Sunday 5th August 2012
MP3 track of the day: Best Friend – Kana Nishino
Weather: The skies were blue and fluffy white clouds were dotted in the sky. It made perfect photographing weather (but it was a little too hot).
After yesterdays mammoth trip I had planned on having a lie-in however, the sun had other ideas. At first I ignored it however, by eight o'clock I was fully awake wondering why the curtains didn't hold back the morning light. Once ready I made my way down to the kitchen; there I sat, for four hours, uploading my photos and writing yesterdays blog. I didn't mind as it was blisteringly hot outside and I have little to complete today.
By 1pm I was all finished on my PC; I put it back in my room and headed out for something to eat. I don't particularly enjoy meal times whilst traveling, and I was really not looking to this one. I remembered two nights ago that only one restaurant was open and I didn't fancy having lunch, and tea, there in the same day. However, as I approached 'town' something weird happened; at first I heard cars (okay that has happened before in Towada-ko) … then I heard people talking (that hasn't happened in Towada-ko before) … and finally I saw said people; hundreds of them! I hit my head to make sure I wasn't seeing things but yes, there were many people walking around, purchasing food and generally having a good time. I wouldn't say that the area was packed, but now all the shops and restaurants were in full swing and I even had to leave the first restaurant due to all tables being occupied!
I wondered what on Earth was going on and just then, I turned to my right to see the 'daily car park' which was full of tourist buses and cars. It then clicked; Towada-ko must be a 'day trip' place, hence why all the shops are still here, hence why half of the hotels are abandoned and hence why everything closes at 5:30pm. I therefore found myself spoilt for choice on where to dine.
I eventually ended up in a large restaurant where I ordered curry and rice. I eat quickly, paid my bill and left heading towards the lakeside. After applying suncream I got down to photographing the bay; the sky was a beautiful light-blue colour and if it wasn't for the heat, it would have been a complete joy. I moved through the crowds, giving a friendly 'hello' to anyone who would listen, and stopping occasionally to take a photo. I finally stopped at a statue called 'Maidens of the lake'. Two identical female naked statues seem to almost be holding hands; they were created in 1953 by poet Takamura Kotaro, then 70 years old, and are said to be his wife who suffered from schizophrenia and died tragically young.
I moved away from the statue and inland through a wood, until I reached a temple. Upon a small raised area, a temple stood guarded by a traditional Japanese gate. After taking a lot of photos I went around the temple taking in all the carvings and inscriptions. It was then I noticed a flight of wooden stairs that lead upwards to the top of a small hill. I followed said path - fighting away the hundreds flies from my face – hoping for an outstanding view as a reward.
There wasn't one. Instead there was a tiny temple (which looked more like a shed) and that was it. I left sharpish glad to leave the flies behind. After this I strolled out of the woodland (where I saw my first wild snake … and it was big) and towards the beach. I took some more photos of the lake before going around town taking photos of buildings (focusing mostly on the derelict ones). By now the time was 4pm and I had done everything I wanted to go at this location. I got in my car and decided to circle the lake looking for good photo spots.
Well it didn't take long until road works hampered my plan. I got 1/4 of the way around when the road I wanted was closed. I therefore stopped within the area I found myself in, took a photo, and then opted for the road to Aomori, which would eventually bring me back to the lake. As I drove I found the area I wanted to hike through in two days time. I did a bit of a recce, looking for car parking, and deciding whether it would be worth the effort (it would; its a woodland path with waterfalls, bridges and streams all the way along). After what seemed like an age I by-passed the road works and got back onto the road I wanted to be on. This road climbed forever upwards; at one point I thought I would be heading out of the Earth's atmosphere. Still we climbed on and on until my ears popped. Finally the road began to flatten and I hoped there was something worth the time, and petrol, I'd spent on getting up here.
Just then the trees cleared and a two-storey platform appeared out of nowhere. I parked my car and raced up the steps like a giddy school child. The view which presented itself was amazing. The whole lake was within my view; it looked as though the ring of mountains, which circled the lake, were 'cupping' the lake like a human would 'cup' their hands when drinking water out of them. I left the platform content that the trip had been worth it, and yet the road held one other surprise.
I hadn't driven far when a view, on the opposite side of the mountains to the lake, presented itself. The mountainside, which I was on, fell sharply into a canopy of trees which pushed out as far as I could see. It was a beautiful sight to behold and unfortunately the photographs haven't done it justice. After this sight I met up with the road I had come back on from Hirosaki yesterday. I drove back to my hostel, parked up before walking into town to find some tea. Sadly the day car park was empty, the people were gone and so all the shops were shut; it was just how I remembered it when I arrived. I therefore had no option; I went back to the same restaurant as yesterday and had the same meal.
Afterwards I went back to my hostel to look at my photos and have an early night. Tomorrow I'm off to Aomori to see another festival; I was looking forward to it already.