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This is Page 2 of 3 - the best of May 2011!
posted: May 31st, 2011
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This page begins with May 5th in Kazuya's hometown - Funagata, in Yamagata Prefecture. On this page we take you through the end of May 6th and a trip to Hijiori Onsen (Hot Spring), in Yamagata Prefecture. Click on any thumbnail to begin.

Begin May 5th
  Now it's May 5th and we're going to hike up the creek valley behind Kazuya's house in Funagata, Yamagata Prefecture. This first shot is a Viola vaginata showing the flowers and the leaves. The 2nd shot shows how much snow was still remaining as we hiked up the creek. Last year when we came here there was much less snow, and 2 years ago the snow was completely gone on this date. The 3rd photo is a stunning shot of a single Trout Lily flower (Erythronium japonicum).
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  The first shot in this row shows you a beautiful Viola rostrata var. japonica. The 2nd shot is a Cyanoptila cyanomelana - a kind of bluebird. The 3rd shot is a Heloniopsis orientalis - we were surprised to find several colors of this plant in a small area. In most places where we see this flower they are all the same color. I don't know what to call this color, but please compare it with the first 2 shots in the following row.
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  Here are 2 more shots of Heloniopsis orientalis which are both quite a different color. The 3rd shot is a Viola kusanoana x V. rostrata.
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  In first position in this row is a Viola kusanoana x V. rostrata. The 2nd shot shows you both a Trout Lily (Erythronium japonicum) and an Anemone (Anemone pseudoaltaica) in the same shot. The 3rd shot is a Trillium smallii.
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  The first shot here shows a grouping of Trillium smallii mixed with Corydalis sp. and also some Trout Lilies (Erythronium japonicum). The 2nd shot shows an abundance of Trout Lily (Erythronium japonicum flower buds. The 3rd shot shows a "forest" of horsetails along an irrigation canal.
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  Later in the day we went to Mt. Sabane (Sabaneyama) to see what we could find there. The first shot shows the scenery as we hiked up the trail. The 2nd and 3rd shots show Epigaea asiatica. This is a cute little flower which has a very interesting color. The flowers do not even look real - they are too perfect and too beautifully colored to be real.
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  Here are 2 additional shots of the Epigaea asiatica flowers and then a flower of a Viburnum sp.
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  We sighted this most amazingly dark blue colored patch of Anemone pseudoaltaica and of course we had to take several photos of it. We had never seen a patch which was so dark blue.
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  And - 2 more shots of the amazingly dark blue colored Anemone pseudoaltaica. That's all for today.
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End May 5th, Begin May 6th
  The next day - May 6th - we took a bus trip to a tiny town called Hijiori Onsen (Hot Spring). The first shot here was taken as we wound our way down the mountain highway coming into the town. The 2nd shot shows the main street of Hijiori Onsen. The 3rd shot is a map showing just how tiny this town is. Can you figure out the point that says "you are here"?
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  We have to try out every Hot Spring we see as long as the price is reasonable. The map shown just above was right in front of this Hot Spring, which only cost 200. Isn't the water of this Hot Spring beautiful? After we bathed and soaked for a while we headed up towards another hot spring. The Hot Spring we are going to go to next is shown on the map - it's located near the bottom left hand corner. We hiked over the bridge and noticed that there are bushes in the water - apparently this river is quite a bit higher now than it is in the summer, due to spring snow melt. In the 3rd shot we are hiking up the creek or small river which was directly ahead of us in the center shot. I suggest that you go back and look at the map again and you'll know right where we are.
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  As we hiked up this road we found some yellow violets - Viola brevistipulata.
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  In the first shot in this row you can see the hot spring buildings which we are headed for. The 2nd shot is a 2 shot panorama of the hot spring - the name of this one is Caldera-kan. The 3rd shot shows the inside bath. There was a nice outdoor bath here too, but none of the photos of it came out great so they are not included here.
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May06_33_34_Hijiori_HotSpring_PanoramaRC
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  Here is the shower area of this hot spring. This is to the left side of the previous shot. The 2nd shot just shows - once again - how much snow is still remaining on this 6th day of May, 2011. After we finished bathing and soaking we headed back towards "downtown" and stopped at a nice soba shop and ate lunch. Here is our soba (buckwheat) noodle lunch. And, that finishes May 6th. We took the bus to Shinjo Station and took the 3:27 PM Shinkansen Train back towards Tokyo. We were back in our apartment at about 9:00 PM.
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May06_59_Hijiori_SceneryRC
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End May 6th, End Page 2
Thanks so much for taking the time to look at this page. That's the end of this particular adventure, but please go on to Page 3 for the continuation of this month's adventures. Go To Page:


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