A Pleasant Day on Yabasekihantou, Part I
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Peaceful -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Peaceful

We had a most wonderful day yesterday.

It was a combination of:

  • My cold finally getting mostly better. (It turns out it was a common upper-respiratory infection, for which antibiotics seem to be working).
  • It was shorts-and-T-shirt weather, the first such day this year.
  • It was the first day in ages where no school event was scheduled or on the immediate horizon.

We celebrated by venturing out to a place we'd heard of but had never been, a small (180-acre) 30-year-old man-made island in the south of Lake Biwa with the imposing name yabasekihantou (矢橋帰帆島website).

Perhaps a third of the island is taken up by a sewage treatment plant, and the rest is for recreation... a huge playground, golf, soccer, campgrounds, parks, etc. It's quite pleasant. Other than the unlikely shape of the island as seen on a map or satellite photo, it all seems quite natural.

Upon arriving at the island over a small bridge, there's a small visitor center with a pleasant little park behind it, and so we stopped to enjoy it....

Lots to Explore -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lots to Explore

A lot of the decorative rocks, such as those to the left of center above, had odd patterns on them. Here's a close up...

You Can Almost See It Oozing a bazillion years ago -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 56 mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
You Can Almost See It Oozing
a bazillion years ago

Of course, Anthony's interest in the rocks is quite different...

Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 82 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Anthony was in the mood for “dinosaur play”, where he pretends he's a velociraptor hunting for prey....

Dino on the Prowl -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170 mm — 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Dino on the Prowl
Velociraptor / Boy -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Velociraptor / Boy

You can tell by how he's holding his hands in the photo above that he's doing dinosaur play, but the smile on his face is decidedly that of a 6-year-old human boy leaking through the scaly veneer.

We then moved on one minute down the road to the main park. Here's Anthony checking out the map...

Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The blue water droplet seems to be the mascot for the island. Moving from the parking lot and cresting a hill, you're greeted with this seizure-inducing sight for a kid:

Huge Expanse of Fun -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 1/500 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Huge Expanse of Fun
Slide made of rollers -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Slide
made of rollers

As Dave answered correctly in the first comment (first comment.... drat!!) to yesterday's “What am I?” Quiz, the “bunch of bars” are rollers making up the bed of a slide. These are not uncommon in Japan, but having never seen them anywhere else, I thought I'd be able to stump everyone.

Many Miles Before I Sleep -- Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/640 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Many Miles Before I Sleep

It was almost sensory overload, with so many different areas of play to check out. He first gravitated over to an obstacle-course type zone...

Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/400 sec, f/6.3, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yabasekihantou -- Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Continued here...


All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Nice set of photos again.
I was just wondering how often you change lenses for a trip like this; I see you’re using the D700 and 24-70 and 70-200 2.8 – do you swap much or just once or twice? Or have you two D700s?

I have a D700 for each of my many lenses, as well as two hands for each, and a staff of leprechauns to manufacture pots of gold to pay for everything. 🙂 I dislike swapping lenses, but it’s a necessary evil. I swapped among the 24-70, 70-200, and 70-200+1.7TC. Maybe a dozen swaps total all day. —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel on March 20th, 2009 at 12:26am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

It’s not unusual.. When I go out to shoot, I usually have my 17-35mm, 50mm and 70-200mm…

— comment by John on March 20th, 2009 at 4:50am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

*I* want to play on that playground.

— comment by Marcina on March 20th, 2009 at 10:48pm JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I can’t believe that awesome playground is so close to us and I’ve never been there. What a waste! I think we’re going to go there every single weekend until the kids get married (knock on wood) to make up for lost time.

— comment by Zachary on March 21st, 2009 at 9:39am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, Do you know if this park is still open? My family is headed to Kyoto (we lived there pre-children) from Florida next month and we would love to do some things that will be uniquely Japanese and fun for my 5 and 6 year old outdoors. I also found your posts on the mushroom-picking spot, which sounds really cool. I’m a Nikon shooter, too, so I’m most excited about photographing our adventure.:) Love your photos and info!!

I’ve no specific knowledge one way or the other, but I’d be surprised if it’s not just as I last saw it. —Jeffrey

— comment by kayla on March 19th, 2016 at 12:03am JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...


All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.


You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting