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Natasha in the mist on Odaigahara

Trees at Ise Grand Shrine

The inner shrines at Ise

Natasha and Craig

Water lily

 Traditional aburi mochi shop in Kyoto

Early Summer Walks in the Heart of Japan tour - May 2008


A small but perfectly formed little group for this new itinerary which included hiking on the Odaigahara Plateau. It was raining lightly and misty the day we did this hike, but that is the nature of this area of Japan. With over five meters of rain a year, it is one of the wettest parts of the country. This, combined with the altitude (about 1,800 meters) and limestone geology, makes this a very interesting environment to visit, especially with the number of wild deer which roam around the woods and the many species of birds.

The days warmed up as we proceeded towards Asuka, via the extremely important Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, and we had a lovely four hour hike from Miwa Shrine to Isonokami Jingu. I hadn't visited Ise for many years, and had not travelled through the mountains of West Yoshino and into Mie Prefecture. The countryside was stunningly beautiful in its early summer garb of green with all the rivers and streams full of water.

The weather was warm
The babbling brooks heard nearby
In the countryside

I made a note to revisit and see if a tour can be worked out that would include this area. Here and Japan north and west of Kyoto …

Fuelled by ice cream and many a snack – Japanese crackers, chocolate, and strawberries – we arrived in Kyoto in good shape, even the guide took the odd wrong turn.

Bob found a new way
But we came across a brown frog
It then hopped away

(first line was originally ‘Bob went the wrong way'!)


Must be old age …


Please click here if you would like to read more haiku poems written on this tour.


Jizo in moss garden in Ohara

The woods on Odai in the rain

Praying by the Ise River

Ise Grand Shrine

At Isuien Garden in Nara

 Aburi mochi shop in Kyoto

The Kyoto Imperial Palace

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