Hiroshima September 2006

Yamaguchi - Hiroshima September 2006


Monday 25th September 2006

A day out from Hiroshima to visit some famous limestone caves (Akiyoshido) in Yamaguchi prefecture.

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09:38:51 Taken from the car, on the way from Hiroshima to Yamaguchi prefecture.

11:02:07 Chie with her Grandad, having a bit of a smoke break at the services on the freeway.

11:04:12 Chie's parents had got a hire car for the day, as there were seven of us in total we wouldn't all fit in the regular family car. I couldn't help but think "Bongo Friendee" (yes it is spelt like that) was a bit of an odd name for a car.

11:50:14 We stopped off for an early lunch at this organic food place which did an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Slightly on the downside a lot of the dishes seemed to have stealth meat in, but those that didn't were very nice indeed.

12:55:26 Here we are on the little souvenir shop lined street leading to the entrance of Akiyoshido caves.

13:01:38 One of the souvenir shops had some carved Anpanman (Japanese cartoon character) figures outside, which appeared to warrant a picture.

13:02:31 The Seven Dwarves - no real reason, but then again, why do you need one?

13:08:00 Close to the cave entrance here now - a very nice little valley here.

13:08:23 Trees, river, lovely.

13:09:50 Me and Chie near the cave mouth.

13:10:38 Chie and her grandmother by the cave entrance.

13:11:08 Not sure if you can spot him, but there's a little river crab in the centre of this picture.

13:11:48 The cave entrance again.

13:12:46 ...this looked like tonsils.

13:12:53 Chie looking over the fence.

13:13:17 Into the darkness now... unfortunately we found out from here on my new camera is next to useless in this kind of lighting condition.

13:14:10 I've taken the unusual step (for me) of deleting a lot of the pictures that didn't really come out, but I'll leave this one in to give an idea of the sort of challenge I was up against.

13:16:39 Looking back out of the cave entrance made for a more-or-less worthwhile picture though.

13:21:45 You can probably only barely see this, but it is a lot of little pools, which look a bit like the terraced rice paddies you often see in Japan.

13:27:39 Hmmmmm....

13:27:53 You can just about see a stalactite here.

13:28:57 Yukachan and a sign in the gloom.

13:29:38 I think there was a light shining on these stalactites, so they actually came out in this picture a bit.

13:31:13 Just lots of little dots of light - really hard to get the impression of this large cavern just from this picture!

13:35:02 A few more stalactites - possibly these were fairly close so I turned the flash on here.

13:35:29 This picture makes the cave wall look very green, which gives the wrong impression - some facet of the camera really struggling in low light.

13:36:43 Dry Fall - looks like a waterfall, but presumably this is just lime. Used the flash here as it was a close-up feature, and subsequently you can actually see something.

13:38:49 More rock formations.

13:39:33 There were bats living in these crevasses, who were probably not all that happy about the light that constantly shined on their nest.

13:41:17 Some sort of little alcove with a natural formation in it that looked like a little statuette.

13:41:51 A weird vertical formation.

13:43:15 Same again with Yuka and Chie in front.

13:43:48 Can just about see some bits of cave here.

13:44:59 The Big Buddha - looks very vaguely like a statue of the Buddha (err, and a big one).

13:45:27 "Slippery Way for Monkey" - a great name for a funny little passageway (which was blocked off for all but monkeys, seemingly).

13:45:40 More caves and that.

13:46:49 The colours are all wrong here - but at least we can actually see something in this picture!

13:47:06 King of the Cave - I think this sign refers to the last picture.

13:47:33 More cavey bits...

13:49:02 Secret Passage of the Cave Dragon - you can't really see whatever rock formation this sign refers to, but I have a feeling even if you could it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense!

13:51:43 Errrr...

13:52:04 Well...

13:54:09 Last Point - after this we had to turn back and retrace our steps a bit.

13:54:17 A stalactite and stalagmite meeting here.

13:54:23 A stalactite...?

13:55:09 A sign involving an interesting picture of a bat.

13:55:26 More rocks and that...

13:55:31 ....really hard to come up with comments for all of these...

14:06:09 Back out in the fresh air now, and here's a map of Yamaguchi prefecture.

14:06:25 Zoomed on on the "You are here" bit.

14:15:25 Above the cave complex is an area of hills/mountains with limestone rocks protruding out of the ground...

14:15:52 ....this landscape looked very British to me - not the usual forest covered mountains you see in Japan.

14:15:58 Jolly nice indeed.

14:17:20 Chie and Yuka with the scenery behind.

14:17:59 Mum and grandma have joined too...

14:18:19 Just the ladies this time.

14:20:33 Back to the landscape again, isn't it nice?

14:20:39 ...more of the same.

14:20:57 Up on a little viewing platform, Chie looking a bit windswept.

14:21:17 Me looking a bit, err, well fat basically.

14:22:59 Me with Chie's Dad and Grandfather - a men only shot.

15:16:21 Later on that afternoon, we passed through Yamaguchi city on the way back, and stopped off to see Rurikoji, a temple there - here's a pagoda in the temple grounds.

15:17:32 Chie's family with the pagoda behind them.

15:26:22 I think this is the main temple building, with Yuka in the foreground.

15:27:30 I thought I was being very jovial, taking this picture and managing to cleverly frame my face in the little mirror this statue was holding... then Chie told me this was the "King of Hell", and suddenly it didn't seem all that fun any more.

15:38:51 Some carp.

15:39:02 The pagoda again, with the lake in the foreground.

15:39:15 The pagoda in landscape (I'm often compelled to take pictures this way round if I think it might make a good desktop wallpaper).

15:39:23 Pagoda plus some carp - short of a few geisha going for a paddle you don't get much more Japanese than this!

15:41:21 The ladies in front of the very Japanese scene.

15:41:53 A preying (praying?) Mantice which had also come for a bit of sightseeing, presumably.

16:47:41 On the way back to Hiroshima, we stopped off in this service area, and I took a few pictures of this map for no particular reason...

16:48:12 The Five Storied PAgoda of Rurikoji Temple...

16:48:21 Akiyoshido Cave.

16:57:58 The map again.

17:33:42 A random picture taken from the window of the car, shortly before getting back to Hiroshima.