Because It’s There: a 400km Ride Around and Around Lake Biwa

In Japanese, bicycling a full loop around Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, is called 「ビワ1」(Biwa 1), and depending on the route you take, is about 180~200km (112~124mi). It's a concept and phrase well known among cyclists, and even promoted by the Shiga Prefectural government, and that of various cities around the lake.

It's a lovely ride to do on a long summer day, with lots to see and enjoy, as I present in the story about the first time I did it 2½ years ago, in Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake (and its Part 2).

Part of what makes it interesting is the discovery and the newness, so it's a bit boring to do again. Still, half a year later, I did it in fast, not-sightseeing mode, in this 200km (125mi) ride.

So, having done it a couple of times and looking to up my does, my thoughts went to 「ビワ2」, two loops. During the zippy attempt, the actual loop itself (that is, excluding to and from the lake) took 6h 10m, so I thought I shouldn't have too much trouble doing two of them in one day. I thought I'd give it a try on my 50th birthday, but I ended up visiting my folks in Ohio then, so it remained an unfulfilled goal.

So, I finally did it this past Wednesday, completing 408km (254 mi) in 18½ overall hours:

I intended to wake at 3am, but couldn't sleep so I got up at 2am and spent the extra time stretching the quads and hamstrings in a lazy way. Finally I set out from my house in Kyoto at 4:10am, to meet the two others I would ride with, Ionut (seen on this post), and Hatano-san (seen on this one).

Waiting with a Cup of Coffee 4:30am, eastern Kyoto, about 11°C (52°F) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus front camera 2.87mm f/2.2 at an effective 32mm — 1/15 sec, f/2.2, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting with a Cup of Coffee
4:30am, eastern Kyoto, about 11°C (52°F)

Ionut's day got off to a bad start with a puncture on the way to the meeting point, so he was a bit late to arrive. We eventually got going and climbed over the short mountain between Kyoto and the city of Otsu, to a tiny traffic circle near the lake that would be our start, middle, and end.

Ready To Start the First Loop 5:10am, Port of Otsu, about 10°C (50°F) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus front camera 2.87mm f/2.2 at an effective 32mm — 1/15 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready To Start the First Loop
5:10am, Port of Otsu, about 10°C (50°F)

We did a loop around the little grass-filled traffic circle seen in the background at the start and end of each loop, to lock in the loop and make the full loop unambiguous. And then we were off as a paceline at a brisk pace.

A paceline is when you ride with others single file, taking turns at the head of the line, and other times drafting immediately behind the others, to save energy. When you're at the front, you take group responsibility for watching for hazards, as those behind you can't see the road or side hazards because you're in the way, and when you're behind others with your wheels separated by just inches, you pay hyper attention to the movement and signals from the person in front, lest they swerve or slow down and you don't react appropriately.

Half an Hour In 5:45am, 8℃ (46℉), 35 kph (22 mph) photo by Ionut Sandu -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/19 sec, f/1.9, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Half an Hour In
5:45am, 8℃ (46℉), 35 kph (22 mph)
photo by Ionut Sandu

Most everything with the paceline went smoothly, except for one adrenaline-pumping event early on when it was still pitch dark on a middle-of-nowhere stretch of road. Hatano-san was leading the paceline, and I pulled out of it to move forward to take my turn at the front, and in the process came across a very dark hump of roadkill in the middle of the very dark (but otherwise pristine) road. It's the kind of road hazard that one could easily go over or avoid, so the danger was in the surprise. I bobbled, but thankfully did not pay the price for my inattention. I did not make that kind of mistake again.

We took even turns early on, but as the day progressed, Ionut took longer and longer turns at the front. He's by far the strongest, and wanted to train for a long endurance race he has coming up, so except for a small part of me with pride, I was happy to let him pull. All in all, he pulled for probably 80% of the day.

Gorgeous Sunrise 6:30am (1h20m into the first loop), 7℃ (45℉), 32 kph (20 mph) photo by Ionut Sandu -- Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/1500 sec, f/1.9, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Gorgeous Sunrise
6:30am (1h20m into the first loop), 7℃ (45℉), 32 kph (20 mph)
photo by Ionut Sandu

Because I spent my mental energy on riding safely (and on worrying about the total distance, and about fretting at how long it was to the next milestone, and worrying about what body part was in pain at the moment), I didn't pay much attention to the scenery, but the sunrise was gorgeous, with deep rich oranges and blues painted with a warm, rich gradient.

