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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:19 pm
Posts: 90
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Make this a MEGA NEKO THREAD - ANY TIME, ALL JAPAN, ALL NEKO.

i say anything a go.

*Roads
*Strange Roads Signs/ road side places
*Food
*Random "Artsy" Photos
*Abandoned places
*Awkward and Unusual

only thing left are girls i guess 8)

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 am 
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Well, this 'road' certainly rates as unusual, and way OT. It is only 6km long, but at the time was driven by some of the heaviest machines in Japan. We took it though just on bicycles. Above it looks like this:

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The entrance is disguised in a soccer field in Saitama:

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Underneath the surface though, the interconnecting tunnels snake across Saitama:

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My fellow photographers disappear into the distance:

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Access though is difficult, for vehicles via a crane, and people via an Alimak:

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Once down though, the subterranean view is amazing:

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That's me, frame right, for some scale from Popular Science:

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Ahhh... that's not driven though? Sometimes:

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One of my colleagues was a location scout, so at least for a Land Rover commercial, which incorrectly suggests (as do many reports on G-Cans) it is beneath Tokyo or Yokohama. It is not, as it is in Saitama; a long way from both.

Land Rover commercial: http://youtu.be/Skp81uz8ZL8

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Area_Outer_Underground_Discharge_Channel. Tours are now undertaken for Japanese speakers (for safety reasons), but only to the top of the main holding tank (not the surge tank, connecting corridors, or outlets above), still a worthwhile view!

Gliding through the silent subterranean tunnels 60m below the surface on a bicycle, certainly rates an interesting experience. Back to real roads for next time... Neko.

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Last edited by Kuroneko on Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:19 pm
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Wow.... thats a strange place :)

so is it a road or just storm drain (what i could get from the article snippet)

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:14 pm 
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matsuda9 wrote:
Wow.... thats a strange place :)

so is it a road or just storm drain (what i could get from the article snippet)


Just a drain. A big one though! I added a Wikipedia URL above. Which, for some reason does not say very much... Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:05 pm 
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One Honda, as many relief supplies, bedding, clothes, tools, protective clothing, and hardware she could carry...

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The road north out of Iwanuma, past some rather nice beaches, used to look like the above on a map, then on March 11 this came ashore at the same place:

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That first line of surf above is about halfway between the coastline and the road on the map - its the top of the tsunami wall. The same road, after an SDF bulldozer pass, looked like this:

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Those are the same trees as above, and the beach is now over the road and spread up to 2km inland. If the little Honda had been parked on the same spot a few weeks earlier the water would have been more than five times the height of the roof. Again the same area as both photographs above from Google:

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Note new bay, and the coast road just stops in space. Gone:

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Google still shows the road mapped straight through the new bay:

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Weeks later, we were the first to walk the new coast line. That white spec frame-left in the satellite photograph above is someone's rather tossed about jetski:

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The town looked not much better at the time:

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With fishing boats carried over, and through many of the houses, coming to rest where no one would expect to see such a large vessel:

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Parts of the town were still inaccessible, and the smell of the sea and death was throughout. You just knew what was under all the mess. You could smell it.

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While some roads at the time were passable, many were not. Still strewn with debris, and cars.

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High water mark on building above - though we suspect the water peaked well over the top of the buildings. Many roads were not passable, and with spot fires still a danger, along with imported police 4WD kei firetrucks patrol regularly.

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The devastation seemed to go on forever, and it will take years to clean up.

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After, we had found a shrine and gave thanks for those that had survived.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:30 am 
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wow.. thats horrific. why would anyone want to live on the coast of japan?

side note; you seem to really like CRV's.


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:55 am 
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As always thank you for the pics! I am still shocked seeing pictures of the aftermath...it certainly hit me when you mentioned you can smell the death in the rubble. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:29 pm 
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Just west of Nikko in Tochigi-ken, on the way to Shuzenji-ko R120 (The Romance Highway) offers a unique experience:

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The road splits in two; for two lanes west climbing, and two lanes east down. Each well-made, and full of named corners, and short straights.

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The start of the climb. Its a great drive for both cars and bikes, mostly because of the no on-coming traffic implications. The down road particularly popular with drifters.

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Westward, up road.

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Two lanes west start the climb.

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The view looking from the up road, to the down road.

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Same section as photograph above from Google satellite view.

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Map of down section.

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Approaching the summit.

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Side roads hold plenty of interesting stuff too.

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Including the sometimes discarded semi-classic - this time a Honda Mini.

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Our destination.

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For a quiet shoot.

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And a great lunch - fresh lake trout this time... See ya! Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:30 am 
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Many roads in Fukushima-ken (Fukushima state) are still broken from the earthquake, and likely to remain so for a few years.

