Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Nippara Limestone Caves and Lake Okutama

About an hour's drive from base are some of the prettiest mountains I have ever seen.  That, plus beautiful fall colors, make this place hard to beat.  To enjoy the season and do some exploring, last weekend we joined our friends and went up to the Nippara Limestone Caves and for a drive around Lake Okutama.  

These pictures don't really do the beautiful mountains justice, but considering these pictures were all taken with our iPhones (and mostly out our car windows), they turned out pretty well!  The fall colors, combined with the fog and rain made the scenery truly breathtaking.  I can't say often enough how much I love living here!!!

After the drive up along super skinny mountain roads, we finally arrived at the Nippara Limestone Caves.  They were huge--the largest in the Kanto region!  And really cool.  We had fun exploring and were on the lookout for bats, but unfortunately we didn't see any.  The boys (between our 3 families there were 7 boys and 2 girls!) especially loved exploring the caves, checking things out with their flashlights, and hearing their voices echo.  By the time we were walking out of the caves, William was already asking if we could go back again sometime.  It was a really fun family outing.

After exploring the caves, we all jumped back in our cars and went for a drive further up the mountain.  We drove up to Lake Okutama, which was INCREDIBLE.  BEAUTIFUL.  GORGEOUS. I don't know how else to express the exquisiteness of such a spectacular place!  And, with the fog over the mountain tops reaching down to the lake, it was peaceful and calming as well.  

After driving around the lake and enjoying the views, we found a tiny little mom and pop's restaurant that usually caters to hikers and travelers.  We ate delicious katsu-curry, ramen, ginger fried pork, and ton katsu.  It was the perfect warm meal to finish off a wonderful day!

GPS Coordinates for the Caves: 35.8551800, 139.0408900

GPS Coordinates for the Lake: 35.784308, 139.033419

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