I'm thankful that Ionut had the energy (both physically and electronically) to take a few photos. To allow my iPhone to record the whole ride, I turned off all its antennas except for GPS (turned off WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular), put it into low-power mode, and touched it as little as possible. After 19 hours, the battery was still at 47%, so I guess I didn't need to be so severe.

But I'm glad I had it and could record my whole ride. I brought four different devices to record the ride with, and two had troubles. The iPhone worked perfectly, but my Garmin Edge 820 wouldn't even turn on. I've been having all kinds of problems with it lately, but thought I had them taken care of until the morning of the ride when it seemed to turn on but the screen didn't display anything. I brought it with me in the hopes that it'd record everything, but it was just dead weight, and it recorded nothing all day.

Then there's the Polar M460 that I bought as a backup when the Garmin started acting up. This piece-of-shit cycling computer is worth a whole blog post of ridicule on its own. It's horrible. I had to stop early in the ride to de-register my heart-rate sensor because it kept popping up HR sensor battery low messages, sometimes multiple times per second, even though the HR sensor battery was new and full. The message would stay there until I pressed a button, after which another one would come anywhere from after a few minutes, to instantly. It took a while with it's ridiculous input system to clear the HR sensor from the unit, and the resulting silence was angelic, but it seems to have decided to drop all sensor data from that point, even though it displayed it (e.g. power data) to me during the ride. These are just a few of the many problems I encounter with this unit. I sent a note to Polar, and they still haven't even responded.

I also had an old Garmin eTrex 20, which recorded everything fine.

taken at 36 kph (22 mph) photo by Ionut Sandu -- Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/90 sec, f/1.9, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
taken at 36 kph (22 mph)
photo by Ionut Sandu

In even considering to attempt this ride, I questioned whether I had the strength and endurance to complete it. A year ago I would not have given it a second thought, but this year has not been kind to my fitness, and I'm not even close to my peak. But as it turned out, I felt strong on the flats, which is most of the route.

Mentally, I didn't feel so strong, and the ride ended up being much tougher mentally than physically. Milestones along the route were so slow to come, and it was taxing to keep wondering When on earth will we get to the spot?.

Heading South in Makino 9:30am (4:20 min into first loop), 15℃ (59℉), 28 kph (18 mph) photo by Ionut Sandu -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/380 sec, f/1.9, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading South in Makino
9:30am (4:20 min into first loop), 15℃ (59℉), 28 kph (18 mph)
photo by Ionut Sandu
Aerobars -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/17 sec, f/1.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Aerobars

I'd borrowed some clip-on aerobars from a friend, which allow me to rest my elbows on the handlebar and relax in a fairly aerodynamic posture, as seen in the next photo, while maintaining good power and cadence.

photo by Ionut Sandu -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/750 sec, f/1.9, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Ionut Sandu

I really liked them, feeling natural the first time I tried them the day before. These particular ones were a bit short for me, so I did have to put some thought into a position that didn't hurt my elbows and wrists.

Perhaps six hours in, an hour before we were done with the first loop, I lamented that we wouldn't make it to the grassy traffic circle to finish the first loop by noon. Ionut said that we'd not go all the way down there, but instead cut off about 40km (25mi) of the bottom of the lake by cutting across the Great Biwa Bridge. This had been his plan all along in order to help ensure we finished at a reasonable hour, but I had clearly not understood it.

I was surprised at my reaction. I'd spent the last three or four hours worried that I'd not have the fortitude to continue, that I'd give up after the first loop, but in hearing that 40km would be cut off, I immediately told them to go ahead as they liked, but I'd continue to finish the loop. It was meaningless to me to cut off the end of the first loop (and cut off the start of the second loop, for that matter), as that would give us zero loops for the day, and I came into it planning to do two full loops if possible, but at a minimum one full loop.

We talked about the timing and how late we'd likely get home, and in the end we continued as a group to finish the full loop.

