Tag Archives: walking

Exploring Feels Good

As I said earlier, I was restarting Japan by Train this month, and I finally did today.  I took my daughter walking around the Mutsuainichidaimae Station neighbourhood, and it felt great.  I was able to recapture the feeling I had whenever I went exploring new places, and I found a couple of really nice places.  One was a temple, the other was a shrine.  I’m a bit tired, as we walked for 4 hours, and probably around 10-15 km.  But you know, it doesn’t matter that I’m tired.  What matters is that I was able to feel peaceful the entire time.  I’m definitely doing more.

Exploring Japan will also be returning soon with Niigata prefecture.

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Coming soon!

I’ve been planning to post some more pictures tonight, but I’m a bit tired and have a headache.  But it’s not stopping me from posting something.  I’ve finally gotten back into posting photos other than the picture of the week.  I’ll be working on getting my older photos on my old computer transfered to my newer computer soon.  But for a bit of a sneak preview, here’s what I’ll be posting soon:  Pictures from Yokosuka, Kawagoe, Ueno, Tokyo Tower, Shinjuku, Landmark Tower, a springtime walk around Kamakura, Samukawa Shrine, Kamakura Matsuri, Tokyo Sky Tree, Ryogoku, Tokeiji, my 35km walk from Kamakura to Jogashima, Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Enoshima, and more.  That’s just 2 months worth of photos from last year.

Also, I hope to do some more videos, maybe with me in them.  I want to get a new camera soon, so I’ll probably have some HD videos then.

As you may know, I took a 35 km walk from Ofuna in Kamakura to Jogashima in Miura last year.  I’m doing another walk on Thursday, but somewhat shorter.  I’ll be walking from Kamakura to Oiso (or maybe even Ninomiya), which is 20-22 km.  I also plan to do another walk sometime later this year from Oiso/Ninomiya to Yugawara.  I seem to be destined to walk the entire coastline of Kanagawa.  I’m unlikely to do any long walks during summer, though.  Too hot.

Any comments?  What are you looking forward to seeing?

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A 20km walk this weekend!

That’s right, if the weather is good, and it doesn’t get hot again, I’ll be walking from Kamakura to Oiso, which is a town about 20km west of Kamakura.  I’ll walk along the coast the entire time, so lots of ocean views.  I’ll be walking through the cities of Kamakura, Fujisawa, Chigasaki and Hiratsuka, finishing in the town of Oiso.  I’ll make a conservative estimate, and say it’ll take me about 5 hours to complete.  It’ll probably be less, though.  I tend to walk quickly.  And there will be pictures!

As a side note, I’m going to try to get at least one major photo post done each week.  I need to get caught up!

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The kindness of strangers

Today, I went out walking around a couple of neighbourhoods in Fujisawa (this brings my total to 17 train station neighbourhoods finished).  The second neighbourhood was quick and easy to do, as there wasn’t much to see.  However, while I was walking around, I had a couple of very nice surprises.  Usually, while I walk around a neighbourhood, I’m quite focused on going to different places and taking pictures.  But this time, I encountered a few nice people.

First, I was taking out my notebook, writing down the name of the river that goes through the eastern part of Fujisawa, and an elderly man approached me.  He asked, “May I help you?” in English.  He must have thought I was lost.  I thanked him for his kindness, but told him that I was okay.  That put me in a good mood.

A little while later, I was walking from a park, and I noticed that someone was spraying water from a hose onto the street.  It surprised me, as I was pretty close.  It turned out an elderly lady was washing something outside her house, and she didn’t see me walking down the street.  Once she saw me, she started laughing and gave me a very kind smile.  I laughed, too, sharing a funny incident with her.  It was very hot, so the water would have actually felt good.  However, it would have damaged my camera, so I’m glad I didn’t get wet.  But no harm done, and we had a good laugh.

This is a big contrast to what happened 2 weeks ago.  As I walk through the neighbourhoods, I often meet people on the street.  They usually act indifferently, and don’t pay much attention.  However, I also encounter kind people who smile at me (usually at temples, and usually elderly), as well as the people who openly stare at me.  I think the latter are people who are quite surprised to see a foreigner walking around with a camera in a quiet neighbourhood.  What kind of tourist walks around a residential street?  They probably rarely or never see people like that.  I really need to study Japanese hard, because I would like to be able to speak with some people that I happen to meet.

On the other hand, while I’m hiking on hiking trails or on mountains, nearly everyone smiles.  We’re sharing the same experience.  On Oyama last year, so many people said “konnichiwa” or even “hello” in English.  But walking around a neighbourhood is different, as everyone has their own purpose and destination.  There’s no common experience.  But sometimes, I can encounter a kind stranger.

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Inspired to walk in Japan

It’s been a year since I started walking around neighbourhoods near train stations, and I’ve completed 15 stations for my Japan by Train series.  That’s a bit more than one station per month.  Each time, I’ll walk around 10 km, exploring the neighbourhood and taking pictures of anything significant (temples, shrines, major shopping areas, street views, train stations, and more).  I have yet to post my first tour, which I did a year ago!  I want to get to work on that.

These 10 km walks have been very interesting, but at the end of April this year, I walked from my apartment in Kamakura to the island of Jogashima in Miura City, which is about 35 km away.  That took me 8 hours to complete, and was a great experience.  I was sore for a couple of days, but I wanted more.  I’ve also hiked up 3 mountains (Fuji 5 years ago, Takao-san 2 years ago and Oyama last year).  When the weather gets cooler, I want to make 2 more challenges.  First is to walk from Kamakura to the town of Oiso, which is about 20 km to the west.  For this walk, I’ll follow the coastline.  The second challenge is to walk the entire route of the Yamanote Line in Tokyo.  This is about the same length as my Kamakura-Jogashima walk.  I’d be walking in a circle around the central part of Tokyo.

You may want to ask why I want to do this.   Well, there are a few reasons.  I like to explore new places, of course.  Also, it’s good exercise.  But the big thing is I love the challenge.  I’ve also been inspired by a New Zealander who’s walked both the Tokaido and Nakasendo (from Kyoto to Tokyo).  His blog is called The walking fool.  It’s a fascinating read, actually.  His Nakasendo walk starts at this blog post, and his Tokaido walk starts at this post.  Yes, both blog posts start in New Zealand, but they’re relevant.  Now, I don’t plan on doing the same thing he does, but I want to take smaller walks that take only a few hours.

Some other possibilities I’ve been considering are walking from around Kanazawa-Hakkei Station in Yokohama down to Miurakaigan station in Miura City (this would be the eastern side of Miura peninsula), as well as walking from Ofuna to Yokohama station, following the Tokaido Line.  Any other suggestions?

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