spring outings part 1

So, I know it's kind of late to be posting this, especially since I'm no longer living in Wakayama... but whatever! 
Spring is a great time in Japan. it's no longer cruelly cold, but the unrelenting sun and hot / humid temperatures of summer have not set in. also you can see many trees blooming with cherry blossoms, but there is only a full week or so of them in full bloom before they all fall to the wind.

My first blossom sighting was at Kimiidera on March 3rd

On March 4th I cycled out to Nara prefecture 
which was about 100 km ride both ways,
I didn't really go there to do anything, but there was a sort of fox shrine.
cute :)

Late in February I started to get really sad
because the weather was starting to get warmer
and I didn't feel like the winter had been satisfactory
so on March 10th I up and left to Niigata for a weekend!
Niigata is a long ways north from wakayama, in the Hokuriku region.
it's also north of nagano.
I went skiing at Ishiuchi Maruyama and Gala ski resort.
it rained a bit Sunday morning, but quickly turned to snow and then snowed nonstop for 26 hours.
on monday, my second day skiing, I ducked a rope and ended up in the woods between two mountains.
I was out there for a long time, maybe 4 or 5 hours. oops. but check out this sweet picture I got.
it was really amazing to be out in the snow trekking around after such a long time away. eventually I made my way to the bottom of the mountain, and took a gondola up to midstation again!
here's me after the gondola ride!
a beautiful view. there is amazing skiing in japan other than nagano and hokkaido!
The town, Minami Uonuma, reminded me of Vernon or someplace like that.
it's kind of out of the way--but still easy to get to, as I only had to take one train from the bus depot.
I did another bike ride on March 18th... this one was about 70km, I think.
 I went up to Sennan in Osaka prefecture, then got lost for a bit 
and somehow managed to get back to Wakayama by a winding road. 
After these pictures were taken it started raining heavily. 
and then it would stop and start sometimes.
the last half hour or so of my ride I was really fighting the wind and rain. 
and when I got home, I found out an inclement weather warning had been issued for that day. oops!
What tree is this?
I kind of liked this scene... the cherry tree in the middle of a dead field was striking!
on the 24th I had another crazy ride. I rode about 70 km to koyasan mountain. in total my trip was 130 km, I think. Koyasan is a historical town famous for buddhist temples, and it's one of Wakayama's popular tourist sights, and also a world heritage site so I knew I had to see it before I left Wakayama. 
Being in the middle of nowhere, and so high up in the mountains it's a bit hard to get to though.
I wrote a separate entry here!

On March 25th (the day after my 130 km trip to Koyasan... what was I thinking?!) I decided to do a bit more exploring around Wakayama city. I guess there are quite a few spots that I haven't seen yet. 
first I went to Wakaura and ended up in the southwestern tip of Wakayama city, which has a small mountain and is hard to get to. I found a pleasant garden called Bandoko Teien where I ate my lunch :)
Later I went to Marina city, a tourist trap on the border of Wakayama and Kainan.
A view of Wakaura.
a view of part of bandoko Teien. (the peninsula, not the islands)
a view from Bandoko Teien.
A view from Bandoko Teien.
Bandoko Teien.
A view from Bandoko Teien
Flowers near Bandoko Teien
Near Wakaura and Bandoko Teien 

Wild sakura trees at Wakaura

At Wakaura

a view of Marina city (not an actual city)

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