FIRST STOP YOKOHAMA…
The Alaska summer cruise season is over for my ship a little earlier then normal. The season ended early because we have crossed the Pacific and we are in Asia headed to the South Pacific then a stop in Hawaii on our way back to Los Angeles. I had seen 75 countries before Asia. I have not seen much of Asia which is the reason I had requested the Coral Princess.
Our first stop was to be Osaka, Japan but due to a typhon we were not able to go to that port. This made Yokohama our first port of call in Japan. On my next contract starting February 2, 2019 Yokohama will be my “home port” and I will travel the majority of the islands of Japan with 6 stops in South Korea and two in Russia.
On my first day in Yokohama and I escorted a shore excursion to Mt. Fuji. It is a very long ride from the port and we spent less than an hour to enjoy the view of this iconic mountain. We also passed through Tokyo along the way although we did not make a stop.
One of the guests on the tour had said that he had tried 14 previous times to see Mt. Fuji and this was the first time it was not covered by clouds.
I had always assumed that Mt. Fuji was covered by snow year round as every photograph I had ever seen showed it crowned with snow. Well that is just not the case. When I return in the spring on my next ship I will again make the long journey to see Mt. Fuji how I had always seen it in photos, cover with snow.
Due to fuel issues we actually spent two days in Yokohama. I got up early to beat the crowds and took a taxi to the Sankeien Gardens. The gardens were once the private home of a wealthy silk merchant Tomitaro “Sankei” Hara. He donated the gardens to the city of Yokohama and it was opened to the public in 1906.
I prefer to take photographs without anyone in them which at times can be a challenge. Arriving before any of the tour buses gives me the best chance before it became too crowded making it impossible. Once the crowds arrive getting the photograph I want becomes like two of my other favorite pass times… poker and fishing, they are also a game of patience.
I was lucky enough to have a couple arrive when I was photographing and elderly woman sketching in her note pad. It was a very tranquil scene as she sat at the foot of a foot bridge with a pagoda in the background.
The couple were dressed in traditional clothing and celebrating their recent wedding. They crossed the foot bridge stopping half way. I was able to capture on of my favorite photographs that day with the couple starting their life together and the old woman at the foot of the bridge.
Sankeien Gardens is a place I will highly recommend you seeing while in Yokohama. I spent three hours exploring the grounds. There are a number of trails to follow leading to different pagodas, temples and shrines.
There are a number of ponds to stop and feed the numerous koi or you can relax at the water’s edge and enjoy the tranquil scene.
You can climb one of the trails up a hill to the Tomyoji Temple a three tier pagoda and take another trail down past statue of buddha and different deities.
Another trail leads to another temple nestled within a grove of trees
Yet another area of the grounds led to Rinshunkaku villa that once stood on the banks of the Kinokawa River. It was originally built in 1649 and moved and rebuilt in the Sankeien Gardens from 1915-1917.
I hope you enjoy my travels to Asia…
Our next port was Hiroshima.