Author Topic: A week in Japan  (Read 466 times)

Offline lappino

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A week in Japan
« on: April 01, 2024, 05:57:32 AM »
Hello everybody,

This is the report of my latest ship spotting trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, that took me to locations from Nagasaki and Sasebo in Western Kyushu to Kobe and many places in between. As always, the main means of travel was train, with some buses, taxicabs and ferries included in the mix.

This was the first time that I have fully used the 7-days Sanyo-Sanin-Northern Kyushu rail pass (other times I would have days remaining), and I have exploited it mercilessly, getting good value for my coin. It was useful that this pass allowed for an unrestricted travel on the fastest Shinkansen trains, giving me more options in case of sudden changes of plans, and there were some.

The first day saw me arriving at Fukuoka and traveling to Nagasaki, ready to hit the port first thing in the morning, only to learn that the local weather forecast for tomorrow was raining cats and dogs.

So, I quickly decided to move to the first place where the forecast was less severe, and it was Aioi in Hyogo Prefecture, more than 600 km away, but still within the reach thanks to the rail pass ticket.

Aioi has a picturesque bay that has JMU yard in it, plus it’s sometimes used for long-term storage of large ferries, like this one:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/2714963

Or these:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/2492719

This time, however, it was devoid of any activity, so I moved on to my alternative target of Mizushima, with its Sanoyas shipyard. This was my first time visiting the location, and I only knew that there was a park overlooking the entrance to the bay that offered a decent view. Taxi driver spent a lot of time trying to figure out my intentions, but eventually delivered me close enough to my desired spot. Not knowing the amount of time I would spend there, I was un-smart enough to let him go, resulting in me walking back to the train station for 1 hour in driving rain.
Anyway, the only result was this Japan Coast Guard vessel:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3694585

The results for the second day were decidedly minimal, but I had better hopes for the next day, as the forecast for Nagasaki and Sasebo was excellent.

To be continued…

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2024, 06:52:35 AM »
I had to get up *really* early in the morning to catch my train from Kokura in order to make the connection to the boat in Nagasaki, but the results were a bit better than on the previous day, even though the lighting conditions were not perfect. There were some new guided missile frigates of the Japanese navy (JMSDF) at Mitsubishi shipyard:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684757

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684758

… and some new bulk carriers, although photographed with mediocre quality:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684755

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684756

This Boeing hydrofoil was a regular scene at Nagasaki ferry terminal:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684918

Then I took a train to Sasebo and the nearby Oshima shipyard, with its mix of cargo and naval vessels:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684936

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684764

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684763

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684762

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686003

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684761

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684760

That was all for Day 3, and I took a train to Mihara in Hiroshima Prefecture next.

To be continued…

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2024, 07:14:45 AM »
Day 4 started with a short train ride to Onomichi (the best kept secret of Japan, as the town is charming!), where I took this ferry to Tsuneishi yard in Fukuyama:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3575711

There were some small vessels under construction there being photo taking worthy:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684768

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684767

The ferry route passed by the Onomichi Dockyard:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684766

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684765

After I missed the bus to the train station, I’ve decided to postpone the trip to the “Rabbit island” of Okunoshima, and go directly to Hiroshima, to take the ferry to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, passing by the JMU shipyard in Kure, with its Maersk container vessels:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684749

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684746

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684745

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684744

There was also the nearby shipyard of Kegoya:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686005

… and one classic looking AHTS at Kure port:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684939

Sea passage between Kure and Matsuyama offered potential sightings of the traffic in Seto Inland Sea, but the ships were usually far away, so this photo was among the more decent ones. Also, it started to snow…

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686010

To be continued…
« Last Edit: April 02, 2024, 01:39:17 AM by lappino »

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2024, 08:11:51 AM »
I’ve arrived at Matsuyama port with hopes to catch the first available train to Imabari, so instead of taking the tram to the station, I’ve taken the taxi, only to miss the train by a couple of minutes. Oh well. Still, there was enough light available for me to take these photos from Imabari yard at Hashihama:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3685611

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3685613

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689068

And the local train connection allowed me to quickly visit the nearby Shin Kurushima shipyard in Onishi, with its new vehicle carriers for MOL:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3685262

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686015

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3685264

I had an idea to maybe use the overnight ferry from Matsuyama to Kokura next, specifically this one:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3120937

However, it looked like the beginning of March was the scheduled dry docking period for a number of ferries in the are. So I've spend the night in Imabari, in order to take an early morning ferry back to Honshu island, to Mihara via Habu on the island of Innoshima.

