We began by heading to a place called Dog Forest. It's a pretty spot, lined with trees, flowers, and vendors selling unique and interesting crafts.
It also, as the name implies, seemed to have a lot of dogs running around.
For the first time ever I was actually disappointed when we were rushed past the vendors. They seemed to have some pretty neat stuff, but I barely got a chance to look at it as we had a train to catch.
Just as busy as it looks.
I'm not sure if this is ever used as a commuter train, but it was set up to be quite scenic. Most of the seats were turned sideways so that they looked out the windows. I think that was the entire point of the trip for us, since we had our bus waiting for us a few stations down by the time we arrived.
We continued to wind our way along the twisty, scenic roads of the Izu Peninsula and made our next stop at Joren Falls.
I really love waterfalls.
I've got about a dozen more shots like this that I won't subject you to.
We had to hike up a steep set of stairs to get back up from the falls, which was probably good; my butt needed more work than it was getting by sitting all day.
There's a small group of shops and restaurants near the falls and we stopped there for lunch. After eating I was wandering around one of the stores looking for something new and interesting foods to bring home when I spotted this:
Yup, that's Wasabi Beer.
My first intention was to buy a pair of them for my brother, as I'm always looking to bring home strange foods for him to try. However, since they had some cold and ready to go in a fridge, I thought that I should try one first. I'm glad I did, as it saved me the trouble of bringing any home. That stands proud near the top of my list of the most horrible things I've ever put in my mouth. Should anyone ever offer you one, strike them, as they are not your friend.
We continued our journey through the peninsula, and made a brief stop at Suzenji Temple.
I can't help myself when I see these. The camera must come out.
I love Japanese temple architecture.
It was a pretty place, and nice to visit, but as I've mentioned before I always feel a little weird visiting a temple as a tourist. I was busy snapping photos of the building above when Euphy pointed out that there appeared to be a funeral happening in the building to my left. My photography seemed wildly inappropriate at that point.
Having completed our disruption of people's daily lives we continued on. We stopped for a bit in what I think was the town of Hakone (I'm never entirely clear where I am since I can't read the road signs) just for a break.
I see orange trees everywhere in this region, absolutely heavy with fruit.
Just around the corner from our rest stop was Odawara Castle. Most of what's currently standing is a replica since the original castle was decommissioned during the Meiji period. However, I'm told that the restoration used as many period-accurate materials as possible in an attempt to make a faithful recreation.
This is the outermost moat, and one of the first gates into the castle complex.
The gate doors are massive, and quite thick, so opening them would be a chore. Hence they put tiny doors within the doors for day-to-day use. Pictured here is a small girl who is quite put out about being used to model the smallness of this door.
The appropriately named "Copper Gate" which has been faithful restored in copper, just like the original.
After several gates and a fair bit of climbing we made it to the imposing main keep.
Not entirely sure how you'd go about assaulting something like that, but it couldn't have been easy.
We didn't enter the main keep, but instead pressed on towards our final destination of Narita. Unfortunately we got in quite late due to the heavy Tokyo traffic. Even more unfortunate was the restaurant that we ended up at. We've had really good meals the entire time we've been in Japan, but that ended abruptly tonight. I never thought I'd say this about anything in Japan, but the place was filthy. Nothing was properly cleaned, and I only ate because I was starving. I have sustained myself mainly with french fries because I didn't think they could harbour too many infectious diseases. I have no burning desire to spend an entire day of travel tomorrow fighting of salmonella poisoning.
Speaking of a day of travel, I'd better get to bed. Our flight out doesn't leave until 5:00 p.m., but due to the magic of time zones we'll touch down in Vancouver at 9:00 a.m. of the same day. After a lengthy layover we're on to Toronto where we'll arrive sometime after 9:00 p.m. So you'll have to excuse me, as tomorrow I'm literally going to have a long day.