Fukuroda Falls and the Hananuki Valley
Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
24Trip End Nov 14, 2007
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We didn't have a map showing any details about the area, so we just had a vague idea of how to get there ... so, it was something of an adventure! We didn't immediately find the road we were looking for, so just drove in the general direction. We ended up on an absolutely gorgeous, uncrowded road. It climbed quite a bit into hilly, forested areas. We saw some nice fall color in the higher country and some very pretty small farming hamlets.
We bought some delicious apples from a roadside stand. Apples are quite big business in the area; the trees were loaded with perfectly round, red, enormous fruit. When I was reading about the apple orchards in this area, I came across this great quote: "Your will be in blithe spirit by sweet and sour sent of apple." :-) I suppose I was in blithe spirit ... not quite sure what that means, however.
We did a pretty good job of navigating and found our way pretty directly to the falls. This is a beautiful waterfall, with some nice colors along the banks. In a good year, the colors would be spectacular. We took the normal approach (300 yen) through a tunnel to the overlook, and then climbed up to the top of a nearby mountain. It was more of a climb than we bargained for (LOTS of steep steps), but well worth the effort. There are nice views from the top, a pretty forest, and a picturesque small temple near the top.
After coming down, we were able to find Hananuki Valley, which we had been looking for originally. Again, it's a pretty area with few people. The Hananuki "Glen" was really nice - a beautiful stream through deciduous forest, camping and hiking spots. It reminded me of a wetter version of portions along the Gila river in New Mexico where we used to camp when I was a kid
It was a great day. We were really glad we had gotten out, as it did rain over the weekend, and it was our last chance to get out and really enjoy the countryside. Next time we're in Japan, we're determined to get a hiking guide and some better maps. There are lots of beautiful places to hike in Japan ... most are quite steep, but not all.
Note: I'll add photos when I get a chance. I no longer have my computer, and this one doesn:t have a DVD drive (and that's where my photos are). Besides, this keyboard is killing me, and I'm having trouble with everything from sending emails to editing Word documents. It doesn't help at all that the menu choices and error messages are all in Japanese!!