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Posts tagged susuki

Susuki (Japanese Pampas Grass)

October in Hakone is the high season for the susuki grass. I headed down to Hakone from Tokyo to see it with a bunch of students. I should have went alone. The students weren’t interested in stopping the bus long enough to walk through the paths cut in the towering grass. Meanwhile, I was salivating at the chance to get out of the bus and be surrounded in the stuff. Instead I had to settle for this low quality pic through the moving bus window.

I guess this is yet another reason why I need to go live in Japan again someday.

Japanese Alps

japanese alps

This trail was part of our mountain biking tour last October in Hakuba. I don’t think I’ll ever have another October when I don’t look fondly back at those few days in Hakuba.

Mt. Mitake Hike – Part 3 (nearing Mt. Otsuka 大塚山)

hiking mt. otsuka near kori station tokyo japan

For most of the uphill climb after departing Highway 45 near Kori Station (古里駅) the above is all you can see. Few people were on this trail (in the 奥多摩町 area). In fact, we would have thought we were on some of our favorite hikes near home in Ashland, Oregon were it not for the roots lining the trail, the trees not being quite the same (sugi maybe? 杉), and the occasional hiker saying konnichiwa to us.

fall in japan

Upon reaching the ridge after a couple of hours, the views changed rather dramatically. They were also very different depending on which way you looked. Trees on one side of the ridge were non-existent on the opposing side and vice versa. Some trees had lost most of their leaves.

fall maple leaves japanese mt. otsuka mitake hike

Other trees, like these Japanese Maples, were peaking.

susuki tokyo mountains

I wasn’t expecting to see susuki up here, but there it was. From this last spot, if one could jump 50 feet straight up, they would be treated with a vast overview of Tokyo.

Institute for Nature Study, National Museum of Nature and Science – Part 1

国立科学博物館附属自然教育園 Institute for Nature Study, National Museum of Nature and Science meguro tokyo japan

Next stop on our Grutt Pass tour of Tokyo was 国立科学博物館附属自然教育園. That’s a mouthful. It doesn’t get much better in English with “Institute for Nature Study, National Museum of Nature and Science.”

This place is walking distance from Meguro Station. If you are looking for an uncrowded piece of nature in Tokyo then this is it. We were even there on a Sunday afternoon (by far the worst time to visit such places), and it was still very peaceful. No more than 300 people are allowed into the 200,000 square meter area at a time which means you’ll have plenty of elbow room.

国立科学博物館附属自然教育園 Institute Study National Museum of Nature and Science meguro tokyo japan

Linda and Ryan enjoyed one of the ponds on the grounds while an old Japanese couple ate a bento nearby.

japanese tree meguro tokyo japan

The trees in this place are really beautiful. There are countless kinds. They were all still very green for us in early November, but the place must be even more gorgeous in late November when the colors change.

Hakuba – Part 2

lake aoki aokiko hakuba nagano japan fall autumn colors koyo

I can’t imagine Lake Aoki (青木湖) being any more beautiful than it is in October. That said, October is when the fewest people are there. The lake was empty when we weren’t on it. We took a break on the banks and skipped some rocks. With no wind, the rock skipping was very successful.

hakuba aoki lake aokiko

The surface of Lake Aoki was like glass, and from our vantage point in the canoes we could see large fish in the clear water.

hakuba nagano japan ski lift fall happo-one Skifield Kokusai chairlift

We ate lunch at the bottom of the chairlift on Happo-One. The colors were great, and an occasional paraglider came over the ridge. The mountain side was covered in ススキ (Japanese pampas grass).

Mt. Fuji from Owakudani

mt. fuji from owakudani

Last week we visited Owakudani and some other areas of Hakone for the first time in two and a half years. Mt. Fuji made an appearance or two before quickly hiding itself behind clouds.