十和田湖 Lake Towada

We visited the famous lake Towada in Aomori, first when we were going there I wasn’t thinking much of it since the country where I am from has over 200,000 lakes but when we arrived there I was shocked how beautiful it was and how different it is with all the breathtaking mountains surrounding the lake.

Bit info! the largest crater lake in Honshu and actually it was interesting to drive there since when we were arriving to the beach the GPS was saying that we were in Akita but soon as we parked there it said we arrived to Aomori. The lake is half Aomori and half Akita area.
Towada is the 12th largest lake in Japan which was also a bit shocking since it was so big compared to the lakes I have seen before. My girlfriend said that it was too cold to swim in it but someday I will try tho !

十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada
Also I saw a lot of swans there.
十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada Swan十和田湖 Lake Towada

The lake itself was very captivating and also for some reason you get a weird spiritual feeling there as well.
十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada

This small island was actually a shrine for one of the many gods that Japan has.
十和田湖 Lake Towada
The view from the mountains surrounding the lake was spectacular!
十和田湖 Lake Towada十和田湖 Lake Towada
I should have taken these photos when we drove here earlier since now when I was taking the photos you can’t see the far side of the lake because a snow storm is rising up.
十和田湖 Lake Towada

This is one of the many famous shrines that are in the forests next to the lake.
Shrine in 十和田湖 Lake TowadaShrine in 十和田湖 Lake TowadaShrine in 十和田湖 Lake TowadaShrine in 十和田湖 Lake TowadaShrine in 十和田湖 Lake TowadaShrine in 十和田湖 Lake TowadaShrine in 十和田湖 Lake Towada

Overall it was great to visit that lake! Thanks to my girl who I love so much and her parents !

十和田湖 Lake Towada

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Shrines,Cat and Mountain

1st day of the new year. Bit tired after the new years party that I thought would have ended after the year changed but it continued three days after which was great !
It is a tradition to go to visit your shrines in the first few days as well and check your fortune for the new year so we visited some.

In the morning when we woke up I was playing with the cute cat that lived there called Charo whose photos you have seen before in my site !
朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo
In this photo he is eating my girlfriends hand !
朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo
I saw that there was a good weather outside so I quickly went out with my camera to take photos of one of the mountains that surrounds the Aomori area.
This mountain is called Iwate-san. I love mountains since in Finland we don’t have any so it is always a big thing for me to see one.
岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate

After my time with Charo ended and I took enough photos of the mountain, we left to see some of the beautiful shrines of the area near by. One of the shrines we visited had a great looking dragon ice statue and since I love dragons I was amazed of it!
2012 is the year of the Dragon if you haven’t yet heard and also my sign is dragon so this will be my year !
Ice dragon statue in AomoriIce dragon statue in AomoriIce dragon statue in AomoriIce dragon statue in Aomori

Now all the fortune things that were a bunny/rabbit last year 2011 has changed in to dragons which is wicked heh 😀
Year of the dragon 2012! my year

Shrines in AomoriShrines in AomoriShrines in Aomori

The first days of the year you go to your shrine and burn your last years fortunes and talismans and get a new one for the new year.
Shrines in AomoriShrines in Aomori

if you like cute cat paws like this … Like my facebook page Photographer Ari Helminen
朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo

Autumn trip to Mt.Takao

Last week we climbed Mt.takao, one of the best places to escape from the busy life in Tokyo. It doesn’t take a long time to go there and not that difficult at all.

I got some good photos taken in there but since the autumn leafs had already started to fall I could not get any good autumn photos there but since I got so many good ones in Kyoto I wasn’t disappointed.

These small statues are very interesting at one of the many temples at the mountain top.
Mount Takao!Mount Takao!Mount Takao!

This interesting looking cloud was on top of Mt. Fuji, that you can see on top of Mt.takao.
Mount Takao!

