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I left Matsuzaki by Tokai express bus at 13:01 and arrived at Izukyu Shimoda Station at 13:45. Because I had an appointment with a staff of Shimoda Ropeway, I just walked around it to take some pictures and met him for an interview.
Walk right to the front road from Shimoda Station, and Shimoda Ropeway is just right there. This ropeway leads you to the Mt. Nesugata, if literally translated, the mountain that looks like someone lying down, and indeed it did.
He gave me brochures and a promotion DVD.
On Mt. Nesgata is Nesugata Nature Park, where you can see flowers all the year around, Buddist statue “Aizen-Myoo” for love, babies and safe delivery and other wishes, and Photo Memorial Hall. Sounds good to me !＾＾
I took gondola which took not more than five minutes to the top. Walking through the gift shop, I stepped on the observation deck and found a spectacular view ! From the Nesugata Nature Park, you can see the city of Shimoda, Shimoda port, Izu Seven Islands, and magnificent mountains of Amagi. Walking along the walkway, I found some observation decks. Gracious to us tourists, isn’t it ? I dropped at every deck, taking pictures, and a little rest. Now, please see what I saw there.
I strolled farther, choosing the trails to “Aizen-Myoo-do”. Yellow flowers along the pathway. In about 20 minutes from the ropeway station, I passed Photo Memorial Hall and found a small red architecture. Beside it are hundreds of Jizo statues of 800 years ago. Please click on the middle picture to enlarge. Can you see statues with red aprons ? I pressed my hands together before them and stood in front of the red room. Aizen-Myoo was right there. Unsmiling but somehow affectionate and sympathetic. I closed my eyes to say thank you for everything in my mind.
On my way back to the ropeway station, I found a cannon beside the pathway. To that moment, I had completely forgotten that Shimoda is a city of history. This is the watch-deck for black ships of Commodore Perry. Peaceful nature park harmonized with old history. What a drastic wedding !
When you visit Shimoda, be sure to find Shimoda Ropeway and get this beautiful city and the wide open sea all to your self !
Next time, I’ll report one of the most adorable animals.
Good day !＾＾
Access from Izukyu Shimoda Station ： 1 minute on foot
Gondola ticket ： ¥1000 for adults / ¥500 for children ( round trip )
Open ： 9:00 – 17:00 ( 9:00 – 17:15 in July and August )
About 3 minutes to Nesugata Nature Park ※Gondola leaves every 10 or 15 minutes
“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English website for sightseeing, always with you ! ＾＾
This time, I went 80 km away from my city for a spectacular view that takes the place of cherry blossoms. I don’t mean I like flowers especially, but in Shizuoka, somehow they boast flowers in major sightseeing spots.
Look at this magnificent view with…with gondola again ^^;
This is Panorama Park, located on the top of Mt. Katsuragi in Izunokuni City.
And you know what? This gondola is longer and higher and smaller than that of Nihondaira, with all conditions that scare me more…7-minute ride and 1800m long to the height of 452m. But remember, anytime you go up a steep mountain, you can find a fabulous view, and that word never betrayed me! It provides 360-degree panoramic views to everyone up there! The sea, the sky, mountains, cities, rivers and voices of every spirit! Listen to it, and you will find another yourself.
I’ll show you some pics that I saw at Panorama Park. I know I can’t express what I felt there enough no matter how many words I try to make. And I know pictures won’t tell sufficiently.
Seeing is believing!
Now, go for it and find it by yourself!
Telling the truth, I visited Panorama Park for the seasonal event, “Azalea Festival”. Azalea is a flower designated as that of Shizuoka Prefecture. Imagine 35000 trees of azalea on the hillside! If only they had been in full bloom…when I was there to see azaleas, they opened up just around two-out-of-ten because of unstable weather. But spring has come for sure, as the butterfly in the picture declares. ^^
Here, you can admire flowers all year round. Azaleas in spring, hydrangeas in summer, crimson maple leaves in autumn, plum blossoms and camellias in winter.
Walking along the promenade, you can see not only flowers but also other things such as a small Shinto shrine, the statue of Yoritomo Minamoto, a gift shop, athletic play-set and a snack shop. Oh, and I must say that there is an “Ashi-yu”, a hot-spring footbath, that anyone can enjoy free of charge. Soak your feet in the spectacular view!
Now, time for gourmet!
This time, I tried two orders. From the left, Konjac with sweet miso sauce and Rice-Dumpling with salty-sweet sauce.
I don’t say they took me to the symphonic world but each of them surely took me to the good old days. Bite the rice dumpling and feel the simplicity and profound sweetness of sticky rice. Taste the sweet miso sauce to go through our tradition.
We say “cuisine tells its culture”.
I would recommend you to take a bite of local snack wherever you go, not hamburgers, because taste remains in your memories.
Have a good trip!
Izunokuni Panorama Park
From JR Mishima Station ⇒ IzuNagaoka Station by IzuHakone Railway (20 minutes) ⇒ Izunokuni City Hall by bus ⇒ 1-minute walk to Panorama Park
※Direct bus available from Shinjuku （Please get it off at Nagaoka-Onsen 長岡温泉）
Ropeway charge ¥ 620 for one-way / ¥1220 for round-trip (*as of April 11, 2010)
Taken away from Nihondaira, on my way to Mt. Kuno, I could do nothing but hold on to the handrail in the Gondola. Five-minute ride with Ms gondola-guide for the distance of 1065 meters between mountains. Carefully not to look down, I tried some pictures. See the magnificent panorama of Suruga Bay? It boasts as the deepest bay in Japan and accordingly is marvelously abundant in fishes that we can always enjoy them at dinner^^
Now, I’m getting to Mt. Kuno where a very famous man is believed to have been entombed at rest for about 400 years. Who is it? Read it through and find it out!
