Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mount Fugen in Winter: Unzen, Nagasaki

Mount Fugen Unzen Nagasaki is not as challenging as Mount Fuji (I don't know from firsthand experience) but a great experience to climb never the less.  Not being much of a mountaineer myself, I jumped at the opportunity when a friend said to me out of the blue, let's climb to the top of the Volcano in the middle of winter.  Now, some might say that is a little foolish, but the views and the scenery at the top are well worth the effort and freezing temperatures.  You see in winter the scenic views are usually at their peak, not much cloudy cover and or fog or pollution polluting the desired view for climbing the mountain in the first place.  The frost on the limbs and trunks of the trees are worth seeing as the angles of the frost match the incoming wind direction to form the icicles perfectly.

Although we weren't able to get to the volcano it looms large and in all directions, such a massive and dominating effect on the landscape it's impossible to miss.  Absolutely the most interesting and extraordinary location on the Shimabara Peninsular.

Come and check out Mount Fugen Unzen Nagasaki here on a map:

Click on the photo below to enlarge:

To see vapors wafting out of the ground as we were getting closer and closer to the Volcano was a little intimidating especially whether they might be toxic or not was unknown and a little disconcerting but we were as brave as could be expected to virgin winter climbers and if i get another invitation in the future I will jump on the bandwagon again without a doubt in the world!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Glover Gardens: Nagasaki City

Glover Gardens in Nagasaki is one of the most popular tourist spots in the City.  This is the place that Thomas Glover who was from Scotland, built his house on the Minami Yamate Hill in 1863, where there are many relocated and restored gardens and houses of foreign merchants and traders who contributed to the industry of Japan at the time.

Many foreign merchants and nationalists at the end of Edo Period lived in Nagasaki at the time.  The former Glover House is the oldest western wooden architecture in Japan and is designated as a national important cultural property and is also known as the "Madame Butterfly House.  At various times throughout the year events are held to celebrate the opera created by Puccini as it is well known that Nagasaki is the backdrop of the story.

Glover Gardeni is a brilliant place where you can lose yourself in the history of Nagasaki, forgetting that you are actually in Japan and could be in any other trading country from Europe to the Americas. See Japan for yourself as it was in the later half of the 19th century and the effect one man made to bring Japan into the modern ages.  You will find something here for everybody, whether it be the magnificent old Victorian Houses, to the restored furniture inside to the panoramic 180 degree views of the breathtaking Harbor below and its crystal clear waters.

For those visitors that want to explore Nagasaki by themselves and not take an organized tour this location is a must visit.  It takes less than 10 minutes to walk to from the International Port Terminal and has a lot of attractions nearby with plenty of shops and restaurants for a bite to eat and shopping opportunities galore.  However it is located on a hill and even though their is a traveling escalator to get to the top there are many steps and a constant incline to contend with.

Check out at Glover Gardens Nagasaki on a map!

Please click on the following photos below to enlarge:

View of the Harbour below

The main house

Interesting architecture

One of the many houses

Lots of visitors

The main pond

Inside the restored old Victorian Houses

The main building is the most popular sight!

Outdoor setting for events is always popular

Puccini`s Masterpiece

Lots of antiquities

Kimono`s are often sighted

The centerpiece

Puccini's famous Madame Butterfly

Each building is unique

This is how they entertained in the day!

Thomas Glover

The magnificent view from the top of the hill

The beautifully presented gardens and ponds

Beautiful gardens all around

Please check out these videos of Glover Gardens Nagasaki for your viewing pleasure: