Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Okama crater lake at Zao Quasi National Park

We had another motorcycle trip and this time we rode 74 km to the south-west where one of the major tourist sites in Tohoku area called Zao Okama crater lake is located. He told me the day before that it would take 2 hours to get there considering the distance. Being a biker, he was thrilled with the plan. But me? Na-ah. I mean, two hours on a motorcycle? I couldn`t even imagine how that would feel like. But I came to quickly realize that I should take all the opportunities given for us to have some adventures out there while we can. We have the motorcycle, we have time, we have cameras, and we are certainly still blessed with our physical strengths. So, off we rode then!

This is when I wanted to take some pictures of the woods and needed to take a short break after sitting on Booboo for an hour. While waiting for me, he checked the map.

This road led us to a very long and steep zig-zag driving line going up to the mountain. Yup, we were climbing up the mountain with the lil` Booboo. I wish I could take some pictures of the climbing lines, but it was foggy up there and we couldn` clearly see anything except the road itself. I checked the thermometer and it was 15 C, ten degrees lower than in our city.

After our steep zig-zagging ride for like 30 minutes, we finallly got there.
This sign shows us the directions for two different mountains. We started from the right first.

See a small house up there? It is actually a temple. So we climbed up and boy, it might look easy (and I did think it was easy), but the stairs (not visible here) were dead steep I couldn`t speak a word while climbing on them!

On top, finally. The weather changed very quickly here, and very extreme. Like from this... this. In 20 minutes. And the cloud was not above us anymore. It`s beside us. That`s how high we were.

Very earthy colors, don`t you think?

Then we headed to the opposite direction and this time was closer to the lake.

This lake is also called as Five Colors Lake because rumor has it that the color changes five times a day along with the angle of the sun.

I didn`t get to see the five-color thing, but I think that`s because we were there for only a few hours, which was apparently not enough to see the whole changes. After all, I considered my self lucky to get to see this sublime view of emerald-colored crater lake under the not-raining weather.

I thought people can`t get too close to the lake for the safety reason, but it turned out I was wrong. See two veery tiny people standing near the edge of the lake? Hint: seven o`clock.
No, we didn`t go there, of course. First, we wanted to go home before dark considering the dangerous challenging road, and second, I`m (always) a chicken. I was, am, and will always be one.

Done shooting the lake, he hiked down through a steep trail with greenery surrounds us.

When I told him that I can (proudly) call my self a hiker now, he said, a real hiker would start climbing up right from the base of the mountain with his own feet, not on a motorcycle. Oh, laugh all you want, baby. With a trail like this...

...and this?? Oh yes, I`m definitely a hiker.

A dedicated photographer would change his lenses to suit the objects under any circumstances. And it seems like I am never getting near to be one. I was busy breathing in and out I couldn`t bother to change my lens when I intended to go to the macro world. So these are the "macro"est shoots I`ve got with my regular zoom lens. And please don`t ask me what flowers they are. I think I should get a book about flowers and trees.

The weather changed again and this time the fog started to blanket all over the place.

Yes, that`s me, thinking how much calories we burned off here. I`m sorry, but I`m just getting all crazy about calories these days, even on a mountain!

And me again, exhausted on my way up to the "peak". Well, I kind of posed for the photo, but I was really out of breath! I thought I`d find something to see up there, but when we got there, all I could see is another rocky trail going up to a higher land. Oh, maybe next time, when I`m better prepared. With better shoes.

So we hiked down after this lady.

And we stopped by at a ropeway station. Under this kind of weather, I was surprised to see that some people actually still took the rides!

Here is the last flower shot before we left there.

And of course, the souvenir! We got a set of kokeshi, handmade wooden dolls. Cute, right? The dolls are kids wearing Japanese traditional clothing for each season. From left to right is spring, summer, fall (facing upward), and winter. I really should get a better photo of them. Oh, cute cute cute!

Two hours later, we finally got home unbelievably exhausted from the hiking and riding. We were too tired even to sleep that night! But looking back at how we`ve spent our day getting closer to the nature (and the clouds!) really made my day. Our day.
And I seriously need a pair of hiking shoes. And a book for plants` names.


  1. omg! sosososoSO gorgeous! very picturesque...and what a rewarding trip!

  2. Wow! You have some awesome photos here. Living in Florida we don't see any mountains, but we do see the weather change quickly and change back again! The Lake is spectacular, so interesting with the color changes. Thanks for taking us along!

  3. This place is gorgeous! Love all your pictures. Must be so relax up there. OF course, the wooden dolls are just too adorable! :)

  4. Thanks, everyone!!

    Rita: Yes, it was totally worth it. Not sure if we were tired because of the riding or the hiking, though. :p

    Lindsey: Glad you enjoyed our trip! The weather did change a lot we felt cold and got sweaty at the same time.

    Amy: It felt really good up there, indeed :)

  5. Although I am definitely a city person and can't stand long stays in the country, I must say these landscapes look incredible. The lake is a bit like from a science-fiction film: the colour is unbelievable!

  6. Sissi: I am too a city person (which means I feel a lot safer in a building than a forest, lol), but lately I started to enjoy hiking in the nature. Plus there were so many amazing colors, shapes, and views I found out there. This lake is definitely a good example for those reasons :)

  7. You both went there by motorcycle? Serius, pantat nya ngga sakit? Hehehehe... kan lama tuh, perjalanannya? Pasti berhenti2 yah.... ^_* . Keren banget fotonya, neng!

  8. Kikikik....sakit mbaak, tp di punggung, kaki, dan bahu. Tumpukan capek naik motor dan jalan2nya :D Pas berangkat berhenti 2 kali bentar ngecek jalan, tp pas pulangnya terus aja sampe sendai :p

  9. Hi Arudhi! I've never been here but have visited similar crater lake before. What a vast view! I really miss traveling in Japan. There are so many places that I haven't been and I guess I'm relying on your motorcycle trips for more photos. Hehee.

  10. Such an amazing trip! And those photos! I envy you. Really do. Except that I am not that keen to be on motorcycle. Haha. I thought those are wooden salt and pepper shakers. I love everything Japanese.

  11. Nami: I will certainly, and gladly share our future trips with you! Assuming we bring home some good photos of the trips, hehe..

    Jun: The salt and pepper shakers idea is truly genius! How come I`ve never seen anything like that here. Now you made me want to make holes in them :D

  12. jealous! looks like a great outdoor adventure :) yay, hiker!

  13. Yaaay! Finally, someone called me a hiker! :DD

  14. So beautiful pictures! i love it, thanks for sharing.