Himeji-castle.

Kyoto (E)

We made it to Kyoto. This city boasts with no less than 17 (!) Unesco world heritage sites and countless temples and shrines. Culture was the name of the game! During our 5 day visit we visited Nijō-jō, a castle built in 1603. Or the Kiyomizu-dera temple with its enormous veranda, Chion-in (another temple) with the largest bell of Japan (weighing colossal 70 tons), the Ninna-ji temple featuring a five-story Pagoda and the Fushimi-Inari Taisha (Shintō Shrine) with its myriads of orange Torii (gates). Furthermore we visited the famous bamboo forest of Arashiyama and admired the the modern train station of Kyoto.

Nagoya (E)

We left the Alps earlier than planned due to Typhoon ‘Etau’. The one-week forecast was terrible. So we continued to Nagoya. The city streets were cleared on the day the typhoon striked, not many were keen to met the weather. The next evening we met Yasuko and Yoshi for dinner, which we met in Tokachi-Onsen after the Daisetsuzan Traverse. The food was delicious but of secondary importance – meeting them was the highlight. We have been delighted and will remember the evening fondly for a long time.
The next day we mostly dwelled in the Nagoya City Science Museum. Like kids we did shadow plays and had a blast looking at ourselves in the distorting mirrors ☺.

Shirouma-Dake to Ōgisawa

Finally we made it to the Japanese Alps! From Hakuba we got to Sarukura from where we started a 4 day hut-hike through the Northern Alps. Passing Daisekkei (lit. means grand snow valley) we made ascent on the first day and were climbing 3 of the 100 most famous mountains (Shirouma-Dake 2932m, Goryū-Dake 2814m and Kashimayariga-Dake 2889m) during the next 3 days while staying in mountain huts over night. Except for the second day, sight was mostly covered and it was raining occasionally. The trek length was 38.4 km and the highest point around 2900m.
(Names of the huts: Hakuba-Sanso, Karamatsu-dake Choujou-Sanso, Kiretto-Goya)