Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mt Aso, Day 3

On our last day in Minami Aso we wanted to explore the mountains surrounding the caldera. We had spent so much time in the middle on the volcanoes that we hadn't seen the area from the other side of the valley. Our host recommended we start at a tourist center about twenty minutes away. He drove us there and helped us rent electric bicycles.

The man working at the tourist center thought it was very funny that we hiked up Mt. Aso by accident. He couldn't stop laughing. He was very nice and gave us recommendations on routes to travel that wouldn't be too steep. He let us rent the bicycles for free. Our host explained all the picture-taking for my blog. He hopes you will all come visit him in Minami Aso. He will have bicycles ready for all.

Back up into the clouds
We rode out and started climbing the mountains. Even with the help of the electric bicycles it was still a tough ride! Very steep!

Along the way we passed some falls that were worth stopping. If only to stretch our legs for a little bit.

We reached the top and were able to see the volcanic rock formations. I wish it had been a bit clearer, but then it would have been uncomfortably hot.

Dustin's battery died and these bicycles are heavy so we decided to head down the mountain and get some lunch. The local area is known for their buckwheat soba noodles. So we decided to try our hand at making the famed noodles.

The building was circular and had windows all along the outside. In the center was the prep area that we worked in.

"Add water here!"

Kneed the dough

Must not have been doing it right...
Roll it out to make a perfect square

Don't want to lose a finger

Our noodles weren't very even - some were fat and some were slivers. They tasted good for our first time making soba!

Zachary, remember your marble soda we had during our visit to California? They actually do have it in Japan! It was quite tasty again!

Next we set out on a long walk back towards the pension. Along the way we wanted to see the Big Cherry Blossom Tree. In the spring, it is a sight to see (as the pictures around the pension will show). During our visit the cherry blossoms had already departed, but it was still worth walking to see the 400 year old tree.

What a day! It was beautiful once the clouds cleared out.

Back at the pension our host asked us to put a pin in the map where we were from. He had many pins from Europe and the United States.

I would just like to point out that we were the second pin to be put in for Chattanooga, Tennessee!

How many more can we add to the map? :)

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