Weekend in Shirahama, Japan: Day 1
Kickin' Back at Senjojiki, Shirahama Japan (白浜 の 千畳敷) -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/1600 sec, f/4, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Kickin' Back
at Senjojiki, Shirahama Japan (白浜千畳敷)

この間、週末旅行でパンダが多い白浜(和歌山県)に行きました。

As I mentioned the other day, we took a short weekend trip to Shirahama (白浜), in Wakayama Prefecture a three-hour drive south from Kyoto. We left on Friday after Anthony got home from school, so arrived late in the evening, giving us all of Saturday and most of Sunday to enjoy the area.

We had a nice hybrid Western/Japanese room at Hotel Laforet....

if it weren't the middle of the night, the view would be of the ocean photo by Fumie -- Hotel Laforet -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie
iPhone 5s @ 4.12mm f/2.2 at an effective 30mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.2, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
if it weren't the middle of the night, the view would be of the ocean
photo by Fumie
It's All About the Pandas in the lobby at Hotel Laforet photo by Fumie -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
It's All About the Pandas
in the lobby at Hotel Laforet
photo by Fumie

The area is known for its small white-sand beach, and for having pandas (in what I assumed was a zoo, but as we'll see in a later post, the pandas are at an amusement/nature park). It was cute to see panda paraphernalia everywhere, starting with the lobby of the hotel on Saturday morning.

What we didn't see were other customers. The hotel was 11 floors, but on Saturday morning the place seemed deserted; we didn't see anyone except a few staff. It was eerie.

(It turns out that it filled up quickly later in the day, after thecheck-in time.)

Our first order of business in the morning was to stroll down to the beach, which is actually named Shirarahama (白良浜, literally white good beach), though the town it's located in is named Shirahama (白浜, literally white beach).

at Shirarahama Beach (白良浜) photo by Fumie -- Shirarahama Beach (白良浜) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie
iPhone 5s @ 4.12mm f/2.2 at an effective 30mm — 1/4000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
at Shirarahama Beach (白良浜)
photo by Fumie
Shirarahama Beach (白良浜) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/6400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Very White, Very Clean very empty, but it's not that way during the summer -- Shirarahama Beach (白良浜) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/11, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Very White, Very Clean
very empty, but it's not that way during the summer

The last time I was at this beach was 20+ years ago, when I spent a weekend with a metal detector scooping up 500-yen ($5) coins. During the morning it was as empty as seen in these photos, but during the day during the summer it was a solid carpet of people.

For lunch we stopped by a place for sushi that Fumie had seen in a guidebook.

Hand Delivered Egg “ Sushi ” at Sushi Kozushi (幸鮨) -- Sushi Kozushi (幸鮨) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hand Delivered Egg Sushi
at Sushi Kozushi (幸鮨)

It was lucky that I didn't realize at first that this was a real sushi place, meaning pretty expensive. I'd asked Fumie to order for us all, so I didn't realize at first that no prices were displayed anywhere, but when we got our first sushi the taste told me that this was a really high-quality place, so I steeled myself for the bill.

It turns out to have been about $100 for the three of us, which is certainly pricey for a lunch(!), but I suppose it's much less than something comparable would have been in Kyoto. I think it was my first time at such a high-class sushi place. It was delicious, especially early on when I didn't think about the price. 🙂

After lunch we made a short drive to a seaside place called Senjojiki (千畳敷), a name that means something along the lines of spread out over a bazillion room's worth of area. It turns out to have been an amazing area of many different kinds of rock formations all in one much-smaller-than-a-bazillion compact area...

Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/800 sec, f/6.3, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Refreshingly Dangerous -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Refreshingly Dangerous

The modern world, both in Japan and America, seems to have gotten so regulated and controlled so as to remove even the slightest risk of injury or of having fun, lest, I suppose, someone sue. So it was refreshing that at this place there were no guardrails, no ropes, no handrails, no don't have fun signs. You were responsible for yourself, and if you did something stupid you would likely die or maim yourself. I'm a big believer that personal responsibility should be personal, so I really enjoyed the freedom to explore to the limits of my own sense of responsibility. We lived.

Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/800 sec, f/5, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Fumie -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie
iPhone 5s @ 4.12mm f/2.2 at an effective 30mm — 1/1400 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Fumie
Optical Illusion we're actually way way above the water photo by Fumie -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie
iPhone 5s @ 4.12mm f/2.2 at an effective 30mm — 1/2900 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Optical Illusion
we're actually way way above the water
photo by Fumie
The Photo that I was taking in “ Optical Illusion ” above -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/1250 sec, f/5, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
The Photo
that I was taking in Optical Illusion above

In some areas the rocks were very stratified into highly distinct layers. I seem to have been unable to capture it in a photo well, but you can sort of see a bit in the next photo, where a thin layer of gravel-strewn rock runs near the top of the frame:

