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Archive for January 28th, 2021

One of the most positive aspects for me, doing these challenges keeps me moving towards my goals…as soon as lockdown is lifted I’m finalising my plan to walk The Thames Path. They give me something to dream about, and think about when I’m working, and help to relieve the many boring hours where I’m just cooped up and not walking. Once again I thank my daughter for introducing me to the challenges….

Just over halfway and I made it to Lake Yamanaka, the largest and the last of the Five Lakes. The lake is the only one of the five with a natural outflow, draining into Sagami River. Yamanaka is a popular recreational site for all types of watersports, boating, fishing and around the lake there are restaurants, parks, a small teddy bear museum and even a waterpark.

Back in 1985 aquatic adventurer Lynne Cox, was the first woman to swim across all Five Lakes. A long-distance open water swimmer, as part of her Swim Around the World in 80 Days quest, Lynne undertook a series of swimming challenges of which the Five Lakes was one of them. She is most famous for achieving the first diplomatic swim across Bering Strait (1987) and being the catalyst at opening the US-Soviet Border for the first time in 48 years, accomplishing the swim in 2:06hrs in 38°F (3°C) water.

There are several parks around the lake but Hana no Miyako Park is a wonderful 74 acres floral park. Every season is a kaleidoscopic display. Imagine tulips in spring; cosmos, zinnia, blue salvias or a field of sunflowers in summer; orange-red-russet colours of autumn; and whilst the soil is resting in the winter preparations are made for spring in the greenhouse.

Grapes are also harvested here to create Koshu wine, a white wine variety. Koshu wine is described as soft, fruity and aromatic with citrus overtones and considered a good match for Japanese cuisine. Yamanashi the prefecture that this Park sits within had the first proper winery established in the late 19th century. Locally grown grapes grew dramatically by the mid-late 20th century, so much so that more than 80 wineries can now be found in Yamanashi, producing 40% of Japan’s domestic wine.

On a clear day Mount Fuji majestically reflects off Lake Yamanaka but right now I am more excited about finally starting the climb up the mountain.

However, before I go here’s a final story. It’s of Kakozaka Shrine that is on the way to the trail. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Fujiwara (Hamuro) Mitsuchika. In the early 13th century the retired Emperor Go-toba had his political manoeuvres blocked by the Kamakura shogunate. Wanting the power he believed was rightfully his, he conspired to overthrow the shogunate by gathering his allies. Lord Hamuro it seems, presented himself to the Emperor ahead of expected time, seeking an audience that was denied. He then decided to write a proposal on how to pursue the regent of the shogunate. The conspiracy was leaked to the shogunate who then launched an offensive and crushed the opposition with the force of his army. Unfortunately Lord Hamuro was captured and executed for his role in the conspiracy. His grave near the shrine has been protected by the people of Subashiri and a memorial service is held every May.

Seems like a good time to go then…in May. Could combine the cherry blossom time with the walk. Apparently the best time to visit is between March-May. I could go for my birthday in April, do the walk and attend the memorial service

Why not join me on one of the challenges https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474 they are excellent motivation to get out and and walk, especially now that our wings are clipped by Covid-19 and lockdown.

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