Are you familiar with the Mediterranean climate? Southern and Southeastern Europe are well known for their endless rows of olive trees, rocky but lush pine tree coasts, cold winds blowing all throughout the year along the clear air accompanying them.
In Japan, it is possible to experience the same kind of atmosphere, relatively near to the city of Tōkyō. It takes only about an hour by the electric train to take you to from Shinagawa station in Tōkyō to Yokosuka-chūō (central) station in Kanagawa prefecture.
In April, as the nature is waking up from its slumber once again, the air is very clear and the temperatures are optimal. Not only you are able to enjoy the mild climate, there are also cherry blossoms to behold in one of the parks near the station.
Miura Peninsula is the name for the wider area that includes the everything from the Miura city in the south up to the Kamakura in the northern parts.
Today, we would like to concentrate on the middle belt of the Miura Peninsula - Yokosuka.
In 1853, United States naval Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Tokyo Bay with his fleet of Black Ships and came ashore at Kurihama, in southern Yokosuka, leading to the opening of diplomatic and trade relations between Japan and the United States. The Kanrin Maru ship sailed from Yokosuka in 1860 with the first Japanese diplomatic embassy to the United States in 1860. Ever since, Yokosuka has been developing and growing as a port city, introducing many western elements to its infrastructure.
Architecturally, it created a blend of Japanese, European and American styles (still serving as a home port for the United States Seventh Fleet), making it quite unique in its own terms.
Perhaps, its most obvious feature is the sandy beaches anywhere you look.
Lately, there seems to be a movement that aims to make the beaches livelier by offering sea kayaking as one of the activities. We were able to experience in the morning for ourselves and loved it!
In the distance, you are able to see not only the islands, but also Mt. Fuji as well. Those familiar with the history of Japanese art might have heard of Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) and its famous "Under the Wave off Kanagawa" ukiyoe (woodblock print). The picture below might give you an idea of where the artists got his inspiration from.
After one hour of kayaking, we felt more confident and went on exploring. We've stumbled upon the traditional Japanese-style inn and went for a lunch there. We've been kindly shown the premises and taken to a big room for lunch. Interior is traditionally Japanese with a hint of West, but looking outside the window suddenly takes you to a different world. It is quite impressive, to say the least.
Every single room has it's own name. This one reads "eternal waves".
There are also male and female hot bath facilities, which is quite common in Japanese-style inns.
The lunch was amazing. The dishes kept coming and coming.
Until we were completely full and satisfied...
...and ready to move on.
To be continued in part 2...