Almost Done with the First Loop Noon (7h into first loop), 21℃ (70℉) photo by Ionut Sandu -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/380 sec, f/1.9, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Almost Done with the First Loop
Noon (7h into first loop), 21℃ (70℉)
photo by Ionut Sandu
One Loop Down 12:20pm -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus front camera 2.87mm f/2.2 at an effective 32mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
One Loop Down
12:20pm

In the end, the first loop took 7:13:35, more than an hour longer than it took me last time I'd tried alone. Because we went slower, and were working as a team, I had ample physical energy, so it was with less dread than I expected that we started the second loop.

Hitano-san had been having increasing pain in his knee, so he decided to bow out at this point. It's lucky that we had continued to finish the whole loop, because had we not, then by the time he felt the need to abandon, he'd have been much farther from home.

Ionut and I continued on.

27km (16mi) into the second loop, we stopped at a cycling statue recently installed near the lakeshore.

Detour off the Cycling Path -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/8000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Detour off the Cycling Path
Ballerina Bicyclist -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/3200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Ballerina Bicyclist

The plaque says Lake Biwa, and the somewhat presumptuous Cyclist Hallowed Ground.

Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/450 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

It's a nice statue, and a nice place to pause. (It'd be nice if there were some services nearby, such as toilet or water, but I guess the lake can serve for both 😉 ).

I took the three photos above in July, on my first visit to see the new statue, on this ride.

During Our Second Loop Ionut hams it up -- Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/750 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
During Our Second Loop
Ionut hams it up

This area seems to have been hit hard by the typhoon a week or so prior, looking to have been totally covered in mud and sand, though some had already been cleared away. Many trees had toppled.

Moriyama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/850 sec, f/2.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

After leaving the statue, the next milestone for me is a change of roads in the city of Hikone. My feeling was that it would come after a short while, but it took an eternity. I've now measured it at 38.5km (24mi), and the disconnect in my mind made it the longest hour and forty minutes of the day, as I kept wondering When in hell will we get to Hikone?.

It was also perhaps one of the slowest sections, as our moving average between the statue and where we changed roads in Hikone was only 27.5kph (17mph).

It was nice to make a 90° turn at the intersection in downtown Hikone, because we'd been on the same road for hours, since the southernmost part of the loop where we crossed the Seta River that the lake drains via. Changing roads makes you feel like you're making progress.

Approaching Sunset 4:30pm, more than 12 hours into the ride -- Nagahama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Approaching Sunset
4:30pm, more than 12 hours into the ride
Nagahama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/2400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Only About Four More Hours to Go photo by Ionut Sandu -- Nagahama, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Ionut Sandu
402SH at an effective 30mm — 1/1400 sec, f/1.9, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Only About Four More Hours to Go
photo by Ionut Sandu

Half an hour after this shot, my distance for the day passed my previously-longest ride, the 293km (182mi) Coffee Round Trip to Amanohashidate. That ride was much more difficult than this one, though, because it had a lot more mountains, and a lot more wind. Riding around Lake Biwa can often see strong headwinds all the way around, but we got quite lucky on this trip, and there was not much wind one way or the other for most of the day.

After that was a section that I was really not looking forward to, a 2km (1.2 mi) hill that surprised me during the first loop. Most of the route is pretty flat, and I'd not done that particular section of road on previous Biwa loops, but our route used that road this time both because it's the most direct way, and anyway, the other options are closed due to landslides.

The hill, 2km at 6%, isn't normally a big deal, but I had no idea it existed, and it just kept going up and up in long straightaways separated by bends, with me hoping each bend was the end only to find out that another long straightaway awaited. It was a bit tough, mentally.

I was really not looking forward to that grind again, but in the end I was happy to finish it only about a minute slower the second time (7:19 vs. 6:10).

Shirohige Shrine Gate 7:06pm, 15 hours into my ride -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Shirohige Shrine Gate
7:06pm, 15 hours into my ride

There was a full moon helping to light our way, and helping, I thought, to light the shrine gate, so I thought the iPhone camera would be able to do better. Alas.