We spent a few days in Fukushima-ken installing some radiation monitoring hardware, and donating some hand-held detection meters. While the national government has issued dosimeters to allow measuring cumulative absorption, spot metering and measuring stuff is outside of their immediate scope. Pity.

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Abandoned village on a Monday in June.

Errant radiation is not an issue across the whole ken, with levels outside a strict limit less than most places on earth. Two or three places in India and Iran have natural radiation many thousand times anything measured elsewhere, including close to the Dai-ichi Plant. While I've not measured India and Iran, over the past few months I've measured Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Chicago, & Charlotte, and can verify this. Measuring radiation is easy and accurate, measuring the risk of a car crash, pandemic 'flu, and similar less so.

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Measurements taken on local roads in June.

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Local farming communities have been deserted.

So, while there is a hard exclusion zone for habitation, those still resident close to the limits have a natural concern about on-going radiation limits. Particularly as not everyone has the luxury of moving away. We measured radiation levels in the exclusion zone less than that of an international flight, and levels outside the exclusion zone in excess of habitation limits (but still less that a pilot's ongoing absorption rate for example).

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Abandoned bus, now really abandoned.

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Stopping for an occasional photograph, we had to be wary of packs of stray dogs.

The biggest tragedy here is not the blind human consumption of energy, it is the broader impact on the daily lives of perhaps 100,000 people. While I've been to many deserted places, including the recent tsunami zone above, the depressing nature of seeing kilometers of once well kept, and very beautiful countryside now abandoned is appalling.

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Abandoned valley, with Dai-Ichi plant off to the right on the coast over those hills.

Whole villages, farms, valleys, schools, homes, & businesses have simply been left. The roads are patrolled by an imported contingent of police, but otherwise everything is empty. A real end of the world feeling. It is tempting to overstate the nuclear energy is dangerous story, or present our menial drive North as a position of bravado, but the real issue is for those that cannot go about their normal lives.

Not necessarily because of radiation (though that is obviously the immediate cause), but because of mis-management; mis-management of technology, mis-management of response, mis-management of information.

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Roads under the control of Fukushima police.

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Police patrol regularly.

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Local road.

To put this in context, we had no concerns about getting out & about on a rainy day, and walking around either in the exclusion zone, or in numerous hot-spots in the area - for short term exposure the radiation levels all the way up to the Dai-ichi plant fence (and likely well inside too) are nothing to be concerned about.

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Thoughtful analysis of how this happened is simple - the Japanese government allowed 1960s' technology to be installed and operated by a bunch of incompetent friends-of-friends, with nice solid back-channels of cash flowing. The construction supervisor would have driven to work in something like this:

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Even if he had replaced the tires and windshield wipers occasionally, what hope would he have had in keeping up with the 2011 emissions laws, the 2011 Tohoku Expressway traffic at 120km/h in the rain, at night, with four people & their luggage on board, with only lap-belts, no ABS, SRS, or crumple zones? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen to me... Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:14 am 
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faster, cheaper, better.... most of the time only two first chosen forgetting the last :(

Chernobyl is one of those too

its rather strange, at the end of soviet union we were led to believe that the west (that's what was called everything other then soviet union) things of sort could not happen, that government would do anything for the people and corruption does not exist... sorry off topic.

as usual Neko, amazing photographs.

i thought there was a huge drive to get the animals out of the exclusion zone?

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:13 am 
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matsuda9 wrote:
i thought there was a huge drive to get the animals out of the exclusion zone?
Since, both farm animals and pets have had some attempts to evacuate as much as possible yes. We were again 30km or so from the plant this last week, and there was a lot more traffic than there was six months ago. With few places to go, many have moved back into the area, particularly with radiation levels stabilizing to safer levels. Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:46 am 

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Image me been takumi


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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:05 am 
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More snow to come!

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Last edited by Kuroneko on Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:06 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: One Way In - One Way Out.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:03 am 
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Between Tochigi and Gunma, Route 122 used to run up and over the mountains, as it wound its way into a number of copper mining towns. The towns have since closed, and in the 1970s they opened a tunnel bypassing the road over the top.

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With only one way in, and one way out, the road is blocked during winter because of the snow. As there is nothing but road up and over the top, there is no need to keep the road open during the winter. No houses. No farms. No side streets. Nothing. In summer however even with the road open, it has zero traffic, and with one simple check the whole 40 minutes up and over, through the twisting & turning, up & down the mountain is a legendary drift circuit.

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Running south, it starts with a few tight turns, and then some short straights connected by tight hairpins. As it climbs, the road tightens as it approaches the summit. On the fast road down, a series of cascading hairpins present an ideal drifting section with the downhill grade assisting nicely in getting the tail out.

