Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chinese New Year (CNY) in Japan 18-26 Jan 2012

Rather than our usual CNY at home, we decided to visit our friends in Japan for a taste of winter weather. We were prepared for the cold weather but were lucky to have beautiful sunny dry and snow covered vistas when we were at Hakodate, our first port of call.
We hit the tourist spots of Mount Hakodate, Goryokaku Tower and Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses, and had a great time hopping on and off the old tram using our 1-day pass exploring the old district, walking to the churches and gardens albeit snow-covered. We also enjoyed the many small family run restaurants with a variety of food and very friendly people. After an all too short visit we were soon on our way to Tokyo.
From Haneda we took the airport bus to Fujisawa where Philip and Nariko met us and took us to their home in Tsujido. Even though we were not on a birding trip, the next morning we were happy to record a few lifers just a few minutes walk from their apartment. 
A 10 minute walk from P & N's place, is Shonan beach, a popular place with surfers,  In fact surf boards are seen outside most apartments and on the customised racks on most bicycles. On our morning walks along the beach there were always several surfers searching for their wave in the 2 degree weather.

Black-eared Kite
White Wagtail
Brown-eared Bulbul

Enoshima Island was very close by and we spent an afternoon visiting the shrines and gardens. No visitor would miss the Black-eared Kites flying overhead that sometimes dive very low and an intriguing warning sign explaining their behaviour reminded us of our Macaques at home. These Kites are also in the habit of snatching food from unwary visitors.

Enoshima Causeway

Kamakura Daibutsu
On another day we visited Kamakura, easily reached by train from Ofuna which is one stop away from Fujisawa.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
As we bid goodbye to our friends, we were already planning another visit to experience a different season next year.