Monday, August 3, 2015

The Coleridge Walkway @ Porlock

The Coleridge walkway spreads over 51 miles through Somerset & Devon.

One of the towns on the walkway is Porlock where we visited. The walkway forms part of the South West Coastal path, all clearly signposted and making the longest walking trail in England. 
There is a mini museum with relics of days of yore, definitely worth a visit as it sets the scene for the area.

The marsh at Porlock beach is the main attraction and also an area of scientific interest. Take care as the tide comes in fully over the ridge and floods the marsh, but when the tide is out, you can walk far out on the shingles (bring solid walking shoes!)

The village of Porlock is quaint and boasts a famous steep hill of 1:4 gradient, one of the steepest hills in England (not to be taken lightly!) but more famous for its large shingle beach, and by shingles, we mean pebbles...BIG pebbles. 

The walk from the village to the beach is easy. Take the Sparkhayes road on the right at the 'Piggy in the middle' chip shop (which is very good by the way!) The beach is accessible by a clearly marked path (not the road, but the path) where you will pass sheep and horses and donkeys.

 Also famous in Porlock is the Weir and the harbour. It is a few miles along the marshes and the walkway with a selection of cottages offering a picturesque view, not much else, save a craft shop. There is ruin of an old house en route which I found to be of more interest and set the scene of times gone by and the famous writes and authors who may have trodden the same steps in their opiate haze.

Where we stayed - HUNTERS LODGE

A new B & B with two rooms available. One is pet free (60 pounds) and one you can stay with your dog (65 pounds) - a bargain if you ask me!

On arrival we were greeted with this cookies, which simply melted in our mouths and tea and coffee from Mileswhich is conveniently cased in the village should you want more.
Our main route was on the A39, which offers a simple, pleasant straight road across Somerset. Recommended routes would be through Exmoor Park, and then the Quantock hills, which even on a cloudy/rainy day is enjoyable.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kawaguchi ko, HOTELS

Lake Kawaguchi is a great day trip from Tokyo although very long, so my tip would be to book up a night somewhere and enjoy the lush scenery and the beautiful lake and some of the many activities around the area too.

In my top 3, we have a dog-friendly place, a Lee-friendly (me!) place and a ryokan for that extra special treat!

Lakeside Cottage (Dog friendly)

 We took our dog once to Lake Kawaguchi (he loved it by the way!) so we needed a pet friendly place to stay that was reasonable.

The cottages are a 15-20 minute drive from station.

Prices are reasonable off season and like many other places, climb with the number of visitors.

The cottages are on the east side of the lake so Mount Fuji is behind you and you cannot see it at all. But the views are lovely and the walking path way is easily accessible, so do not be put off.

The office is in the shop and there is plenty of fishing gear available to buy/rent as it is a main activity of the area. I am sure they can help with boat rentals too. 

Inside is nice enough. There is a gas range, along with a rice cooker and aside from a few stink bugs in the vicinity, cooking was very pleasant.

Prices can be reasonable - around ¥15,000 per cottage with 2 adults, but it may change according to season.

Check online -

Komaya Ryokan (Just about perfect!)

Komaya is by far our favourite hideout. If you are coming from the big city, this hotel provides the perfect respite.
You can drive around from the station or indeed, arrange a pick up from the tourist office to the right of the station.
We like to walk across as there IS a pathway ( do NOT be put off by people trying to tell you otherwise or dissuade you - we LOVE this walk!)

The hotel is opposite Mount Fuji and if you ask for a lakeside room, you will be spoilt with views of my favourite mountain!

On your arrival there are cookies and tea. What more could you want!

Dinner and breakfast are optional, but I would recommend them for sure. Dinner is Yakiniku (fried meat), cooked by YOU on a hot plate made from lava from Mount Fuji itself! There are plenty of vegetables along with local fish to so the non meat eaters can still enjoy!

Breakfast is traditional Japanese style with natto and rice. You should try it!

This hotel is reasonable and actually calling direct is a tiny bit cheaper than if you can manage it!

No website - old school!
  1. Address: Japan, 〒401-0304 Yamanashi Prefecture, Minamitsuru District, 富士河口湖町河口2988

OOOOH.....Must not forget - this hotel has two private onsens (which means tattoos OK!!!) Just book a time slot on arrival and it is yours for one hour! (If you are sharing a room with friends, you can share the one hour time slot if not visiting the onsen together.

Mizuno Hotel (A little bit fancy!)

This is a good choice if you want to impress a visitor to Japan and show them the full works. The food is beautifully over-the-top, but be sure your guest has the palate for it all. Locally sourced fish, cooked and raw, will be part of the selection. It's a unique experience.

Mizuno can accept pets apparently, but you have to call with your booking.

Address: 187 Azagawa, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 
401-0303, Japan
Phone:+81 555-72-1234

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kawaguchi ko 2014 - The walking tour!

Walking around the whole of the lake....with a dog!

Lake Kawaguchi is an amazing spot for tourists from Tokyo. Allow at least one night stay to make it all worthwhile. (See my next post for hotel recommendations.)


Express trains run from Shinjuku straight through to Kawaguchiko, but they are rare.

There is also the super rapid train through to Otsuki (it's white with green and yellow on it). You can use your Passmo/Suica card, but you must also buy a ¥930 express ticket. It's worth it to make the journey smoother.

From Shinjuku take the CHUO Line through to Otsuki, then change to the Fujikyu Line to Kawaguchiko, around ¥2500.

The Highway bus takes around 2 hours, traffic dependent. ¥1700 one way. (but no dogs allowed)

So we took our dog along for the weekend, and it is a very doable thing, even without a car!

Most of the lake has designated pathways to follow for the walkers around the lake. Some areas do not, but the roads are never usually so busy that it is really dangerous. 

You need a good few hours to walk around the lake itself and from the east to the west side there is surprisingly little to see. There were a few very old and desolate hotels, a result of the bubble era and now, like many others in Japan, left to rot. There were a few other hotels that offered a view of Fuji and there were a few restaurants that caught our eye too. 

The views were constantly breathtaking and it was hard to not keep stopping for a shot!

This Magma villa looked of interest - it's a spa place....Fancy it?!

There were a few old buildings on the way around that took you straight back in time.

And best of all...for our pup, there were parts of the lake were you could just wander in freely. He loved it! 

Dotted around the lake are various activities and sights to see. there are two hot springs in the area,  

along with craft workshops. And it wouldn't be Japan without lots of shrines & tori gates too.

There was a sign for a camp site, I think there are a few in the region - that would be fun to try -
Camp site signs.

Breathtaking Mount Fuji

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mejiro Teien 目白庭園 - The Japanese Garden

There are a few peaceful spots in Tokyo where you can escape the buzz and the rush of the city. Mejiro Japanese gardens is one of them. Entrance is free and you can walk around gazing at the waters and taking in the calm surroundings.

The gardens proved a great picnic spot, even in the rain you can shelter under the hexagon gazebo and watch the ducks and carp.

We were lucky enough to catch the first blossoms of the year and to enjoy the atmospheric scene of the raindrops on the waterfall and stepping stones.

The gardens are open every day 9am - 5pm,longer in the summer months  (closed 2nd & 4th Mondays) . There are illuminations in the Autumn time too!

Website (Japanese) -

Address - 3-20-18 Mejiro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo (5 minutes walk from Mejiro Station)