Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Juniko Lakes & Refresh Village

Camping! Well not really...we stayed in plush Cabins with a full kitchen, shower, japanese (western style toilet ) with all the bells and buttons on the side. This little gem in the woods is located on the West coast of Aomori in Juniko Lakes.  The Cabins are called Refresh Village, which have endless hiking trails leading right out your back door. Theses cabins where very clean and sleep up to 6 adults and are great for families with small children such as us.  Great place to get away and enjoy the lush woods and lakes, plus the cabins will keep you dry in the rainy season. There is even a place called the Japan Canyon, apparently named after the US Grand Canyon close by.  After a day of cruising through single path trails along the lakes, we headed to the coast for a short cycle and an Onsen before making the drive back to Misawa.  Great weekend! All pictures taken with Canon G10 and Iphone 4 using Instagram. 

WeSpa Onsen..saltwater tub

Monday, May 23, 2011

Last Hike/Snowboarding of the season.

Yesterday was a long journey to 3 defined peaks in the Southern Hakkoda's.  We started from Suiren-numa a small pull off/ pond and headed south towards Lake Towada. Our first ascent was Komagamine which lead us to the big guy Kushigamine.  From there we started to have great visibility and choose a different descent down towards Sarukura-onsen.  On our way back we passed Komagamine again and headed towards Sarakuradake which then led us to the Onsen.  WHooooo what a day.  Here are our ridiculous stats for the day: 10 miles traveled, over 3400 vertical feet climbed and over 3900 vertical feet descent.  Pretty good way to spend my Birthday plus it's snowboarding in May!  The snow conditions where are good as it gets for spring, prefect corn snow on all aspects. 
Check out our route in Red.

Start- Suiren-numa

A couple of skiers in the distance hiking Kushigamine
Kushigamine Summit

Kushigamine face

Finish- Sarukura-Onsen

Friday, May 20, 2011

Surfing, Post 3-11-11

Surfing again, feels really good. Although the water is still super cold the air temps have started to warm up a bit.  I couldn't have picked a better day to go surfing, having not been in months. Nice offshore winds and easy waist to chest high waves.  A great way to ease into surfing again. The local break has changed quit a bit as you can no longer drive all the way to the water as the road that use to be there was wash-out by the tsunami. In the 2nd picture, you can see the water line from the dead trees, pretty wild. Overall stoked to be in the water again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hakkoda May Hike

Went for a hike in the Hakkoda's last week...yep still plenty of snow up there..For more pictures from the day check out Takanori's pictures on  Flickr.  Some great shots! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hirosaki Castle & Mt Iwaki

With spring comes a new beginning for Japan and what a better way to embrace it, than with the celebration of Golden week and the Cherry Blossom Festivals.  Hirosaki Castle is by far the best place to view the "Sakura" in Aomori Prefecture with thousands of trees throughout the park.  We spent most of the day and even went back at night for some more bloom-peeping time as they light up the trees. Even in the rain the younger-adults party hard into the weee--hours of the morning with their sake and umbrellas amongst the tress.  Some say that we shouldn't party or celebrate in such times, but I think you have to be thankful for what you have and enjoy your life to the fullest as you only get one shot at it. "Keep calm and carry on"  On Sunday we took a quick side trip up to the base of Mt. Iwaki for an onsen and to check out the Iwakiyama Shrine which originated in 780.  One of my favorite Shines I have been to thus far, with its closeness to nature built right in to the forest at the base of Mt Iwaki.