Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: The Beach

Shonan Beach 

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day. Dave and I decided to walk around Shonan Beach and Enoshima Island. When Dave and I went in January, we had amazing views of Mt. Fuji. Today we had a hazy view of Mt. Fuji and a view of a bunch of surfers!

We stopped for a burger at J.S. Cafe. I had an avocado cheeseburger. Dave opted for the sunny-side up egg and bacon burger.

I love the advice on the burger wrapper / holder.

We walked along the beach after lunch. It was fun to be back in a beach scene. One thing that remains the same about a beach town – bikes! So many bikes!

This picture reminded me of our friend, Mark, in Virginia Beach. As a surfer, he transits to and from the beach on his bike with his surfboard. I looked for him in the water today.

Saturday started Golden Week. A little research helped me better understand the holiday period. The four holidays between the week of April 29 through May 5 were established in 1948. The way the calendar falls in 2017, Golden Week is about 9 days. Many businesses give employees time off making it a great time to vacation.

April 29th was Showa Day. Showa Day  commemorates the birthday of the deceased Showa Emperor Hirohito, who reigned for 62 years.

May 3rd is Constitution Memorial Day. It celebrates the Japanese constitution that came into effect on May 3, 1947.

May 4th is Greenery Day. It is a time for the Japanese honor nature. Also, it a time to reflect on the link between humanity and the environment and appreciate nature’s abundant gifts.

May 5th is Children’s Day. The day celebrates the health and happiness of children. It was formally known as boy’s day. On this day carp streamers are flown. Carp are a symbol of stamina and strength.

We have been warned to be prepared for crowds everywhere. Walking around Shonan Beach and Enoshima, we moved with the masses.

My favorite picture was of this surfer finding his own spot to take a nap. Forget the crowds or surf. It’s time to nap!

Inamuragasaki Beach

A friend told me about Inamuragasaki Beach. She described it as a beautiful black sand beach with an amazing view of Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). Inamuragasaki Beach is located in Kamakura and accessible by the Enoshima electric train line. Here was my route today. It took about 10 minutes longer to get there than it did to come home. It’s all about train timing!

After I arrived in Inamuragasaki, it was a quick walk to the beach to see this view! Enoshima Island is the foreground of the picture.

A small video to help you enjoy the beach!

Despite the chilly sea breeze, I enjoyed my walk along the beach. Nothing brings me more peace than walking along a beach listening to waves crash. There were a couple bridges to cover where streams connected with Sagami Bay. Another reason to love Japan. They build bridges at the beach where drainage may cause your feet to get wet! Inamuragasaki Park is in the distance.

As I continued my walk along the beach to Inamuragasaki Park, I couldn’t resist turning around and snapping another picture of Mt. Fuji. It was such a beautiful day. Simultaneously, as I walked the black sand was strangely beautiful and mesmerizing with the crashing waves.

Even on a winter day, the park was lovely.  Besides the views, there was a small daffodil garden.

The park had multiple levels. Each connected with stairs, of course!

With each level, the view became even more magnificent! The first picture I am standing in front of the statue. The caption wasn’t in English so, I am not sure of the meaning.

Interesting statue on the lowest level of the park.

The view from above the daffodil garden…

I took this picture from the middle level. The trees framed Mt. Fuji nicely.

Finally, the view from the top!

We can definitely stop to walk the beach and through the park when you visit. There are a couple restaurants I’m interested in visiting as well!

Phi Phi Island Excursion

Phi Phi (pronounced PP) Island is a group of islands (Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley) off the south east coast of Phuket. They became a very popular tourist destination after the filming of “The Beach” in 2000 with Leonardo DiCaprio. We went on a tour of the islands that included a round trip transfer from our hotel, snacks, snorkeling and lunch. We rode on a speedboat enabling us to get close to many viewpoints and docking off the coast of the islands. I took a picture of the brochure to show you our route.

The trip from the hotel to the Marina took about an hour. During this trip, we went up and over the mountain and were able to see some of the inland parts of the island. After getting underway, the first part of the trip was very bumpy and rough. We were excited for our first stop! Our first stop on the tour was off the coast of Phi Phi Don where we were able to snorkel of the coast for about 45 minutes. The water was very clear and refreshing! Here are few pictures I captured using our underwater camera.

After snorkeling, we made a quick sightseeing stop at Monkey Beach. We were not permitted to leave the boat to see the monkeys. Instead we could capture a few photos of them from the boat.

A short trip on the boat took us to Phi Phi Don where we enjoyed a buffet lunch. After lunch we had a little time to walk along the beach and through the town. It was a quiet island community.

After lunch we were back on the boat and rode past viking cave. It is located on the eastern side of Phi Phi Ley. The cave is not open to tourist in order to protect the wall paintings of elephants and various boats. The paintings are suspected to have been painted by sea gypsies or pirates seeking shelter in the cave from passing storms. Also, inside the caves are swift nests. Swifts are a bird similar to a swallow. The bamboo scaffolding outside the cave is used to access the nests. Simultaneously, there are a lot of platforms and alters used for meditation prior to entering the caves. The birds and caves are protected and formal permission must be obtained prior to entering.

Our next stop was Pileh Lagoon. Here we were able to enter a narrow and very shallow lagoon. It was breathtaking.

As we rode toward Maya Baya, we passed huge islands /rocks. Our guide told us this was “ground zero” of the 2004 tsunami. This was one of the first islands hit by the wave. You can see the erosion from the wave.

Next we anchored in Maya Bay. When you see pictures of Thailand beaches, it is highly probable you are seeing a picture taken in Maya Bay. It is majestic. There were as I have mentioned, lots of tourist. We still enjoyed walking the beach, taking pictures and swimming in the water.

Our final stop was Khai Nok Island. Here we were able to have a snack on the beach and a delicious adult beverage. I opted for a piña colada in a freshly opened coconut. Dave enjoyed a chilled Chang. (Chang became our favorite Thai beer during our visit.)

I do have to share one sad observation from our trip. Ecotourism has a price. Khai Nok Island was covered in freshly crushed coral. This picture captures the number of boats and tourists. I count at least 10 boats in this picture and it was only one area where they were docking. That represents a 250-300 people in one day stopping at the same. This island receives boats all day long.

And this picture shows the broken coral.

The experience was amazing. It was also a good reminder to keep our eyes open to everything and make kinder decisions. It was because of this, we decided not to do an elephant trekking tour or even the elephant bathing. We couldn’t bring ourselves to support an ecotourism company that exploits animals.

After our stop on Khai Nok Island, we were back on the boat and heading back to the marina. We went up and over the mountain and back to Patong Beach. What an amazing day!

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