The first ride I ever did that exceeded 100km was to this place, 2½ years ago, as seen in Pleasant 105km Bike Ride From Kyoto, Along Lake Biwa, to Takashima’s Shirohige Shrine, but I'd visited here long before. Almost nine years ago, I used it as the subject for the photos in the camera-technology writeup Overexposure and Underexposure, and the Compensation Thereof.

I felt great during the last couple of hours because I knew we were closing in on the finish. On the other hand, Ionut (who still continued to pull most of the time) started feeling discomfort in one of his knees. That's never fun.

Throughout the 18.5-hour ride, most everything hurt at one time or another. I had periods where one knee would start to hurt, and I'd stress about how bad it might become, but after an hour or two of stress I would eventually notice that it didn't hurt anymore, and feel relieved. Half a day later, it (or the other knee) might start hurting again, for a couple of hours.

The biggest pain was with my neck. When you're riding in an aero position, your body is as horizontal with the road as possible, so in order to see where you're going you have to really bend your neck in a way that's uncomfortable for long periods.

Two Full Loops Done! 8:30pm -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus front camera 2.87mm f/2.2 at an effective 32mm — 1/15 sec, f/2.2, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Two Full Loops Done!
8:30pm

The second loop took an hour longer than the first (8:05:52). We had stopped and relaxed more, and had more stretches were we laid off the gas.

By this point I'd ridden 368.7km (229mi), and with about 11km to get home, I was looking at a total of about 380km, a distance so tantalizingly close to 400 that I just had to go for it. At first Ionut joined me for an extra excursion to give the additional distance, but his knee was really bothering him, so he played it smart and eventually headed home.

I rode south to do a 2.1km Criterium segment out in the countryside among rice fields. It was pitch dark except for the almost-full moon, so I didn't go all out, but I went faster than just light cruising. (I had flashing lights both front and rear, but they are to be seen, not to see.) After such a long day, I was happy to maintain a decent speed — 32kph (20mph) — for its duration.

Then I headed home by not quite the most direct route, to increase my chances of cresting 400km before arriving home.

To get back to Kyoto, I had to climb over a small mountain, and wow, this is where I came to a grinding halt. I just had no power for climbing. My best time on the last bit of the climb is 92 seconds, but this time it took 3:57. It probably would have been faster to walk. But when I did get to the top, I checked my distance and saw that it had just crested 400km, so I was thrilled.

I'd left home at about 4:10am, and returned at about 10:40pm. Strava says the elapsed time was 18:29:02.

With modern GPS track recorders, there's often a lot of slop and uncertainty with how it determines your location at each moment during the trip, and so a lot of variety in how the connect-the-dots distance adds up. I often record my rides with multiple devices, and see multi-kilometer differences even on short 50km rides, so I expected the three tracks I recorded on this long ride would show a huge discrepancy. I was shocked to see that the three lengths agreed to within 200m! I guess the lack of valleys on the route helped GPS reception. I used the shortest of the three to upload, resulting in 408.0km (253.5mi).

I felt remarkably good, and the next day was fine, other than my neck, which hurt, and a few tender spots on the derriere. For the former, I went for a massage at Ken-chan's. I rode again a few days later (this ride) and felt fine, even setting a PR on a short steep climb.

It's sort of stupid to ride for 400km only to arrive where you started, especially when your pace disallows you to drink in the lovely views, but since I can't ride really fast, I'll take my satisfaction where I can, and I'm so very pleased to have a 400+km ride under my belt.

It took only a few days for me to start thinking 「ビワ3」.


2017’s Typhoon #21 (Lan) was Quite the Doozy for Kyoto
Recently-Cleared Destruction remnants of trees that were blown across the road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Recently-Cleared Destruction
remnants of trees that were blown across the road

This past weekend Typhoon #21 of the season (Lan) blew past, and it was quite the different experience from most. (It was the 21st typhoon in the western Pacific this year, but only the second or third to have much effect on Kyoto.)

It looked like it would make its closest approach to Kyoto late in the evening, so the day leading up to it was blustery and rainy. I find it fun to ride in weather like that, so just as I did a ride in the lead-up to a typhoon in August, I went out for a bicycle ride in the blustery afternoon, doing a simple Kyoto Heart Loop in the clockwise direction.