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The road is quite narrow, with either a guard-rail, or slope-maintenance on either side up and over. Exploring the area we really only came upon this section by chance in looking for haikyo. Our first excursion was in summer, and three-up, with camera equipment, I longed for a small agile car over the CR-V we had. A few corners in, and the tire marks started on the road, and then continued all the way up and over the top. Concluding with the downhill sections, we stopped and admired the massive sets of marbles on the tarmac left behind from some rather serious past tire shredding.

A few years after our first summer trip, we came across a Silvia stuffed into the guard-rail, gutted by fire. Its alloy wheels melted into the pavement, and the smell of burnt rubber everywhere. I cannot find the photograph though.

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The abandoned mining town at the bottom of the hill is worth the trip if you're into haikyo, having been established at the time of Mononoke Hime, and abandoned in the 1970s. Included in its treasures are the usual smattering of Japanese classics, some ordinary, some not. Who knows what this is for example?

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The property above still has a old garage / barn filled with automotive treasures. On one of our earlier trips we noticed a Series IV Alpine GT, a few Hako, an MG or two, and a Bellett GT. Nearby, this semi barn-find Luce was obviously loved, if a little un-used.

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The rest of the mining town, nestled in the hills, holds much of interest, including a great one-man diesel powered car that trundles up the valley past much abandoned infrastructure.

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While cars are often seen, as are many scooters & old bikes like the Kawasaki (?) top, it is not often an abandoned sport-bike is found. This Suzuki having suffered a few years under snow through the harsh winters.

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We've back perhaps ten times over nearly as many years, so on the next trip we'll make sure we take more of the drifting circuit itself... Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:14 pm 
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Absolutley amazing pictures! Looking forward to many more!

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:06 am 
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Wow, this thread is like brain candy. Neko, the burnt out Silvia sounds so incredibly enticing! If you find the photo please do share.

Keep it up; I love it.

Tyler

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:00 am 
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Sven7 wrote:
If you find the photo please do share.


I could not find the Silvia, but found this from a friend on another day... Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:57 am 
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Turn right at 109 in Shibuya:

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Down past Bunkamura and tastefully shot-in-color retro Nissan:

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Past Yoyogi Stadium:

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and one of the more famous Japanese classic car shooting locations:

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Though the rockabilly dancers have relocated, and the only cos-play you see these days are strangely dressed Europeans looking for the long-gone locals, the kakoii still cruise:

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Either on their Fusion or Maxam, or perhaps in something a little less famous than Bond's 2000 GT:

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On assignment for an English magazine a few years ago, I stopped a big scooter rider and asked if I could take his photograph the following week. 'Ask some friends', I said. 50 riders turned up, someone ordered pizza, the cops showed up and wanted to know what was going on, and we politely explained, so they closed the street and helped.

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Harajuku still has what it takes, and there is always something interesting to see. Even if it only sad, tsukebe tourists with long lenses trying to look up loligoth skirts:

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See ya! Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:06 pm 
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For the same reason some of the signs in Guam & Gold Coast are in Japanese, signs in Noto-Hanto are in Russian. On the north coast of Japan, in Ishikawa-ken, it is a frequent port of call for Russian fisherman. As always, commercial interests drive cooperation for boat repair, restaurants, and hotels. Want some golubtsi with your sushi - sure!

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Notable too for interesting roads, as in a number of places the hard, wide, white-ish sands of Noto-Hanto can be driven on. In same places the road signs indicate a fork in the road name, and in taking one because we wanted to see the water, we were surprised to see the white lines disappear under sand, and the traffic just kept going onto the beach.

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As always in Japan, the restaurants are there, to cater for the visitors, and though closed on the cold winter morning we visited you could see the great summer outlook.

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Anyone can drive on the sand; cars, bikes, scooters, trucks, even fat belligerent Poms with lots of money, but a reasonable sense of humor.

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The whole region though is beautiful, with no tourists to speak of, very little traffic, and very friendly locals, who unlike in Tokyo where they assume your gaijin nose is from the United States, here they think every non-Japanese in Russian. Tell them you've driven from Tokyo, and they nearly choke.

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Old buildings, most reasonably well kept, are all over the place.

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Interesting roads to explore are at every turn.

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The food of course is as expected, glorious swathes of fresh seafood, prepared in more ways you can think. See ya! Neko.

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 Post subject: Re: OT: Japanese Roads - And Other Interesting Places.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:01 pm 

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Wow, thanks for that, brings back memories of living in Gifu prefecture eight years ago. A few pics from a quick drive up to the Noto Hanto at the time:

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really nice atmosphere, the place stuck in my memory as special.

a few more of my pics here...
https://plus.google.com/photos/11097117 ... 1rOg8rWnWA


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