Layered -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 29mm cropped — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Layered

Some layers were just a few inches thick, some a foot thick, but the passage of time was clear and the abrupt changes in composition brought to mind cataclysmic events (volcanoes, tidal waves, earthquakes, etc.). One thing I never did notice in the 50+ meters of vertical layers were shells, so I guessed that this area had never been below sea level.

desktop background image of scene at Senjojiki, Shirahama Japan (白浜の千畳敷) -- Exploring -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Exploring
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
1050×1680  ·  1200×1920  ·  1600×2560
Finally Close to Sea Level -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Close to Sea Level
Bowl of Salt -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 40mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Bowl of Salt

Above the tidal line were bowls encrusted with a thick layer of salt. I'm guessing that sea water is blown in infrequently during storms, then evaporates and leaves the salt behind.

Others Playing -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Others Playing
More Exploring -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
More Exploring
Investigating Intertidal Life Forms photo by Fumie -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie
iPhone 5s @ 4.12mm f/2.2 at an effective 30mm — 1/950 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Investigating Intertidal Life Forms
photo by Fumie
Some Kind Of Something hard-shelled muscle/clamish thing evocative of a Trilobite -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Some Kind Of Something
hard-shelled muscle/clamish thing evocative of a Trilobite
Kings of the World photo by Fumie -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie
iPhone 5s @ 4.12mm f/2.2 at an effective 30mm — 1/4000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Kings of the World
photo by Fumie
desktop background image of scene at Senjojiki, Shirahama Japan (白浜の千畳敷) -- Gaps are Meant to be Bridged it was a pretty wide gap, but he made it with 10cm to spare -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/4000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Gaps are Meant to be Bridged
it was a pretty wide gap, but he made it with 10cm to spare
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800
Red Straight Rock -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Red Straight Rock

Yet just a few seconds away...

Creamy-Smooth Cream-Colored Rock feels otherworldly -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mm — 1/4000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Creamy-Smooth Cream-Colored Rock
feels otherworldly
Wishing He Could Skateboard Here -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Wishing He Could Skateboard Here
Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Rock That Looks Like Wood -- Senjojiki (千畳敷) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Rock That Looks Like Wood

We really enjoyed the area, and it was the highlight of the day.

We then took a leisurely drive along the coast without much of a destination, but at some point I noticed on the car navigation system that a kilometer or so inland was a Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺). The famous Golden Pavilion temple in Kyoto has that name, so I thought it'd be interesting to see what this temple with the same name looked like.

Outside the Gate the Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺) in Shirahama Japan, not the one in Kyoto -- Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/9, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Outside the Gate
the Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺)
in Shirahama Japan, not the one in Kyoto

Unfortunately, it was closed for some kind of construction. It seemed deserted.

Looks Promising -- Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺) -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Looks Promising

The Kongorikishi guardians flanking the entrance (described here) were wood-relief carvings instead of statutes carved from wood. I'd never seen that before. Too bad it was closed... the map showed lakes and such inside.

We continued our drive and ended up at a big orange something sticking out of the mountain, something we'd seen and wondered about from the hotel...

Big Orange Thing 2000' Long -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 40mm — 1/160 sec, f/10, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Orange Thing 2000' Long

It turns out that it's to support landing lights for the local airport, which seems to have been carved out of the mountains:

Mountain Airport Nanki-Shirahama Airport  ·  南紀白浜空港 -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/10, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Mountain Airport
Nanki-Shirahama Airport  ·  南紀白浜空港

The hotel had a ping-pong table we could rent, which Anthony was excited to try...

Ping-Pong for the First Time photo by Fumie -- Hotel Laforet -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/160 sec, f/5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Ping-Pong for the First Time
photo by Fumie
Surprisingly Good! for his first time photo by Fumie -- Hotel Laforet -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Fumie, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 36mm — 1/160 sec, f/5, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Surprisingly Good!
for his first time
photo by Fumie

I couldn't let him get too full of himself, so of course I had to crush him with a powerful slam from time to time. Proper parenting, you know. 😉

The hotel has huge onsen baths on the 11th floor, separated by gender, but you could rent a private family bath for 50 minutes, which we did...

Private Bath 家族のお風呂。50分は2千円位。よかった。 -- Hotel Laforet -- Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Private Bath
家族のお風呂。50分は2千円位。よかった。

We'd scheduled it for sunset hoping for a nice display, but it was overcast so sunset was entirely uneventful. But the bath was nice.

For dinner we ate in the overpriced-but-surprisingly-tasty hotel restaurant, and went to bed early so as to be fresh for Day Two.

Continued here...


One comment so far...

Thanks for the seaside geology pictures. The rock formations are like what I’ve seen in Point Lobos State Park just south of Carmel, California. They are a challenge to photograph. High contrast lighting is needed in order to see the details of texture & color.

— comment by Tom in SF on April 21st, 2014 at 12:01am JST (3 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink
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