The ride (see at Strava) ended up being much tamer than I expected. The rain was nonstop, which is why there are no photos from the ride, but despite it seeming blustery while at home, out on the road and in the mountains there was surprisingly little wind.

However, the eerie and unexpected dead-air calm that existed for most of the three-hour ride was broken just a few times by sudden, ridiculously violent wind shear moments of terror that threatened to blow me right off the bike. I was hoping for wild blustery, but this was well beyond that. Luckily, this kind of wind didn't total more than 30 seconds for the whole ride.

One thing I learned on this ride was that the Glacier Glove Waterproof Glove is anything but waterproof. They completely soaked through.

Anyway, I was home by 6pm, six hours before the typhoon made its closest approach to Kyoto.

As the intensity of the rain increased throughout the evening, the Kamo river started to get higher and higher, as it tends to once every couple of years (as seen here, here, and here), so I went out again just to check out the river.

Here's the radar view as I left the house at 10pm:


sort of intense
Kyoto is at the black dot lower-right of center
Under the Marutamachi Bride water is high, but not flooding -- Marutamachi Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/15 sec, f/2.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Under the Marutamachi Bride
water is high, but not flooding
Under the Sanjo Bride water is 2m lower than I've seen in the past -- Sanjo Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/20 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Under the Sanjo Bride
water is 2m lower than I've seen in the past
Southwest Sanjo-Bridge Area -- Sanjo Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Southwest Sanjo-Bridge Area

To compare with a big flood a few years ago, note the small bridge above-center in the previous photo. That's the same bridge that was wiped out a few years ago.

Angry Enough the Kamo River -- Sanjo Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Angry Enough
the Kamo River
Riverside Path is under water here -- Sanjo Bridge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/1.7, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Riverside Path
is under water here

So, it seemed to be relatively mild for Kyoto, which was 300km (190mi) from the eye's closest approach.

So, I was surprised in the morning to see that almost all the roads in the mountains were closed:


Roads Closed
as of 8am next morning

Wow. What happened? I jumped on my bicycle to go take a look.

“ Road Closed Ahead ” -- Ichihara Ekimae Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 49mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Road Closed Ahead
“ All Lanes Closed ” “ from here to pretty much everywhere ” -- Ichihara Ekimae Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
All Lanes Closed
from here to pretty much everywhere

My first destination was the road to Hanase Pass, which goes through Kurama (the village with the temple that I blogged about a few weeks ago). The main sign above says that the road is closed to various destinations, and it's sitting in front of a different sign that I assume was announcing road closures related to the Kurama Fire Festival, which had been scheduled for the previous day.

Messy Road taken at 18 kph (11 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Messy Road
taken at 18 kph (11 mph)
Lady Cleaning Slime from Road taken at 16 kph (10 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lady Cleaning Slime from Road
taken at 16 kph (10 mph)
Wow road positively littered with leaves, twigs, and fronds -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wow
road positively littered with leaves, twigs, and fronds
Unfired Wood it looked like the Fire Festival didn't happen (this shrine is where most of the photos on my Fire Festival post were taken) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Unfired Wood
it looked like the Fire Festival didn't happen
(this shrine is where most of the photos on my Fire Festival post were taken)

I continued through the village toward the mountains...

Closed Due to Power Outage Kurama Onsen -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Closed Due to Power Outage
Kurama Onsen
Wow!! -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Wow!!

This road is normally completely clear pavement (as seen here), but now it looks like a little-used track road through the wilderness. The untouched detritus in the middle of the road is as thick as a pillow.

Everywhere in the mountains, the smell of fresh ceder (from all the broken branches) was absolutely luscious.

It's easy to see where the road goes because of the tracks laid down by vehicles that passed since the storm, but it must have been eerie and scary for the first vehicle in the morning, trying judge where the road was merely from the lack of trees.

Bus Squeezes Under taken at 12 kph (7 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Bus Squeezes Under
taken at 12 kph (7 mph)
Still Passable though perhaps not so safe -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Still Passable
though perhaps not so safe
Not Passable a worker guessed that the road would be closed for a week, due to a landslide farther up -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Passable
a worker guessed that the road would be closed for a week,
due to a landslide farther up
Heading Back Down -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Back Down

I didn't have a lot of time, but I popped over to the road that goes through Kumagahatta, the west-of-center section of the Kyoto Heart Loop cycling route that so many use.