This is the guideboard of Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. Recognize the tiny gondola in the map that took me here? You have choices to get here, to take the gondola as I did, or to climb up 1159 stairsteps all the way from the foot of the mountain. He is enshrined at the top of Toshogu. Go on to the next article ^^
Be sure to purify yourself by washing your hands and mouth anytime you step in the site of Shinto shrines.
Each step is a little bit high. Please be careful in walking up or down the stairs.
Now, this is the beauty of Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. The man enshrined here said as his last word.
“Life is just like walking an unlimited way with a heavy load and you need not hurry. You never feel insufficiency if you only take it for granted. In case you want something, try to remember the old poor days. Mercy makes tranquility, anger causes adversary. You will get harmed as long as you don’t know how it is to be defeated. You blame yourself, not somebody else. Less is, in almost all cases, better than more.”
His name is Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Tycoon of Tokugawa Shogunate. He ended the Age of provincial wars to rule all of Japan and opened new political system, that is, the beginning of Edo Period. Ever heard of him? I’ll bet all JAPANESE know ^^v
You can read about the history of Kunozan Tosyogu Shrine through this Official Homepage.
Now, let’s go up to the highest point of the Shrine. The left sided pic is the very mausoleum of Iyaesu Tokugawa. It is believed that his body was carried away to Nikko Toshogu Shrine, according to his will, one year after he was buried here, to be enshrined with the name “Tosho-Daigongen”, a kind of god. Now, is it true? Was his body really transferred after the period of one year? Or they moved just his soul, without his body? Various theories have been crossed each other but never reached to a confirmed conclusion so far. Wanna find it out? Go ahead ^^
Japanese like to wish something with coins. Some throw coins to the water, others put them on the stone. Here, I came across a unique wishing form, I would call, “a wishing tree”. See many silver-like spots on the tree in the right-sided picture? This tree is worshipped as a “Money Tree” and people put, actually thrust coins into the huge but pitiful tree. I also tried it for writing an article about this, only to drop the coin to the ground because the bark of tree was too hard!
Who is next to try to stick to it?
Information about Kunozan Toshogu Shrine ※As of April 18, 2010
From Nihondaira・・・5 minutes by Nihondaira Ropeway
From JR Shizuoka Station・・・40 minutes by Shizutetsu Justline
From JR Shimizu Station・・・40 minutes by Shizutetsu Justline
Admission ¥500 (or ¥800 with museum) for adults / ¥200 (or ¥300) for children
¥550 for one-way / ¥1,000 for round-trip
“Shizuoka Guide” is our official English blog website for events & sightseeing. Always with you ! ＾＾
My first report shall be begun with my favorite and adorable place, I presume.
That is "Nihondaira", once chosen as the first-rate sightseeing spot out of the best 100 sites in Japan.
With the blessing of gods and goddesses, it was so beautiful when I visited there. No wonder I felt so happy and refreshed standing on its top.
Now let me show you some pics so that you can know about Nihondaira visually for yourself.
First picture is the one taken in front of the gate to the observation deck. See many cars and a tour bus? The parking lot is wide enough but full of buses and cars for tourists every weekend. The building is a souvenir shop with a good restaurant that serves local specialties. Actually, there are three souvenir shops around of about the same size and you will need so much time to go see about all shops and restaurants. Behind the building are Nihondaira-digital-tower and three TV towers.
Now, let’s go up to the observation deck. The most distinguished and outstanding viewpoint is it in the picture. Mt. Fuji and Shimizu Port! Can you recognize the parasol-like “cap cloud” on the top of Mt. Fuji? Perceptive and experienced early people found it would be rain when they saw such clouds. Is it scientifically proved? I don’t know precisely but actually it became rain that night. There are various kinds among cap clouds and I’ll tell you when I get these pics.
I wish I could show you the scenery from other viewpoints…then you could look over exclusive Shizuoka city and spectacular Suruga Bay…maybe next time ^^
This is the central souvenir shop and restaurant, and also the gate of Nihondaira Ropeway. Do not care about the man enjoying coffee. Maybe he is in the midst of daydreaming. Leave it alone now. Okay, in front of the building, there are several small snack stands serving their original feast such as ice-cream with Wasabi, Shirasu whitebait or Green Tea - any of these are specialties of Shizuoka - , fresh strawberry juice - also very popular in Shizuoka - , and fried rice dumplings mixed with “Sakura shrimp”, the cherry-blossom-colored shrimp that the fishery industry is confined only to Suruga Bay. You can have even unique Green Tea “Taiyaki”, the fish-shaped snack stuffed with sweet bean-paste. I’ll show you all the local special goodies in Shizuoka as the Gourmet Feature Report someday.
Now, time to leave Nihondaira for the next destination, Mt.Kuno. The gondola is coming to pick me up, though I’m no good at sitting or standing in the air.
Anyway, I’ll report all about Kuno next time.