Japan – Seta

Exploration continues

After the previous days exploration of Ishiyama, I decided use this day to continue exploration further around the lake, this would eventually led me to Seta.

Setting off on foot I headed to the front of Lake Biwa and followed the edge of the lake in the eastern direction.  At this stage the day was actually overcast and a little cold with the breeze blowing across the open lake.

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I passed by the area of Zeze and reached a long bridge that spanned across the southern tip of the lake.  Looking south from the bridge I could see Ishiyama in the distance, looking north I could just about make out some mountains through the mist in the distance.  At the end of the bridge I found the massive shopping complex of Aeon Mall.

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I knew Aeon to be a big supermarket, but had not realised that they seem to actually own a lot more assets, this whole shopping mall was theirs, it even had Aeon Cinema as well!  Clearly Aeon are a lot bigger than I thought they were!

In fact given the size of this shopping complex and the amount of different things inside it, I’m surprised that no one in the area had actually thought to mention its existence to me before!

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The complex itself contained an Aeon supermarket, cinema, amusement arcade, food court and three floors of shops, ranging from designer clothes to trendy coffee shops.  There was also some very large toy stores at one end as well.  After wandering around and checking it all out I ended up in the food court, being virtually broke at this point a cheap 600yen rice bowl was my choice.

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The food court itself was on the top floor, offering a nice view out of the large windows.  The only downside with the seating is that it seemed to be out of range of the malls WiFi network.

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Fuelled on some food I headed out and got back on track in the direction of Seta, not being in a hurry I just headed vaguely in the right direction and wound my way there through a series of random side streets and smaller roads.  It was interesting just seeing the mix of houses and fields in the area, at one stage I think I passed through one of the industrial estates which seemed to offer a mix of car dealerships and wholesale places.

With the sun now beating down on me I finally caved and found myself purchasing a Pepsi Refresh Shot from a vending machine.

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Now it makes a claim that it’s ‘strong cola’, and being in a smaller can with a name like Refresh Shot I was expecting it to taste different to normal Pepsi and be somehow more refreshing.  To my surprise it did actually seem to taste more refreshing than a normal can of Pepsi / Pepsi Max! There was something about the taste that did seem more concentrated as well, and (in my mind at least) it seemed colder somehow!  Now maybe it was a placebo effect and it is in fact just regular Pepsi, but to me something certainly seemed different and better about it!

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Feeling energized (and maybe slightly confused) after the Pepsi Refresh Shot, it didn’t take me long before I reached Seta JR station, which if anything confirmed that I had reached Seta.  The area around the station had a shrine nearby, small shops and drinking holes, and some really nice artwork on an apartment block nearby, I think the art may relate to The Tale Of Genji, but don’t hold me to that.

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Passing through Seta revealed a series of shops, offices and banks, having actually arrived here about 4.30pm a lot of things were winding down for the day.  I decided I would head home the long way around, walking back past Ishiyama.  On the way I passed a very confusing sign for the Tokaido route (I believe the ancient highway between Kyoto and Tokyo), the sign though pointed both left and right, so which way it actually was I have no idea.

IMAG4536.jpgEventually I arrived in Ishiyama, just in time to capture the sun breaking behind some clouds.  I spent a bit of time near the river banks just relaxing for a bit, I even managed to grab a picture of the shinkansen passing on a bridge (though at a much reduced speed for the urban area).

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I headed off the route I knew I took some different roads to get back, on the way out of Ishiyama I was presented with a surprise in the form of a machine offering a Fire coffee that I hadn’t tried before!! Excitedly I put my money in and hit the button, only to find out the whole range was out of stock!!  Figuring another machine in the area may contain this mythical drink I then spent 20 minutes searching all the streets and machines nearby, but alas it was not to be found.  Disappointed I headed home, making a mental note to come back another day.

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Amazingly though I didn’t have to wait long to cross this new coffee off my list.  As that evening back at the house one of the others was heading off out to a Sento for the evening, asking if I wanted anything picked up on the way back I tossed a hundred yen in his direction and said ‘get me a drink from a vending machine, anything will do just surprise me’.  Hours later he arrived back with none other than a can of the mythical Fire Mountain Double Coffee!!

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