Super-Thick Super-Slime a thick layer of evergreen fronds turned to pulp -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Super-Thick Super-Slime
a thick layer of evergreen fronds turned to pulp
Clearing Work in Progress -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Clearing Work in Progress
Holy Cow! an estimated 40 trees had fallen across the road in just this short stretch -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Holy Cow!
an estimated 40 trees had fallen across the road in just this short stretch

This was the end of my exploration for the day.

Sadly, one of the five workers seen above would be killed a few hours later when he was crushed to death by a section of tree trunk they were working on.

With that sad news fresh in our minds, Damien and I made a somber visit to the area the next day....

Roughly Cleared it's neither safe nor complete, but vehicles can pass -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Roughly Cleared
it's neither safe nor complete, but vehicles can pass
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Hidden Pavement starts directly under the guardrail -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hidden Pavement
starts directly under the guardrail
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 50mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Workers near a concrete utility pole that was snapped like a twig -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Workers
near a concrete utility pole that was snapped like a twig

The road was officially closed, but we received permission to venture in so long as we stayed out of the way. Now that the road was physically passable, they were working to get power restored to folks down the line, and planning on how to clean everything up, restore the road, replace the lost utility poles, and re-string all the utility cables.

Concrete Utillity Pole -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Concrete Utillity Pole
Looking Up the Hillside representative of what long stretches of roadside hill looked like -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Up the Hillside
representative of what long stretches of roadside hill looked like
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Downed Lines the next few utility poles were completely down -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Downed Lines
the next few utility poles were completely down
Hanging -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 52mm — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Hanging
Remnants the pole falling into the river in the lower part of the photo, had been standing on the right side of the road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/250 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Remnants
the pole falling into the river in the lower part of the photo,
had been standing on the right side of the road
Same Pole it had stood in the guardrail gap at left, but was sheared off at ground level and fell across the road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/250 sec, f/7.1, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Same Pole
it had stood in the guardrail gap at left,
but was sheared off at ground level and fell across the road
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/250 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Foot-Thick Trunk snapped like a toothpick -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Foot-Thick Trunk
snapped like a toothpick
Precarious -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Precarious
Passable but still a dangerous mess -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Passable
but still a dangerous mess

Same Spot the Previous Day
before any vehicle had made it that far
photo by Joshua Levine
used with permission
Very Precarious -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Precarious
Stringing Power Lines on the road leading to the Shimyouin Temple (志明院) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Stringing Power Lines
on the road leading to the Shimyouin Temple (志明院)

Eventually we made our way around the left half of the Kyoto Heart Loop heart, passing many crews working on various things. Nearing Kyoto toward the end of that loop, I was surprised to find that the restaurant Yama-no-ie Hasegawa was actually open, so we stopped in.

Entrance Steps are now camouflaged -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Steps
are now camouflaged
Cheesecake and Coffee -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Cheesecake and Coffee

I've stopped in this place many times while out with the bicycle or the camera, as the nearby photos link under these photos shows, but it turns out that it was Damien's first visit.

Seat Warmer -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Seat Warmer
Uncharacteristically-Clear Air the mountain in the far distance is Mt. Misen , and even 100km (67mi) away -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Uncharacteristically-Clear Air
the mountain in the far distance is Mt. Misen, and even 100km (67mi) away
Descending From Kyomi Pass -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Descending From Kyomi Pass

The tree above is being held up by utility wires, which are causing a metal utility pole to bend:

Tightly Strung -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Tightly Strung

As a bonus (and nice counterpart) to all the destruction, Damien showed me the entrance path to a temple, a path I have passed dozens and dozens of times without ever having noticed:

Lovely Entrance Path Koetsu-ji Temple (光悦寺) -- Koetsu-ji Temple (光悦寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Entrance Path
Koetsu-ji Temple (光悦寺)

I'll have to visit again in a few weeks once the leaves have started to turn.

