Friday, June 21, 2013

End of the Road - Honshu Style

We've been hearing about snow monkeys in Northern Japan for over four years. We've heard different drive for 4 hours and see a monkey in a cage...others have said they saw them by the roadside....we've kept our eyes open every time we've driven that way and have never seen any. 

This was our last chance. We decided to combine two goals...find some monkeys and reach the most western point at the bottom of the "ax head." Checking out the map below - the wild horses are at the top right, Cape Oma to the top left...we wanted to see the bottom left.

I found a map in English....SCORE! Our atlas leaves much to be desired. There was a "monkey park" on the map and if we didn't see monkeys before we reached it we'd stop and watch them in a concrete cage. (See red arrow).  We told the kids we MAY not see monkeys in the wild - but this was our last chance. We also told them we were going to drive to the end of the road....and off we went. 

We shouldn't have been surprised to find a Japanese Naval Station - but we were. Of course, I had to take pictures of these beautiful frigates.....decided I'd settle for this as the next step was over a barricade and probably ill-advised. 

We stopped for a picnic lunch and a bit of stretching at/or near Jogasawa Beach. 

Concrete stairs is a new one - sleeping her way through the goodbyes? 

We've noted all kinds of concrete in seawalls...but whiffle balls were new to us! 

The drive was BEAUTIFUL and eventually we began to see signs that alerted us we may find Snow Monkeys in the trees.

We saw the turnoff to the monkey park before we saw monkeys. We overshot the turn off and ended up in a parking lot with a little white pickup truck. Michael spotted monkeys in the tree and shortly we all joined him.

The branches moved....we heard some "hooting type" calls....and then we saw them. Snow Monkeys - EVERYWHERE.....what a blast!

Mama kept throwing flowers at us...

Yes, I took the next three shots!  Gherkins in their natural habitat! ::snort:: 

Eventually we decided to explore the "park" and discovered bungalows and cabins nestled in the trees. We have info and plan to call and possibly stay there before we leave.  The trees with the monkeys are right outside your cabin. (WHY aren't these photos side by side as they ARE on the compose screen???)

We skipped  the animals in the concrete cage, but enjoyed looking around and buying drinks from the vending machine. I was inspired by the monkeys, no one was around but the kids and me and so I broke into a Snow Monkey Dance.....never overlook the man across the road with the big lens. 
Arielle's so reserved....

Stacia's joining in! 

We still hadn't reached the end of the road....we started further inland (the road curves back to Misawa) - then we headed back down the road to find a little road that would go to the edge of the island. We found Atagoyama Beach and stopped to enjoy a bit of fun. 

This is a GREAT swim beach. Oh boy, Stacia fell and landed face first on the concrete jetty. It could have been much worse...she ended up with goose eggs, scratches on her face, elbow, hands, legs...but nothing broken or knocked out.
We all felt Wakinosawa Village was the end of the road...but Michael kept driving until we got to Kaizaki! And that truly was the END OF THE ROAD on Honshu. The experience reminded us of finding our way to Homer, AK - the end of the road in America. 

There is a story here. You may remember the Call of the Foam G from Thursday.  Unbeknownst to me - not fully trusting in the providence of my foam G - Michael had said a prayer of his own on Thursday. "God, if I find three glass rollers - together - I'd take it as a sign we are returning." ::snort:: Now - in four years we've never found these types of rollers....I didn't even know to look for them!  Michael wanted to find three and wanted them close together. These do not float. They sink - they don't often wash ashore.  I went off exploring beyond those rocks you see above. I came back and Michael said, "We're coming back." I'd could tell he was having a moment of some type. I was happy but a bit perplexed...and then he told me about his prayer and showed me three ceramic rollers and here's the picture of them on the beach at the end of Honshu. Still not skywriting....but we're starting to feel a peace that somehow it will all work out. We're content to follow it out - though we don't know for sure where it will lead.

Loved this little island - doesn't it look like a whale? 

The road ends at a little fishing spot

Ferry in the background going around the corner of Honshu

Our geography is weak but because of where we are, we do not believe the land in the distance is the other side of Mutsu bay (that is to the south and left). We think this is the south end of Hokkaido - though at first we thought it was China. 

The housing at the end of the road

Sure enough - as we turned to start back home we found a little white truck...proving at the end of the road in Japan - you will find a little white pick up truck! 

These make me want to go back and try hunting the beaches a bit south from this village. LOL 

 We drove straight up 338 on the way....Coming home we dropped onto 279 at Mutsu and drove to Noheji and then on to Misawa on Hwy 8. It  shaved a good 30 - 40 minutes off the trip.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Vicky said...

Lovely trip!

You were looking at Hokkaido or the other side of the bay. (It looks a bit big to be Hokkaido but you can see it very clearly). Certainly not China which is too far away.

Linda said...

Looks like an incredible day trip. The mountain pictures are beautiful!

Renee said...

I love living through your travels. We were not nearly as adventureous when we lived overseas

Anonymous said...

Monkey Dance--hahahahahaha! Great shots!!!!

Poor Stacia. :(

Love the pic of Arielle holding the island!

WOW about the three rollers!

Aaahhh! You know how I love those glass floats. :)


Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!! Love it!!!!

Anonymous said...

PTL1 So excited for you all and especially Mike. WOW, it is always such a wonderful thing when God shows a sign to us as we trust Him: Love the monkey pictures. Miss our Philippine monkeys! HEY, MISS THE PHILIPPINES PERIOD! What a mix of feelings we all have when our hearts are gripped by God's direction to a certain people! Love the whale island. Love seeing all the fun you are having. Our hearts are full for you and your experienced. LOVE/PRAYERS - MOM T.