Exploring the Steep Nooks and Crannies Near the Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
Toddlers Waving to a Train in front of the Suntory Yamazaki Whiskey Distillery -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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
Toddlers Waving to a Train
in front of the Suntory Yamazaki Whiskey Distillery

Instead of writing up the full blog post about my visit the other day to Suntory's Yamazaki Distillery, I instead did a short bicycle ride to the area, to investigate all the short-but-steep roads nestled in where the city meets the mountain.

On the way, I went through the belly of the sprawling Yamazaki Junction, mentioned in a comment on the blog post where I featured photos of the rat's-nest Kumiyama Junction....

Approaching the Yamazaki Junction 山崎JCT -- Yamazaki, 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 50mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Approaching the Yamazaki Junction
山崎JCT

It's much more complex than the one I wrote about before, but much less photogenic...

Yamazaki, 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 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yamazaki, 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 — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It's more complex in that it includes an entrance and an exit that can be reached by either of the two expressways that cross. Looking at the area on the map is dizzying. But it's spread over a fairly wide area, and unlike the other junction I wrote about, a bicycle can't get to much of it. So from any one spot, you can see a few trees, but have no sense for the magnitude of the forest.

Oh, and one other things this junction has is a bus stop on the expressway. Passengers reach it from the normal surface roads:

Expressway Bus-Stop Entrance 高速バス停の入り口 -- Yamazaki, 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 29mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Expressway Bus-Stop Entrance
高速バス停の入り口

Anyway, I continued over toward the small (but steep) mountain that Yamazaki nestles up against....

Heading Toward Yamazaki -- Yamazaki, 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 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Toward Yamazaki

Once I reached the mountain, I skirted it and took every road that turned in toward the mountain. Many didn't go far, but some brought enjoyable surprises, such as a big temple...

Small Shrine on the steep road to a temple (Yamazaki Shouten / 山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki Shouten (山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki, 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 — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Shrine
on the steep road to a temple (Yamazaki Shouten / 山崎聖天)
Discussing the View -- Yamazaki Shouten (山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki, 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 44mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Discussing the View
The Temple -- Yamazaki Shouten (山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki, 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
The Temple
Yamazaki Shouten (山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki, 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 — 1/125 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Yamazaki Shouten (山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki, 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
Heading Back Down -- Yamazaki Shouten (山崎聖天) -- Yamazaki, 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 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Back Down

I made a Strava segment for the 370m @ 11% climb, but it seems few folks have done it.

Uninviting no car, no scooter, no bike, no pets, no backpacks, no fun -- Yamazaki, 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 — 1/100 sec, f/2.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Uninviting
no car, no scooter, no bike, no pets, no backpacks, no fun

Near Suntory's distillery is something called the Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art. Asahi is a competitor of Suntory, and I assume that they put this thing nearby on purpose, and if so, it seems a bit slimy to me. The road up to the entrance is very steep, and past that it's even steeper as a service road to the rear of the site. It's just as well I wanted to do that steep service road, because as the signs at the entrance indicate multiple times, bicycles (and much else) aren't welcome.

Then it was time for the main climb I knew to be in the area, the short but steep climb to the Hoshakuji Temple (宝積寺) It averages 15.6% for its 350-meter length....

Start of the Climb just beyond the tracks -- Yamazaki, 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 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Start of the Climb
just beyond the tracks
天王山 の登り口 宝積寺への登り口 -- Yamazaki, 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 56mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
天王山の登り口
宝積寺への登り口

I tried to put in an effort, but it didn't feel like I was getting much out of it. My legs are weak from not having done this kind of powerful effort all winter. Normally it's my lungs that limit me, but this time it was my legs... at least until a trash truck didn't feel like sharing the road, and I had to stop to let him by. Really burst my bubble.

I didn't like that I was interfered with, so I turned around and did it again.

On the way down in between, I snapped a photo showing how high one gets in such a short distance:

View From (just below the) Hoshakuji Temple -- Hoshakuji Temple (宝積寺) -- Yamazaki, 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 34mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
View From
(just below the)
Hoshakuji Temple

Anyway, I got to the bottom, turned around, and did it again, sans trash truck.

