Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shizuhara - 31 May 2009

What was meant to be a great day riding with fellow Vespa's owners to Miyama, (about 130km return trip) turned out to be a trip to hospital thanks to my daughter gouging herself with a chisel and adding 5 stitches to her hand yesterday.

This effectively meant another trip to the hospital this morning to change the dressing, and this meant I missed the 10am start for the Vespa ride.

All was not lost however, as the afternoon weather was beautiful, thus I set out on my own heading north to Ohara. Once arriving at Ohara, I turned left and headed west to Shizuhara and then Kibune & Kurama. After Kibune, I headed south, for Horikawa Dori and then home.

The ride isn't too long, about 40km's, however it heads up a meandering mountain, the across a flat level surrounded by the Shizuhara village and rice fields. This areas is particularly beautiful and allowed me to take some shots of the Vespa on a rusty old bridge and beside some rice fields.
Unfortunately I didn't take any shots of Kibune and Kurama and will save these for Autumn when they truly stand out.

I am unable to tell you what is so special about Shizuhara as Wikipedia doesn't say anything about it and most sites are in Japanese. All I can say its a lovely place to ride through with very little traffic.

However, whilst the ride was nice, I would have loved to be on the ride with Shirai san and company and the annoying sound of multiple Vespa's belting through the country side of Kyoto.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kiyamachi Dori & Gion - 24 May 2009

Today I planned to take a long ride somewhere into the country and awoke early to sprinkling rain. The quick decision to return to bed was the preferred option, but by 9am the urge to get on the Vespa was too strong, so off I went.

As my planned ride was later than expected, I thought I would stick to the local areas.

My first stop was Kiyamachi Dori. This is one of my favourite streets in Kyoto. I am fortunate enough that its just behind my work, and particularly in spring this is a beautiful street. The entire length of it is always very pleasant.

The shots below were taken between Shijo Dori and Gojo Dori.

A small piece of information regarding Kiyamachi can be found here:

After leaving Kiyamachi Dori, I headed east along Matsubara Dori, that is effectively a one way bridge over the Kamogawa River.

The shots show the Vespa parked on the bridge, looking north highlighting the restaurants that line Kiyamachi Dori. At this time of year and throughout summer, the restaurants have outdoor dining areas set up.

After crossing the bridge on Matsubara Dori, I headed North East into Gion. Gion is famous for Geisha's, but it also has many unique buildings, restaurants and bars, and is now well known as an entertainment area with many "hostess" bars.

Probably the most photographed area around Gion is Shirakawa Dori. This is a beautiful tree-lined street, with many traditional houses, predominantly converted to restaurants. The shots below show the Vespa in the most commonly photographed spots.

Some more information regarding Gion can be found here:

Finally before returning home, I headed a little further North East and took some more shots of the Vespa along a small canal that runs of Sanjo Dori, just east of Kawabata Dori.

You will note if you look closely the blue smoke exiting the exhaust of the Vespa. At the time I was parked opposite a florist shop, and I got the idea they weren't impressed with the sight or smell! However just before riding away (in a rush), the shop owner commented what a nice bike it maybe the smell or noise was abated by the Vespa's looks.

Vespa Spot (7)

I found the following Vespa outside of the Kokka Hair Salon, located on Imadegawa Dori, slightly west of Horikawa Dori.

I have seen this Vespa for a long time and its quite cute. Note the many lights at the front. Unfortunately, as the hair salon was open I couldn't get a good shot of the front.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vespa VBC - Up Close

The following are shots (up close) of my 1967 Vespa VBC.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vespa Spot (6)

Shortly after the posting below, I followed a lead that my daughter gave me that there was a modern Vespa located just behind Murasikino Elementary School.

She was correct and I found this one. Unfortunately I couldn't take too many shots as the owner of the house was sitting in their front room and I have no doubt the flash was disturbing them.

I can imagine what they must be thinking when a foreigner is hanging outside their house taking photo's at 10.00pm. I am surprised the Police weren't called.

Vespa Spot (5)

Tonight whilst driving along Kitaoji Dori, slightly east of Senbon Dori, I noticed this little blue Vespa outside of a Pachinko Parlour.

At the time I didn't have my camera with me, so I rushed home, grabbed it and raced back to get the shot.

Again, I think this is a nice little Vespa in original condition (I think), similar to the last post.

To learn a little more about Pachinko Parlours, which I believe are the scourge of Kyoto, click this link:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vespa Spot (4)

Kuramuguchi Street, located in the north of Kyoto was the location of my latest find.

Outside Cafe Sarasa this evening, I came across this nice little blue one. Honestly one of the more original (though I am not an expert) Vespa's I have seen in Kyoto.
Unfortunately I only had my phone to take the pictures so they are pretty poor quality.

On another note, Cafe Sarasa does a reasonably good coffee, good BLT's and a great Tekka don (Tuna on top of rice).

Cafe Sarasa is located on Kuramuguchi Street, just west of Shirai Vespa....if you know where that is. Website for Cafe Sarasa is as follows:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vespa Spot (3)

Spotted a second Vespa in Kyoto on the same day.

This little blue on was located near just south of Horikawa / Nakadachiuri intersection. I don't know the exact name of the street, but east of the shops.

Vespa Spot (2)

Discovered this Vespa in the car park of the Kyoto Royal Hotel on Kawaramachi Dori. Kyoto Royal Hotel and Spa can be found here:

The Vespa is owned a Chef of the hotel and he uses Inoda Motors on Senbon Dori to service it.

Love the windshield!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vespa Spot (1)

Spotted this Vespa on Teramachi Street (North of Oike) parked outside of the Al Matsuo Italian Restaurant.

By the look of the flat rear tyre, it seems to be a decoration rather than a fully functioning scooter.

Nice decoration though! Al Matsuo link can be found here. Sorry, Japanese only.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Arashiyama - 9 May 2008

Today the temperature in Kyoto reached an unseasonably but balmy 30 degrees Celsius. There is no better way to spend a warm morning than taking the Vespa for ride.

Arishiyama is less than 10km's from my house and is located on the Oi River. The river and mountain area is quite spectacular and there are many temples and shrines of historical significance in the area. Along with this, there are many traditional restaurants and ryokan's.

My favourite however is the residential district and you will see a photo of the Vespa outside a traditional Japanese House. The gardens are beautifully manicured and the azalea's are in full bloom.

The vespa is probably a little loud for the Arashiyama and surrounds, but its hard not to enjoy the ride when the weather is this good!

More about Arashiyama here: