This week has been Silver Week in Japan, and although I didn't travel in Japan like a lot of people do, I still managed to pack in some excellent stuff - it's not really possible to have an unfulfilling day here, unless you have your eyes and ears shut!
On Sunday afternoon I headed out towards the Southern Japanese Alps that stretch along the east border of my village to find a lake I'd seen on a map. I discovered the lake was part of a campsite/country park, and as such it was populated by campers and fisherman. It was so relaxing to just sit by the water and listen to the sploshing of the lone canoeist paddling around. The setting sun gave the trees a striped appearance, although my camera couldn't really pick the trees out with the strong sun bearing down.
On Wednesday, after stuffing ourselves with Japanese curry, Marion and I headed up through her town to take a wander around the dam there. After a short drive we came out into a big valley blanketed by trees and dominated by the fairly large dam. We stopped for some pics and to take in the beauty of our surroundings.
We headed further up the mountain and after rounding a corner suddenly spotted a prehistoric beast lurching its way across the road. We got out and approached it...
... it was a huge mountain toad! The light rain had obviously brought it out of the undergrowth, but it didn't mind posing for a few pics before it crawled away. Toads in the UK are big, but not like this. It was quite the experience.
On the way down we stopped briefly at the shrine at the base of the mountain, before heading to the onsen at Matsukawa. Bliss!