Michi no eki Meisui no Sato provides a quiet night but, by 8.30 am the tour buses are arriving.
I was surprised to meet a lady cleaning the toilet at 5am but, sadly, by 9 her work has been undone.
We walk around Fukidashi Koen, the small ponds below the springs and the dinky waterfall.
I am surprised when a tiny fledgling comes straight at me, in tenuous, wobbling flight, to land on my shoulder. It perches there for a while, as D. struggles getting out her camera, then flutters off into the bushes before she succeeds.
Later, by the largest pond, we disturb a mother duck who leads her ducklings to the water. In this same pond are large Sakura masu, a kind of trout but they look more like salmon.
This wildlife bonanza takes place at a little remove from the main course taken by the majority of bus tours. These crowds confine themselves to the main spring and associated bridges.
The place certainly does not warrant the kind of attention that brings numerous busloads of people early in the morning. It is nice enough but not that interesting or beautiful.
Nakayama Toge 中山峠
From Fukidashi Koen, the park adjoining the michi no eki, we drive to Nakayama Toge or Nakayama Pass. At the top of the pass you find michi no eki Boyo Nakayama. This has a famous view of Yotesan (Mt.Yotei). This view is fine but there are plenty of better views of the mountain from anonymous places.
With this final view we conclude this Hokkaido tour and head for Tomakomai ferry Port to take the ferry to Sendai. The ferry leaves at 19:00.
The trip has been marred by bad weather. The conventional wisdom has it that Hokkaido does not have a rainy season but with rampant climate change the conventional wisdom no longer holds. The trip has had its moments of course. The Rebun Momoiwa hike being the outstanding event. Plus, sighting innumerable deer, 10 foxes, 3 or 4 sea eagles, 2 ferrets, lots of Shima Lisu (chipmunks) and red squirrels and various small birds. Worth a few damp days.
＊Taiheiyo Ferry ; Tomakomai – Sendai (Miyagi pref.)
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.