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Welcome to another tour of Japan.This time we are going to be heading west along the Japan sea coast,on the back of the mighty Suzuki Skywave.

ARE YOU READY!!!!

West Japan's (Honshu island) most famous city is Hiroshima.Its also the biggest west of Osaka before you get to Fukokua on the next island,Kyushu.Rather then return to Hiroshima for a third time,I chose some of the uncharted areas on the north coast.

I took so many photos this time,and their was so much to see,I decided to break this up into each day on seperate posts.Day 2 and 3 will come later.

DAY 1 .Mastue and Izumo shirne.
DAY 2 The coast and the fuedal Japanese city of Hagi
DAY 3 The mountain town of Tsuwano(The little Kyoto of Shimane)

Todays post.Day one.

ALL CAPTIONS WILL READ FROM UNDER THE PHOTO



As you can see on the Map.Days 1,2 and 3 are color coded.An average size tour.1200 Kms were coverd.Very comfortable riding distance.



Welcome to Mastue City.If your wondering what this guy is scetching in this picture,its Mastue Castle.The city was a major rival to the Osaka area in 4th and 5th Century.Long before Edo(Tokyo) and Kyoto existed.
The castle was a much later edition to Mastue and was built in the early 1600s.Prior to this time Castles were constructed on hills,providing heavy fortification against the enemy.With the arrival of the Portuguese,the Japanese very quickly acquried and Manufactured Guns and Cannon.Castles were dismanted and reconstructed right in the heart of the city,as it was easy to defend them with this new wonderful technology from Europe.



The castle within the moats.Amazing close up.Not so big,as is the case with most Japnese castles,but original to its construction date sometime in the early 1600s.From a distance these things look huge and often dominate the city,rising 20 stories above buildings.What makes them so imposing,are the 2 or 3 stage moats that gradularly rise as the you get closer to the castle.



INSIDE THE CASTLE

According to my excellent English speaking guide,this Well is unique,in that its located within the Castle itself.Most Japanese castles have their well outside.The benifit of this,is to provide protection in the event of invasion from the neighbouring Warlord in the next Prefecture.



This I found fasnitating.The Guide explained that when the Europeans arrived in Kyushu and starting trading with the Japanese,arrows and spears were relegated to ceremonial status.Old Armour,heavy and inappropriate were only worn during festivals.This display is one such example of this.Original of course



Another great display within the Castle.The Gun on the far right is Portuguse.Only after a few years,the Japanese were making thousands of Guns,Muskets and other 16 century weaponry for the Shogin to unite the country and defend it against Conlonisation from European Powers.



Wow!!!! Samurai helmets.Very impressive.



The view from the top of the Castle dojo.The modern day city of Mastue.



Time to leave Mastue.Just to the west of the city is Shinji Lake,seperating the city with Izumo,my next distination



Another map.Izumo and Mastue.



Shinji Lake.Nice day for it! The weather was nasty all day.Day 2 and 3 was perfect to make up for it.



Welcome to Izumo Shire.Famous for two things.Its the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan and is home to......SUMO Wrestling.This isnt the main shrine but rather a recent addition,Im guessing here.The rope used in this shrine was massive!!! Look at it !!!!!!!



For good luck,you throw coins up into the rope.If its gets stuck you are lucky.Simple stuff.Fun to watch too.



A newly Married couple paying their respects in the shirne area for a happy marrige.



Go on!! Have another try!!!



Pilgrims from all over Japan come to Izumo.



The main shrine.This dates back to 400 AD.



I wish I knew who these guys were.I think they look like priests or Temple keepers.



The Temple grounds were very peaceful.



All generations participate in the Shinto and Buddist religions.The two live in complete harmony in Japan.



Washing your hands is a purification process before entering the shrine area.



Hey funky Shrine goers!



Im not sure why they do this.On the paper are litttle messages which they tie to the tree.



Ready

1



2



3.Done.Ahhhhhh.



Inside the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan.Of course this is as close as anyone in the public can get.



Such a beautiful place



Time to head down the coast a little before the sun goes down and settle into a hotel at some random place a few more kilometers down the road.



BEST SHOT IN THE COLLECTION.

I took this just before arriving at my hotel for the night.Wow!!!!!!!!!

Japan is truely a blessed place.

Im so happy to bring it to you....VIA the one and only

Skywave.



Suzuki Skywave AN400.

See you all on Day 2 in the next few days.
 

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Dude, this could get habit forming!

Another great effort, your Japanese travelouges are wonderful.Thank you very much!

& I agree, that last shot was wonderous!
 

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Man, what great pics, thank you for sharing with the rest of us.
 

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Brilliant, thanks for sharing.
 

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"WOW"

I took this just before arriving at my hotel for the night.Wow!!!!!!!!!
"Wow" is an understatement!!! That picture is just breathtaking. Thanks for sharing. :thumbright:
 

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Hi NickSkywave,

I am planning to go back and live in Japan after my retirement (hopefully before reaching my 60).

I live in U.S. (near D.C.) about 20 years now, and occationally go back to Japan to see my families.

My dream is to travel many rural areas in Japan with AN400 or AN650 and my better half. :eek:

I really envy you since what you did is exactly what I want to do!

Nice photographs and comments.

Thanks for sharing such wonderful trips with us!

I hope you will cover northern part of Japan, too.
 

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Re: The Shinto Shrine

Great photos and captions!

My dream is to move to Japan in a few years, and to earn my keep while living there for 5 or so years by teaching English. There are some obstacles to doing that, but none that are insurmountable.

NickSkywave said:
...I wish I knew who these guys were.I think they look like priests or Temple keepers. ...
The gentleman in the black hat is a Shinto priest. I can't tell for sure from the photo, but he may be carrying offerings for the shrine.

BTW, some people aren't sure about what's a temple and what's a shrine. In general, Shinto shrine, Buddhist temple.

Anyway, keep the stories and photos coming. I'm enjoying living vicariously through your travels.
 

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I happened to have Mehdi playing when I stumbled across your post. The pictures, the story and the music all wove to an inspirational uplifting experience... My hats off to you. Thank you and look forward to the next chapter!
 

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I just can't wait to see the next 2 days of your travels.. how wonderful and fantastic.. and I find it very soothing..
 
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