Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photo Fun in the Mountains of Okinawa, Japan (Yambaru)

At least once a week someone will contact me asking where I shot some scene they spotted on the
blog or my website.  That's good, knowing someone is looking at the photos and not just reading. 

And, it's a real bonus when you've inspired someone enough to actually want directions to the location.

Last Saturday, after leaving the Iris Fields, my photo fun for the day was up in the mountains.  In Okinawa, the locals call this territory "Yambaru". Now that I've been enlightened to the fact we have these folks called Geocachers on the island I may start having more fun than ever before with my photography.

For me, it's pretty difficult giving directions mostly because I don't pay that much attention to where I'm going.  Even when you know exactly where something on Okinawa is, it's not easy telling someone else how to get there. Streets and buildings don't have names and numbers in lots of locations. 

There aren't that many traffic signals so, telling someone, "Go three lights down that way from here and take a left.  Then, two more blocks and another left. The second light, from there, hook a right and my house is catty-corner from the red brick church."  This ain't that kind of country. It's a bit different here.

In town, I might tell someone, "Look for the ugly blue gas station.  At the next corner there's a Mom and Pop store on the left. From there you keep going until you pass two red Coke Machines and five blue Boss Coffee Machines, cross a narrow wooden bridge, after a yellow vending machine turn right and, so on." 

Up in the Yambaru (Mountains) look for lots of woods and jungle.  There's no Coffee or Coke machines. 

You might spot a Mongoose Buster's vehicle parked alongside the one lane road winding through the mountains.  Don't mess with them guys; they work for the Government.  They might know karate.

Every now and then you may come across something like this gem.  I guess you could call it a lookout point but, when you look out all you'll see is more Yambaru jungle and mountains.

Once you run across a dandy like this with a fence, electricity and probably runnng water, you know civilization can't be too far away.

When I spotted this pencil, for sure, I knew if I kept on going the way I was, sooner or later, I'd be running into the educated masses of people back down in the cities. Dang it !

This is just where the fun begins now, for me.  This will be my weekly contribution to Nancie, the LadyE, over at Budget Travelers Sandbox for Travel Photo Thursday.

Plus, that pencil, located in the YAMBARU DISCOVERY FOREST points to a map that the Geocachers and people asking me how to find the BRIDGE TO NOWHERE can use.  It's all right there.  Just bring along your camera so you can have Photo Fun in the Mountains of Okinawa, Japan the way I do. 

To get there you take HWY 58 north to Ogimi.  Turn right and drive up into the mountains.  You'll pass thousands of ferns and the forest will stop having Coke Machines.  Then you know you're on the right track.

Keep your eyes open for Mongoose Buster trucks, falling rock zones with yellow signs and fixer-upper dwellings and sooner or later you'll see sunshine and the signs for the Yambaru Discovery (YD) Forest.


Evan said...

That first photo of the fern is amazing--the light and color make it look like a dream-world!

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you ! I just posted a better on of that same fern on my Homepage and entered it in a contest. Hope the judges like it, too.

Expat in Germany said...

I never thought of Japan as a place for scenic hikes, but clearly I was wrong. Love places in the middle of nowhere like this one.

Leigh said...

Love the fern shot and the way you captured the light. Also like the way the pencil is used as a directional arrow.

strux said...

This place looks beautiful...great shots!

Jim said...

Thanks for the fern pic and the rest of the forest Mike. Tells me a lot about the vegetation up there. How much of the original cover was destroyed in the war?

Cathy Sweeney said...

Awesome fern photo - good luck with the contest. I really like the story here and other photos, too. What's the deal with the pencil?

RyukyuMike said...

Depending on the location, mant places on the island had all the vegetation completely wiped out during the war.
There may be a forthcoming series of photos on that in my Then and Now files. Stand by for more.

Shucks, I don't know what the story behind the pencil really is. They have dorms there. Maybe it's to remind students to take notes or get their homework done before they go out to play.

RyukyuMike said...

Thanks. I hope my directions weren't too confusing, in case you ever decide to take a trip up that way.

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you. That's what I should have told Cathy the pecnil was, a directional arrow. It'd probably be outlawed in the US as a safety hazzard. You know, those OSHA dudes are fairly tough on pencils.

RyukyuMike said...

Expat in Germany,
Oh, you've got to visit, someday. There's all kinds of places for hiking in Japan, even on the outskirts of big cities like Tokyo.
Google Todd's Wanderings. He recently did a post on a mountain trail within the Tokyo area.

Unknown said...

Great shots Mike. Love the lighting on the fern...beautiful.

Thanks for another great week of Travel Photo Thursday.

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you for inspiring me to get involved in Travel Photo Thursday.
Keeps me on my toes.

Ali said...

Dear Mike,
I am doing a project on the Ryukyu Robin and I would like to be able to watch and research this bird. Can you please tell me if you have ever seen this bird out in the open? Also which trail is best to hike on in your opinion? Thank you!

RyukyuMike said...

Thanks for visiting. If you reach me through my Facebook Fan Page or go through the Contact ME on my website, it'd be easier to explain. Yes, I have photographed the Ryukyu Robin in the wild.
I'd like to get more shots of them so, if you're doing a project I can help you getterdun!