In the week that I've been trying to get this blog post written, most roads have been reopened, though the Kumagahatta section covered at length above is not, and likely won't be open for a while.

Typhoon #22 is approaching, and should be here soon.


looks to pass by Kyoto tomorrow afternoon
(though further away and less powerful than #21 was)

An Enkoji-Temple Fall-Foliage Preview
a whimical statue at the Enkoji Temple (圓光寺) in Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Whimsical Statue
at the Enkoji Temple two years ago
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今回二年前圓光寺(京都市)写真です。撮影日は11月17日でした。

It's gotten suddenly chilly here in Kyoto, Japan, reminding me that the fall-foliage season is approaching. So just as with last year's Looking Ahead To Fall with a few Shots from Last Season post, this post is to help get me in the mood. All the photos on this post are from the same mid-November 2015 visit to the Enkoji Temple (圓光寺) in northeast Kyoto.

This temple has been featured on my blog many times, so the nearby photos link under any photo brings you to other posts from the temple.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Rock Garden

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Paul Barr

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Edge of the Main Garden

The whimsical statue seen at the top of this post is just off to the left of this path, a tiny smudge of darkness in the photo above.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 34mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/3.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
It Usually Attracts a Crowd
though still difficult to see in this photo

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ignoring his $8,000 Camera
for a cell-phone snap

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Paul Selfie

Of course, the little statute is just one small feature of the lovely moss-covered garden....


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Me
and my squished nose
photo by Paul Barr

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Garden-Viewing Room

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
From Inside
the garden-viewing room

It can get quite crowded, but even when it's not, it's almost impossible to get a people-free view of the room and the garden. I (almost) did once, as seen in Impossible Shot at Kyoto’s Enkoji Temple: Garden *and* Garden-Viewing Room at the Height of Fall Colors, Devoid of People. That was five years ago... I should try it again this year.


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Statue
Sleeping Man with Rats?
( not so popular for some reason )

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Serendipitous View
but I've got my 35mm lens mounted

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Better at 125mm
but I would have liked somthing in between

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Different Angle

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Serious-Looking Camera

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
At Least Five Cameras
for this couple

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
So He Goes With the iPhone

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Happy Shoes
but maybe a bit vibrant for the location

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Lens
and kimono, a lovely combination in my book

This is the couple that posed for Wigglegram of a Pleasant Couple Among the Fall Colors at Kyoto’s Enkoji Temple


Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Paul Found a Leaf

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Even the Bathroom
is tastefully done

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Exit
back to the rock garden

Minh and Nghia Wigglegram at the Murin’an Garden

Here's a wigglegram of Minh and Nghia at the Murin'an Garden in Kyoto. The last photo of Nghia and Minh in Kyoto, Part 2 is actually part of this wigglegram.

Animatable Wigglegram (16 frames) — slowly sweep mouse from side to side to view 3D effect
写真の上をマウスで左右にゆっくり動かすと「3D」な感じが出ます。

Finally Venturing Inside Northern Kyoto’s Kurama Temple
Entrance to the Kurama Temple a photo from this post a couple of years ago -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance to the Kurama Temple
a photo from this post a couple of years ago

I'd heard that the Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺), nestled on the side of a mountain in a northern suburb of Kyoto, made for a nice visit, but despite riding past it dozens of times since I got into cycling, I'd never actually entered it. This week I finally did.

The main part of this post is about this week's visit, but first let me recount my prior experiences with this temple...

Normally I just ride past and perhaps snap a photo along the way, such as the following shot from my first real bike ride 2½ years ago:

Flying By The Entrance not realizing I was about to enter a world of snow -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + 35mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/13, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Flying By The Entrance
not realizing I was about to enter a world of snow

Sometimes I stop at the entrance to take photos, such as the following shot from the two-year anniversary ride of my first real ride earlier this year:

Kurama Temple -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/2017-02-10/2773 -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1/200 sec, f/10, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Kurama Temple

Apparently I had stopped by the entrance to this temple during a photo outing in 2012, with Paul and Damien, when I took this photo of the edge of the entrance stairs:

Entrance Detail Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kurama Shrine (鞍馬神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Detail
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺)

I post this shot because I really like its richness, its vibe, and to contrast it with all the crappy iPhone photos we'll see below, from this week's visit.

