Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weekend Trips: Mikatagoko, Obama (the town)

One of the great things about studying at Yamasa for us was the proximity to new places.  We live very close to Tokyo-which is wonderful-but we love traveling and exploring other parts of Japan. 

Yamasa offers fantastic weekend trip opportunities.  We took advantage of one over night trip and two day trips during our time there.  Unfortunately for us, the first trip-the overnight one-included lots of traffic which resulted in cutting about half the original itinerary.  (One of the later days trips made up for what we missed.)

The first place we visited on our overnight trip was a National Park in Fukui Ken called Wakasa Bay Quasi.  According to the sign, these are “Wetlands of International Importance” and serve as breeding grounds for several types of invaluable fish. 

Map of the Mikatagoko area.
One of the attractions is at the top of one of the mountains.  We rode a lift to the top where we had an fantastic view and saw some interesting attractions:

The lift.
You could buy a lock, etch a message on it (usually a romantic one), and then lock it on the railing. 
There were virtually thousands of locks on the railings!
Little clay discs you could buy, write a messgae on and hurl over the railing into the forest.
Karl throwing his wish.
Kabuto Mushi-all of my elementary students are obsessed with these beetles.
Kabuto mushi eating a sugar jelly.
Map and view from the top.
Our second stop for the day was a brief drive through the little coastal town of Obama in Fukui Ken.  When President Obama was elected in the United States four years ago, this little town suddenly experienced world-wide fame. 

Our day ended back in Kyoto.  We had a full kaiseki meal at a restaurant in the Gion district.  During the summer the restaurants along the Shirakawa River set up special decks that float above the river.  This provides a cool relief from the oppressive humidity of the Kyoto summer. 

The dinner was delicious.

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