Holy cow, the second time was so much worse than the first. My willpower just collapsed and I ended up barely inching forward toward the middle, or so it felt. But by the time I got near the top, the last few meters had me — and this was a first for me — almost throwing up. I guess the problem is that I attempted an effort that I could have done at the start of the winter, but not now at the end.

It had taken just two minutes, but I was wiped out to the core.

Collapsed on the Steps with just enough energy for a selfie -- Hoshakuji Temple (宝積寺) -- Yamazaki, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Collapsed on the Steps
with just enough energy for a selfie

Once I got moving again, I was drained, so I took everything for the rest of the ride really easily.

I started poking around the mountain again.

Blast from the Past this scene brought back 25-year-old memories -- Yamazaki, 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 26mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Blast from the Past
this scene brought back 25-year-old memories

In the center of the photo above, there's a narrow path going down; a woman and a toddler are walking up it. The path is so particular that I immediately recalled it from my commute by motorcycle, done most days between 1990 and 1995.

I also came across a preschool that I recall having gone past all the time, but this time I noticed a small street beside it pitching up the mountain, so I took it. It eventually entered the woods and got even steeper...

Ridiculous ridiculously steep, and ridiculous road surface that looks like a toddler's crayon drawing -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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
Ridiculous
ridiculously steep, and
ridiculous road surface that looks like a toddler's crayon drawing
View from the Top -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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
View from the Top

I made a segment for this climb as well, 450m @ 13%, but I'm the only one to have done it so far.

Heading Down to Suntory this road arrives at the back of the distillery -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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 32mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down to Suntory
this road arrives at the back of the distillery
Back of the Distillery with a public road then cutting through the center toward the front -- Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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
Back of the Distillery
with a public road then cutting through the center toward the front
Front Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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
Front
Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery

The smells from the distillery are heavenly, another thing I remember from the few seconds that I passed in front of the place on my daily commute 25 years ago. In particular, the steam emanating from this truck had a lovely rich smell that I just sat and took in for a bit...

Suntory Yamazaki Whisky Distillery -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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 50mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

The back road down to the distillery seemed to make a nice climb, so I retraced my steps and did it, then made it into a Strava segment. Overall it's a mild 500m @ 8%, but the first third is relatively flat, then the next third is about 12%.

My effort was 3rd-overall best.... out of four total. 🙂

Continuing around the mountain, I saw a side path go into a tunnel, so I took it...

Looking Back having just come through the tunnel -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back
having just come through the tunnel

It goes steeply up the mountain along the edge of a cemetery.

View from the Top -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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 32mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
View from the Top

While poking around later, I came across the this monstrosity of a building:

Ugly Urban Eyesore seems related to the expressway tunnels that exit the mountain next to it -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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
Ugly Urban Eyesore
seems related to the expressway tunnels that exit the mountain next to it

The trip down from there seemed to make a natural climb, so as before, I turned around and did the climb back up, making yet another segment. This one is 750m (½ mile) at an overall average of 8%, but it keep getting steeper and steeper. The final bit behind the ugly building is on the order of 17%.

Finally it was time to head home.

Tunnel Under the Tracks -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tunnel Under the Tracks
Low Ceiling -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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 75mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Low Ceiling
I Wonder How Old This Is -- Yamazaki, Osaka, 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/2.1, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
I Wonder How Old This Is
Yamazaki, Osaka, 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

On the way back, I stopped by Morning Glory for coffee and a sandwich...

Lunch Cafe Morning Glory -- 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 — 1/80 sec, f/2.1, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Lunch
Cafe Morning Glory

All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

How old is that tunnel? I’d say definitely pre-war and perhaps even late Meiji?

— comment by Expat in Virginia on March 4th, 2017 at 9:17pm JST (1 month, 26 days ago) comment permalink

Sorry for commenting here, but did’t see another easy way to contact you outside of email!

I absolutely have loved your plugins for years and just thought i’d suggest another one for you 🙂

I’d love to be able to have something that could show “on this day” photos. Like the ability to search all photos i shot on this day in past years…

You can do this with the month/day feature of my Data Explorer plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Bill on March 12th, 2017 at 3:40am JST (1 month, 20 days ago) comment permalink
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