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shikoku – road trip around the underrated island

Golden Week 2015! Time for another road trip to the south.
Until now Sascha and me only shortly passed through Shikoku. It looked really nice so we decided to spend some more time on the not so famous island.
Because of the long distance we spend one night at Mikawa Bay on a parking space next to the sea. Very calm and with a nice view to some island.
Next morning we drove to Awaji island, passing the famous Onaruto Bridge from where you can see whirlpools created by mixing the Japanese inland’s sea with the open ocean. Maybe it’s more impressive if you take the boat-sightseeing tour.
But when seeing the coastline of Awaji island we decide to stay one day and thanks to Google Maps we did not only find a nice beach, but as well a campsite (Fukiagehama Camping Ground). The owners were really friendly, happy about our minor Japanese skills and we could choose any space on the campsite.
After checking the area, where mainly onions are planted, and a nice breakfast on the beach on the next morning, we continued our journey to Shikoku.

There, first stop was Mt Tsurugi – be aware if you come by car – the roads are verryyyy adventurous. Steep, narrow, old serpentine roads up the mountain. We met some friends at the lift station and spend the night on the parking area, to be early for the hike on the next morning. After a 4hours hike (you can shorten it by taken the lift) we enjoyed a beautiful view over the landscape – but we had to share it with a bunch of people due to golden week travel time.
Being in the mountains already we drove to Iya Valley the next day. Again winding roads along river gorges and through old, small towns, ending up at a gorgeous onsen! You have to go by cable car 200 meters down to enjoy the bath next to the river. Worth the travel time 🙂
Next stop: Beach! Driving along the beautiful Shimantogowa including some stops for lunch at the river, we ended up at the sea side of Shikoku in the south-west. The beaches in Futami as well as on Tosashimizu are quite famous for nice waves. Even so the weather was bad on the first day it was crowded by Surfers. So we just pitched in!
But Tosashimizu does not only have beaches so we made a bike tour along the coastline up the southern point of the peninsula. Sun was burning and we had to paddle up 9km first, followed by 30km beautiful coastline.
Impressed by this very calm atmosphere of this part of Shikoku we drove further along the Ashizuri sunny road, ending up at an even nicer lagoon. The parking space included shower and barbecue place, so we just had to stay 🙂
Good decision! The area has very interesting volcanic stone formations which can partly be hiked along the coastline, and an Underwater Observatory. And guess what – I never saw that much Puffer- and Box fishes! Afterwards I learned, this area is famous for diving, so if you ever go there please try!

Being on road trip mode already we drove further to Sokumo Bay, Close to Otsuki. Landscape is getting rougher here, but the water is impressively blue. What else so find here? The whole area contains of small fishing villages and mikan (sort of oranges) plantations. No Kombini, No big cities….
100km further in Ehime, we stayed on the あけはまオートcamping ground next to another white sandy beach, blue water and no person there. When arriving, we were watched a little bit sceptical at first, so I guess not many foreigners have been here yet. But after the first shock the atmosphere got very friendly 🙂
Last stop on our trip, after a short visits of the Matsuyama castle, was the inlands-sea-island-tour. We did this as any good tourist by bike with a one night stay at the sun set beach on Ikuchi Island. Also here the parking area provides showers and barbecue areas and … a nice sunset!

The butt hurts, 10 days travel done – time to head back home! One last Ramen (noodle soup) in Onomichi and we were back on the road to Tokyo…
Shikoku? Beautiful underrated island! One of the most beautiful spots of Japan from my point of view!

springtime & hanami

Spring is just the best time in Tokyo! Blue sky, warm temperatures and everything is blooming. First the plum trees and now the cherry blossoms. I’m getting in really good mood by just walking a round and seeing all this fluffy white and pink trees. That is why also this year I would like to share some Tokyo springtime impressions with you all…. Hope you also catch some spring fever 🙂

doggie stroller & japanese camper

This weekend I had a different kind of sightseeing. I guess everyone following this blog, knows by now I’m somehow addicted to camping, therefore I visited the Japan Camping Car Show in Chiba!

How was it? FUN!!
I learned: if you are a camper in Japan you need AT LEAST 2 dogs. And don’t forget about the right stroller and be aware of the dress code! Sorry, I cannot share all pictures I took of dogs, otherwise it will fill a whole page!

