Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Not much in the crowded urban centres, but once we were out in the wide-open rural areas, we saw Japanese macaque monkeys, Japanese serows (never seen one of those before) and Hayabusas, otherwise known as the Japanese Peregrine Falcons. Neda is really interested in birds and plants, so she identified some flora that are indigenous to Japan, like Early Spiketail (never heard of that before).

    Sometimes it feels like I'm married to Stephanie Irwin.
  2. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    Thanks.
  3. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]
    Tokubetsuto Senmaida (rice terraces) in the background. Not as grand as the Maruyama Senmaida we saw a few days ago, but still very pretty!

    The senmaida sit empty waiting for planting season, which will probably begin about 4-6 weeks from now. From here, we head towards the town of Takachiho, in the northern section of the Miyazaki Prefecture.

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    Drama in the parking lot of the the Ama-no-Iwato shrine.

    There's a lot of mythology set in Takachiho. Although this angry dude looks like he's going to drop a rock on my head, he's actually one of the good guys.

    Legend has it that the Goddess of the Sun, Ameterasu-omikami, was once driven into a cave because her brother, the God of Storms, was bullying her. Such a timeless tale! Anyway, her retreat into the cave deprived the land of light, which co-incidentally explained why there was a total eclipse of the sun at the time.

    A bunch of other gods threw a party outside the cave to draw her out, and finally, the God of Strength and Power, Ame-no-tajikarao, lifted the rock blocking the cave entrance and the Goddess of the Sun came out again to grace the land with her light!

    What did he do with that rock? He dropped it on a random motorcyclists' head!

    So *not* a good guy in my books...
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  4. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Love the short history lessons (and the mythology too) Gene. Thanks.
  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Higashihongu Shrine near the entrance. There was a guy dressed in traditional robes talking to everyone.
    Not sure if he was a priest or a guide... I'm so ignorant!

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    Pale half-moon sits above the temple roof, paper cards with wishes written on them hang from a board outside the srhine.
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  6. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    As pretty as this temple is, it's actually not the main shrine

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    You have to walk into the forest a few hundred meters, past a river...
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  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    The path ends at Ama-no-Iwato, which means "Cave of the Sun Goddess". Hey, you mean the story is real?!?

    The path leading to the cave and the cave floor itself is littered with rocks of varying sizes and visitors have built little inukshuks (I only know the Inuit word for stone people, not sure what the Japanese word is) all over the place.

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    Kids building an inukshuk on the path leading to Ama-no-Iwato
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  8. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    This is the real temple of the Sun Goddess!

    We hike back to our bikes. It's going to be a very short ride to our next destination.

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    Zooming through the heavily forested mountains roads in the Miyazaki Prefecture. So awesome!

    We really appreciate these mirrors posted up at each corner in the tight and twisty mountain roads, we make use of them all the time to see if there's any oncoming traffic.
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  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Less than 15 minutes ride and we arrive at Takachiho Gorge.

    Takachiho Gorge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Miyazaki Prefecture. However, we're arriving so late in the afternoon that all the tour buses have already left. We park on the sidewalk next to a scooter and the parking lot attendant walks right by us and ignores our bikes. *shrug* Cool. Free parking once again!
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  10. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Clear blue sky refected off a pond at Takachiho Gorge. Neda says the duck looks like a painted wooden statue! It was real.

    The Gorge was carved out during the same lava flow that created Harajiri Falls that we visited earlier on, about 90,000 years ago when Mount Aso erupted.
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  11. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Gene & Neda. Your whole report has been fantastic since day one....but I am finding your visit to Japan perhaps the most interesting of all. Really enjoy your descriptions and the fact you look into the local history wherever you go. Thanks.
  12. Spicciani2

    Spicciani2 Been here awhile

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    @B10Dave I'm certain you mean most interesting after the wonder and delight of pula arena/ampitheatre .....
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  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Thanks Dave,

    Neda and I both agree that of all the countries we've visited, Japan is our favorite by far. We're enamoured of the food, the culture, the history, the food, and we are fascinated by how different Japanese people are to westerners. Things are rarely as they appear on the surface, there's always some reasoning behind it that reveals how different the Japanese think compared to the west. Fascinating stuff!
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  14. ryder1

    ryder1 Long timer

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    It is nice when nature imitates what humans can create.
  15. Cheftyler

    Cheftyler Adventurer

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    But what about the food? :rofl
  16. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Dancing in public was outlawed in Japan in 1948. Technically today, it is only acceptable with a permit.

    In Japan, you can buy ox tongue-flavoured ice cream. That's food right!?
  17. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    :D

    Good point. So often I hear things like, "OMG, that sunset looks just like a painting!" :hmmmmm
  18. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Oops, you're right! Forgot to mention that.

    Fixed for you:

  19. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    I'd try it.

    But then again, I'm the same guy who ate tacos de sesos in Mexico. We enjoyed tripas, lengua and chapulines, as well as kai mot daeng in Thailand. We also love haggis and we're addicted to natto.

    Recommend not to Google any of the above if you are squeamish about food. *shrug* I guess we're just weirdos.

    [​IMG]

    Bon Appetit!
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  20. gpfan

    gpfan a mari usque ad mare

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    "We also love haggis and ..."

    WTF does that mean, Jimmy?