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Western Japan

2020-07-25

For summer vacation, I'm headed to western Japan. There are four prefectures I haven't visited that are on the list: Yamaguchi, Shimane, Tottori, and Okayama.

7/23🚗 Tokyo → Mie.🚐 Rest area
7/24🚗 Mie → Yamaguchi. It was a long drive. Near the end, we had some heavy rain. My rental car is actually a small van, not designed for high speeds, and certainly not designed for high speeds in the rain. I went slow and took breaks. One advantage to the van is if you're hanging out or want to lie down for a nap, the back is big enough to make that comfortable.⛺ Shinpeigahara Park Camping Ground
7/25Various countryside sites and road walking in Kano. Yamaguchi is rural. It feels similar to Akita or northern Yamagata, with all of the overgrown mountains where nobody lives and then the rice fields in the valleys, with too many shades of green for the camera to do it justice.
7/26Tsunoshima Big Bridge (角島大橋). This is a famous road in a motorcycle magazine I read years ago. It's way the heck out there but worth the trip, either by car or bike. I had a tasty seafood lunch on the island. There was a giant downpour this afternoon, and I'm alone in the campground tonight.
7/27It rained again today, so I packed up my stuff and drove east. At lunch I drove down to Mito Onsen for a meal and a bath. In the afternoon I walked down to Hijiri Lake. The new campground is up in the mountains on the Hiroshima-Shimane border, and relatively exposed, so when the rain stops, it should dry out fairly quickly. Tonight there are two other groups in the campground, and we're happy enough with the pace and space of it all.⛺ Hijiriko Camping Ground
7/28Sandankyo is a famous gorge in northern Hiroshima. The touristy portion was closed due to heavy rain, but the upstream piece to Sandantaki, a big waterfall, was open. Today was another on-and-off rain day, but given the places and trails I hit up, it worked out fine. After lunch I climbed Shinnyuzan, and in the late afternoon downpour, I walked to the top of Osarakan, Hiroshima's highest mountain. There were no views from the summit.
7/29Today was a relaxing day. I did laundry at a laundromat and later visited the town of Masuda, Shimane. There's a nice little temple, Manpukuji, and the woman working there talked to me for twenty minutes about that sect's founder, how their garden was laid out, and various historical details.
7/30Russ Kabir, my successor as a Chokai JET, lives in Higashi Hiroshima. We got together for chatting and lunch. I haven't seen Russ since maybe 2014. Cool guy!⛺ Takataniya Campground
7/31I got up at 4:30 to see the sunrise. The campground is on top of a hill overlooking Miyoshi, Hiroshima, and it's famous for the "sea of clouds" you can often see in the early hours. This morning was beautiful. Later, I drove to Izumo to see the Izumo Grand Shrine. It's big, notable, cool.⛺ Daisenike Camping Ground
8/1I got up early today and went off to climb Mount Daisen, the highest point in Tottori Prefecture. It was cloudy most of the hike, a welcome change from the rain that lingered for the past week. In the afternoon I stopped by an onsen to take a bath and a laundromat to wash my clothes.
8/2Tsuyama is a city in Okayama. I stopped by to check out Shuraku-en, the garden, and Kakuzan Park, site of the former castle. It's a nice place to stroll around for an hour or two.🚐 Kannabekogen Rest Area
8/3🚗 Hyogo → Aichi.🚐 Rest area
8/4🚗 Aichi → Tokyo.

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