On that same drive in 2012, I took these shots of a monkey harassing someone (for, I suppose, food of some kind):

No Luck Here... -- Kurama Shrine (鞍馬神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
No Luck Here...
... Nor Here -- Kurama Shrine (鞍馬神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
... Nor Here

That day-long outing five years ago, with Paul and Damien, was really great, and many blog posts resulted, including:

On that wonderful 2012 outing, I also took this slightly-overexposed shot of Damien:

from this blog post for Damien's parents -- Sourenji Temple (宗蓮寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 10000 — map & image datanearby photos
from this blog post for Damien's parents

And that photo brings me to the reason that I finally visited Kurama Temple this week.

Damien was about to start his fourth and last Hell Week course of chemotherapy, a week-long torture of nausea-inducing drugs that saps the will to live, so he wanted to get out into nature one last time before. He intended to hike from Kibune to Kurama, and then relax at the Kurama Onsen. I wasn't able to make it in time to join the start of the hike, so I went directly to Kurama, hiking up to meet him at the temple at the top of the mountain.

All the rest of the photos on today's blog post are from this recent trip, taken with an iPhone.

Entering The Temple Grounds Proper at only 300 yen (US$2.60), a bargain -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Entering The Temple Grounds Proper
at only 300 yen (US$2.60), a bargain
Theme For the Day lots of steps -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/25 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Theme For the Day
lots of steps

The path to the top has many different sections, both with steps and just a plain gravel path. The only thing that was consistent was the climb... whether steps or path, it kept going up and up.

A Road Diverged... you can take the gravel path to the right, or the steps up through a sub -temple -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
A Road Diverged...
you can take the gravel path to the right, or the steps up through a sub-temple
More “ Up ” -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
More Up
... and More -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
... and More
... and So Much More -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 80 — map & image datanearby photos
... and So Much More
Oh Hey, Steps! -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Oh Hey, Steps!

Finally, after 20 minutes of brisk climbing, I arrived at the lowest part of the temple proper.

Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/610 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

... where I found Damien waiting for me. I was tuckered out from the hike, but took a quick selfie...

Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus front camera 2.87mm f/2.2 at an effective 32mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.2, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
The View of the Mountains is “ Meh? ” -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/480 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
The View of the Mountains is Meh?

Apparently there's a huge multi-level complex to be explored, but we had neither the time nor the energy (nor the appropriate camera) to enjoy it, so we headed back down the way I had come.

Heading Down -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down
Old Staircase -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/240 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Staircase
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

Even though we were taking the exact path I'd just come up on, the view was so much more interesting heading down. Time and again you could see much more splayed out before you. It was wonderful.

Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/460 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Side View of he landing seen in the previous photo -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/220 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Side View
of he landing seen in the previous photo
Disconnect it makes you wonder whether the two sides had ever been level with each other -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/310 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Disconnect
it makes you wonder whether the two sides had ever been level with each other
Down Down Down -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Down Down Down
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Hazy Side Area -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Hazy Side Area
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/95 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

All in all it whet my appetite to return with a real camera. Paul will likely be visiting next month, and by then Damien should be recovered from his chemo, so I hope the three of us can spend a day here with the camera. It will be glorious.

After we exited the shrine, we went to the Kurama Onsen, and I tried the outside bath for the first time. Until now, the Kurama Onsen for me was merely the start to one of Kyoto's hallmark tough cycling climbs, the 5km @ 9% climb to Hanase Pass.

In the evening, for his last meal before returning to the hospital for Hell Week, we indulged in American-style Pizza from Dai's Pizza Kitchen...

Picking up a Pizza -- Ichijoji Takatsukicho Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Picking up a Pizza
Mmmmmm.... half “ Hawaiian ” , half “ Combo DX ” -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Mmmmmm....
half Hawaiian, half Combo DX

As I write this, it's the Friday at the end of his last Hell Week, so he's got light at the end of the tunnel. The week after Hell Week is usually filled with all kinds of side-effect problems, so that's still in the way, but he should hopefully be back to normal by the end of the month, just in time for some awesome fall-foliage photo outings.