The other fun thing was to check all the KeiCar (Japanese small size cars) Campers. It’s amazing to see what fits into such a mini car! In addition of course a lot of strange ideas like the modular house or the “tree-house” camper solution.

Dieses Wochenende gab’s mal eine andere Art von Sightseeing. Ich denke, jeder der diesen Blog ein bisschen verfolgt, weiß inzwischen dass ich sehr gerne campen gehe – also habe ich die Japan Camping Car Messe in Chiba besucht!
Um gleich jegliche Vorurteile abzuwürgen: es war echt lustig!
Zum Beispiel habe ich gelernt: Wenn man ein Wohnmobil in Japan besitzt oder Besitzen will muss man mindestens 2 Hunde haben. Nicht zu vergessen den passenden Kinder-Hunde-Wagen und bitte auch auf die reichtige Bekleidung achten!
Leider kann ich nicht alle Hunde-Bilder teilen, das würde hier nicht auf eine Seite passen….

Die andere lustige Sache war,sich die KeiCars (japanische Kleinwagen) Wohnmobile an zugucken. Es ist erstaunlich was alles in so ein Mini-Auto passt! Außerdem gab’s natürlich viele seltsame Ideen wie die modulare Haus oder der “Baumhaus” Wohnlösung.

omotesando: more than shopping

One of my favourite places in Tokyo is (still) Omotesando. Reason for that is NOT the long shopping mile with all the fancy big labels, but the small side roads. For example the narrow alley from Shibuya to Harajuku, or as well on opposite side. Here you will find second hand stores, small labels, Cafés and Bars to sit outside. Easy to spend a day! Every time I go there, I find a new place and add a new star on my Map 🙂

Especially since January the outdoor event / beer garden area re-opened! This year it’s called commune246 and its a collection of small bars, trailers, a stage and several snack bars. To avoid frosty fingers you can sit beneath the heater during wintertime or enjoy the Tokyo heat during summer time while drinking all sort of cocktails or beers! And if you live here in Tokyo you know how rare it is to have such outdoor places. In this year you can even have a sleep over in a caravan, if you had too many drinks 🙂
Further Tips for those who do not won’t to stick to the standard Omotesando course:

a little bit of craziness

Again some lazy posting weeks…
But a lot happened! Sascha and me visited Comiket, went to Kistune night with digitalism, had a firework in front of our window and most important:
got a lot of visitors in the last 2 months!! which means a lot of sightseeing in Tokyo, karaoke, maid cafe, purikia and one first-time-event: the Roboter Restaurant (ロボットレストラン).

For those who did not visit the place yet. Go there with some friends you can laugh a lot with, have some beer and enjoy the totally crazy, laser, robot, neon coloured, overloaded spectacle.
Thanks Magda & Kai, for convincing us to go there and thanks as well to Eike, Marcel, Vonne & Dely for a great time. Was fun to have you here 🙂

Fuji Rock Festival 2014

Ever been to a festival? Wherever you joined one: it is always fun of course!
But the Fuji Rock festival was as well something special for me!
2 days of perfect weather, nice camping area and good mixed line-up.
So what is the difference to a festival e.g. in Germany or anywhere else of the world? The behaviour! Some examples: Everyone is separating their trash, even on the festival area. Labels of the plastic bottles and the caps are carefully separated. No trash in front of the stages the toilets can be called clean – even after 3 days. I never found a toilet run out of toilet paper and I never saw anyone smoking a cigarette outside of the marked areas. Amazing!
And another difference: Everyone brings at least a chair into the festival area. The whole field behind the main stage area is crowded by people with portable chairs, pick-nick tables, their children and plastic sheets. Its like a family event with enormous loud music!
And now, I also understand why musicians love to come to Japan – they just shout “all hands in the air” –  and really EVERYONE is doing as asked. Creating a great mood!
All this packed with a beautiful surrounding, the Naeba skiing area decorated with glowing stars, hippie atmospheric paths trough the woods, stones watching you with painted eyes and on top a really international mix of music. I hope I can go there once more next year!

 

Fußball Fieber in Japan

Der Dresscode für die WM: nicht nur Herrchen und Frauchen müssen Farbe bekennen. Auch der Hund hat heutzutage einen klaren Favoriten.

How to celebrate the soccer WC in Japan? With style, as always! As well for the dog!