25 June 2011

A (hot) fishing trip to Niigata in June

June, but there's still snow on the mountains. You see that one in the middle? That's 谷川岳, Tanigawadake, the most dangerous mountain in the world. I'm not joking. From Wikipedia: "To date, since its initial exploration and route-finding in the early 1930s, a total of 781 people have died on Tanigawadake. This is the highest number of climbing fatalities for any mountain in the world." (About 200 have died on Everest.)

The 11 km Kan-etsu tunnel (below) is the longest road tunnel in Japan. (Japan has longer train tunnels, like the 54 km Seikan tunnel between Honshū and Hokkaidō. That's the longest undersea tunnel in the world.) The Kan-etsu goes through the Tanigawadake mountain range between Gunma and Niigata. Nearby is a train tunnel which features in the opening line of Kawabata's novel Snow Country: "The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country. The earth lay white under the night sky."

Lake Daigenta near Yuzawa

Wild iris

Watch out for the bears!
Bear country near Minami-Uonuma (南魚沼) in Niigata

20 June 2011

Sky Tree is losing its second tall crane

Sky Tree's second tall crane is being disassembled, but of course - drat! - it's happening in rainy season when clear skies are not exactly common.

18 June 2011

19 June 2011

Yanagimori Jinja (柳森神社)

Yanagimori Jinja (柳森神社) in Kanda showcases a few tanuki (狸) that are rather impressively endowed. A tanuki is a creature from Japanese folklore that's famous for its big testicles, which allegedly bring good luck. You can read more here.


One of several small shrines in the complex

The famous kintama (金玉, golden jewels, i.e. testicles)

Small shrine

These stones were used by sumo wrestlers during weight training.

The shrine stands on the bank of the Kanda River. This photo was taken from the Akihabara side of the river.

Shinkansen tracks run next to the shrine.

14 June 2011

Iris garden at Hondoji (本土寺) in Chiba

The iris garden at Hondoji

The five-story pagoda

Tiny Jizō statues (about 3 cm tall) at a shrine at the back of the Hondoji complex

Elegant kitsune at Inari shrine, also tucked away at the back of the complex

Benzaiten temple

Statue of Benzaiten, the goddess of music, fine arts and good fortune

Small dragon at Benzaiten temple

8 June 2011

Japanese iris 花菖蒲 (Part 3)

A dragonfly (とんぼ, tonbo) sits on an iris at Hase-dera (長谷寺) in Kamakura (鎌倉).

7 June 2011

Japanese iris 花菖蒲 (Part 2)

These photos of Japanese iris (花菖蒲, hanashōbu) were taken in the garden at Meiji Jingū (明治神宮). So many shades of pink and purple!