In the summer of 2012 I spent 4 months in Japan for my externship. In my spare time I traveled a lot and on this page you can get an idea of the places I visited and the adventures I had.
On the map below I marked the places I have been to. Below that I included short stories and some pictures from each destination. Click the bars to open them up and find out more about a particular place!
NOTE: This page is still far from complete and will be updated later.
During my stay in Japan, I visited Kyoto 3 times in total. The first time was together with Stephan and we visited Higashiyama (東山区) and Sakyō (左京区) in the east. The second time was during Gion matsuri (祇園祭) and was spent completely in the central part of the city (中区). The third time I went alone to visit the north-western part of Kyoto, Kita and Ukyō wards (北区・右京区)
Mid July, after 2 months of hard work, it was time for the annual lab trip (研究室旅行). This year, the trip would take us to the east, into the Chūbu region (中部地方), where we would visit Fukui (福井県), Gifu (岐阜県) and (briefly) Ishikawa (石川県) prefectures. We departed early in the morning on the 14th of August and rode east in our rented cars. I would soon learn that the schedule of this lab trip was all but fixed, and, apart from some shared activities at the organized meeting places, much of the program was spent driving between these destinations, every car making their own decisions on which sites to visit on the way.
This section contains a compilation of photographs taken by Ukaji-san, Gotō-san and me.
On the first day, I shared a car with Gotō-san, Tanio-san, Minami-san, Ukaji-san and Caroline. After a brief toll road stop at Ōtsu (大津) to view Lake Biwa (琵琶湖), our first real stop was at Hikone Castle (彦根城), one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan and one of only four castles listed as national treasure (I would later visit one more national treasure castle at Himeji). Ordered in 1603 by Ii Naokatsu (井伊 直勝) Hikone Castle was constructed with parts from Ōtsu Castle (the main keep), Nagahama Castle and Sawayama Castle. Construction was completed in 1622. At the beginning of the Meiji era in 1868, when many castles were scheduled to be dismantled, Hikone Castle was kept intact at a request from the emperor himself.
After exploring Hikone Castle, we continued our trip north to our final destination for the day. At Suisensō (水仙荘), an inn just off the coast west of Echizen (越前) in Fukui, we had two student presentations (both in Japanese) about cloud computing and methane hydrate, before we finished the day with a delicious barbecue on the terrace overlooking the Sea of Japan. After we filled our bellies, there was still ample time for some drinks, which we enjoyed until quite early next morning.
After not so many hours of sleep, we all got up quite early next morning to continue our roadtrip along the coastline towards the north. The first stop was not far from the place we had stayed the night before and was called Tōjinbō (東尋坊). Tōjinbō is located near Mikuni-chō (三国町), a small town that since 2006 merged into by the city of Sakai (坂井市) in the very north of Fukui. The area is characterized by a series of basaltic cliffs whose rocks were formed some 12 to 13 million years ago during the Miocene epoch. Throughout the years, erosion from sea waves has shaped these cliffs into their characteristic appearance. Legends about the place differ in details, but generally agree insofar as that a Buddhist monk was at one point pushed off these cliffs and returned as a ghost to haunt the area. These days, Tōjinbō is also a well-known place in Japan to commit suicide. According to wikipedia, as many as 25 people every year commit suicide by jumping off the cliffs.
Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Kenroku-en (兼六園, Six Attributes Garden), one of the 'Three Great Gardens of Japan' (日本三名園, Nihon Sanmeien)
Gero (下呂) Gero-Spa Yamagataya Gifu Hotel
Yōrō Falls (養老の滝 Yōrō no Taki), part of the 'One Hundred Waterfalls of Japan' (日本の滝百選 Nihon no taki hyakusen)