, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 photo DSC_0015.jpg

After the funeral, Kenji’s parents came a few days to stay with us in Gunma, and we invited them along on our Ibaraki trip the second 3 day weekend in September. Sunday, the first day, saw us driving to Mito, checking in to the hotel, then visiting the station to grab a bite to eat. Kenji’s father wasn’t feeling well so we dropped him back off at his hotel to rest, while Kenji and I plus his mom went to the famous Kairakuen Gardens.

Kairakuen is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama, both of which I visited this year. Timing-wise, there wasn’t many special flowers blooming, and it was too early for fall colors, but we did catch the nice Cosmos flowers in bloom, so that was something.

After that we picked Kenji’s father up, then headed to the coast to Oarai to visit a shrine, eat dinner, and go to an onsen, before calling it a night.

 photo DSC_9802.jpg  photo DSC_9803.jpg
Mito station and lunch

 photo DSC_9805.jpg
Our hotel, Toyoko Inn

 photo DSC_9809.jpg  photo DSC_9812.jpg
Tokiwa Shrine at the entrance to Kairakuen

 photo DSC_9821.jpg
Working the camera

 photo DSC_9825.jpg
Around Kairakuen

 photo DSC_9829.jpg
Mito’s character

 photo DSC_9837.jpg  photo DSC_9838.jpg  photo DSC_9846.jpg

 photo DSC_9848.jpg
One early (late?) little plum blossom

 photo DSC_9851.jpg  photo DSC_9860.jpg  photo DSC_9870.jpg

 photo DSC_9867.jpg
Flowering bamboo, a rare sight

 photo DSC_9874.jpg  photo DSC_9878.jpg
Plant and flower close-ups

 photo DSC_9879.jpg  photo DSC_9881.jpg  photo DSC_9884.jpg
Around the lake area

 photo DSC_9886.jpg  photo DSC_9897.jpg
Across the tracks

 photo DSC_9890.jpg  photo DSC_9892.jpg  photo DSC_9893.jpg  photo DSC_9907.jpg  photo DSC_9921.jpg  photo DSC_9922.jpg  photo DSC_9929.jpg  photo IMG_0609.jpg
Cosmos in Kairakuen

 photo DSC_9911.jpg
Woman walking five little yip-yip dogs

 photo IMG_0613.jpg
This is my current iPhone background

 photo DSC_9943.jpg  photo DSC_9945.jpg  photo DSC_9951.jpg
Oarai shrine

 photo DSC_9949.jpg  photo DSC_9948.jpg
Close-up of the shrine decor

 photo DSC_9956.jpg  photo DSC_9959.jpg  photo DSC_0044.jpg
Stairs down to the ocean

 photo DSC_9960.jpg  photo DSC_0049.jpg  photo DSC_0035.jpg  photo DSC_0039.jpg  photo DSC_0066.jpg  photo DSC_0072.jpg
Torii on the rocks

 photo DSC_0077.jpg

 photo DSC_0080.jpg

 photo DSC_0082.jpg  photo DSC_0083.jpg
Shuuin from the two shrines

 photo DSC_0172.jpg

Day two was driving north to Kita-Ibaraki where a famous waterfall called Fukuroda, which is famous for freezing solid in winter. We had lunch in that area, then drove again to the coast to visit Rokkakudo, a famous pavilion on the edge of the water, but unfortunately it was closed so we just took a few pictures and headed back onto the highway.

 photo DSC_0085.jpg  photo DSC_0086.jpg
Walking to Fukuroda Falls

 photo DSC_0089.jpg
Walking up to the falls

 photo DSC_0093.jpg  photo DSC_0095.jpg  photo DSC_0097.jpg  photo DSC_0098.jpg  photo DSC_0125.jpg  photo DSC_0131.jpg
Fukuroda Falls from the lower balcony

 photo DSC_0101.jpg  photo DSC_0136.jpg
Area character… there are a million of these everywhere

 photo DSC_0104.jpg  photo DSC_0121.jpg  photo DSC_0122.jpg
Fukuroda Falls from the upper platforms

 photo DSC_0123.jpg
Little shrine located in the tunnel

 photo DSC_0143.jpg  photo DSC_0149.jpg
Heading back down to the parking lot

 photo DSC_0151.jpg  photo DSC_0161.jpg  photo DSC_0162.jpg
Snacking a bit first on Ayu (type of grilled fish), yuzu-miso dango, and apple pie

 photo DSC_0166.jpg  photo DSC_0167.jpg
Late lunch of kenchin soup and flavored konyaku

 photo DSC_0170.jpg  photo DSC_0178.jpg  photo DSC_0190.jpg
Often you can go down these steps to the platform to see Rokkakudo from a different angle, but the tide was too high

 photo DSC_0185.jpg  photo DSC_0206.jpg  photo DSC_0210.jpg
We were only able to see the lantern, not the pavilion itself.

So that was Ibaraki, and now I am all caught up on posts!