To be continued…

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2024, 08:43:35 AM »
The morning was beautiful, and the small fast passenger ferry from Imabari to Habu had an open deck, so the (usually wet and non-transparent) window glass was not in the way. These were some of the new vessels photographed at Hakata island:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686593

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686595

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689080

Approaching Habu, there were some good views of the JMU Innoshima yard:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686601

And the Naikai Innoshima yard:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686636

With some tugs milling around:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686638

Later, taking a different ferry towards Mihara, it was possible to see the Iwagi shipyard on the island of the same name:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686608

I’ve arrived at Mihara ferry terminal in time for the boat ride to Okunoshima (“Rabbit island”), passing by the local Imabari shipyard, but the notice said that all trips were suspended until April. Bummer. So I took a ferry to Setoda on the island of Ikuchi instead, offering me but a very far away look of the Imabari yard:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689057

However, the next (deliciously unplanned) ferry ride to Onomichi passed very close to the local Naikai shipyard:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686846

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689113

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689114

And past the Mukaishima yard in Onomichi:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686850

To be continued…

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2024, 12:23:28 PM »
Then it was time to ride the train again, first the fast one to Okayama, and then the "regular" one to Takamatsu, going by the set of huge bridges over Seto Inland Sea. Their metallic construction was always in the way when trying to take some photos of the marine traffic below, but about one in twenty photos was good enough:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686891

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689058

Here's a set of photos of a LNG tanker docking at Sakaide LNG terminal:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684933

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684934

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684932

Large LPG tanker fitting out at Kawasaki yard in Sakaide:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689061

There was another large LNG tanker fitting out nearby, but just as I was about to take its photo, the train decided to suddenly jerk violently to the side, resulting in me spending the next few minutes searching for my teeth on the car floor after getting hit in the face by my own camera... Oh well. :)

Before going to Takamatsu, I had a tiny bit of time to visit Imabari yard at Marugame, and this Maersk vessel's photo was the result of my quick detour:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689137

To be continued...

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2024, 11:44:03 PM »
Continuing to Takamatsu, there’s a shipyard there, and this was one recently launched bulk carrier:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689064

Takamatsu also has a busy ferry service to and from adjacent islands, but there was nothing readily available to me, so I’ve decided to take the “Jumbo ferry” to Kobe. The ferry was “Ritsurin II”, and inside it looked as if it was going to hit some beach real soon…

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689132

Along the way to Kobe it was possible to observe some local traffic:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689066

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689074

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689077

Next morning I took the harbor cruise in Kobe, famous for its submarine yards (I’ll upload some photos eventually), but here are only “civilian” vessels:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686568

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3686567

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689109

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689111

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3689387

To be continued…
« Last Edit: April 01, 2024, 11:54:32 PM by lappino »

Offline lappino

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2024, 01:36:21 AM »
After that I took a fast train towards Kokura and then a slower one to Mojiko, to see whatever was going on in Kanmon Straits:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684751

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3684753

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3691654

There were also some interesting things to see at the Mitsubishi yard in Shimonoseki:

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3691640

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3691642

https://www.shipspotting.com/photos/3691648

And that was it.

Thanks for your attention! 😊

Offline davidships

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Re: A week in Japan
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2024, 03:00:35 AM »
Wow, Lappino.  Your reports are always so impressive.  It's as exhausting following the episodes as it must be for you to make even half of your travel connections.

 

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