We at the closest Sunkus buying some snacks to take up with us.
Trip to Mt.Takao

Again we used the rope way to get up. (F-ing scared when you have the fear heights like I do)
Trip to Mt.Takao

Trains are always pretty empty when going to Mt.takao
Trip to Mt.Takao
Trip to Mt.Takao

No idea what flavor this ice cream actually was but it was deeeelicious!
Trip to Mt.Takao

I absolutely love mountain views !
Mount Takao!

Dango is very normal food at the mountain ! When you go there, you have to taste em. Of course you can buy ’em at Tokyo as well.
Mount Takao!

Doesn’t that cloud look interesting ?
Mount Takao!

And when we got down from the mountain I was like this cute doggy.. Tired and sleepy
Trip to Mt.Takao

Third amazing day at Kyoto and Osaka

Sorry that it took this long to upload these photos ! The internet connection at my place been fighting with me a bit.

This day we visited only 2 different famous places in Kyoto and than we jumped to the local rapid train from Kyoto station to Osaka, to see the world famous Osakajo Castle.

Our buss left at 11.55pm (23.55) so we did have time but we knew that after we climbed on top of Fushimi inari Shrine (which is basically a mountain) that we would be very tired after that to start going all over Kyoto again. We walked to Tofukuji from Fushimi inari because it is in a walking distance and than took the train to Osaka. My first impression of Osaka was not that great I guess I am too much of a Tokyo lover, I do hear many people saying that they prefer Osaka over Tokyo but I don’t.

that day the visiting order was

in Kyoto
1st. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
2nd. Tofuku ji
and then in Osaka
3rd. Osakajo Castle
4th. Shopping streets of Kyoto (souvenirs)

Fushimi inari was breathtaking!
Couple of tips for all of you who want to go there
-Go very early preferably 6-7am, if you want to take beautiful photos and walk in peace
-Bring very good walking shoes ( there is a loooot of stairs)

I took way too much photos at this place because to me it was so beautiful with the colors and the spiritual feeling it had.
Here are some photos that I took.
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社

This place is very famous for the amount of Torii it has and now you will see why.
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社

They continued all the way the mountain and of course we climbed on top to see all of them.
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社
No worries there was a vending machine !
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社

Climb a mountain – Check
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社

To make you understand how long way it is up there I tried to take few shots to show you.
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社

So many stairs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When you go early enough you do not get this kind of photos. (just took this to show you that going very early is the best choice)
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社
Putting up a new Torii
Fushimiinari shrine 伏見稲荷大社

We finally got down and we were a bit tired so we took a quick stop at a nice local cafe which had very good breakfast set. After we were all rested we left to see the famous Tofukuji Temple, we knew that it was going to be full of people but that did not bother us that much because of the beautiful autumn leafs.

Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺Tofukuji Temple 東福寺

We took the first train out of Tofukuji to Kyoto station and there I had a delicious hot dog quickly and then we took the next semi rapid train to Osaka station, was very fast to be honest.
The Osaka castle is the 2nd real castle I have seen in Japan besides Odawara Castle. What can I say I love Japanese castles! It was very beautiful and since my girlfriend is a bit of a Japanese history otaku (geek) she was the perfect tour guide and knew the history of the castle as well.

I hope you enjoy the photos I took of it !
Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城Osakajo Castle 大阪城

And we returned back to Kyoto and did our final shopping spree before our night buss back to the best city in the world called TOKYO ! It was a bit sad to leave Kyoto but glad to go back to Tokyo since that is the place we both know very well.

Here it was our trip to Kyoto & Osaka, did you enjoy the photos ? would be glad to hear some comments 🙂

I will make a post of some extra photos I took in Kyoto and Osaka soon, also today I will make few other posts since a lot have happened this week and last including the Finnish independence day party at the Finnish embassy of Japan I went and much more!

ps. To all of you Car & car babe lovers around the world. I’m going tomorrow to the famous Tokyo Motor show and I will do my best to get some great shots for y’all !