Day 45, October 2016,
A grey start to the day but not so cold and no frost though the stars were visible in the night. We breakfast on coffee and toast and apples prepared in the office basement of Goshogake campsite and are enjoying this in the dining room when people start arriving for an event starting at 9. They are apologetic when we leave but breakfast is over anyway. The Akita apples ’Kita Kurenai’ are very good.
We walk around the pond ‘Onuma’ which is part of the campsite. The usual raised wooden walkway carries you over the swamp and it is all very pretty but no sign of life, except the odd photographer.
Goshogake onsen 後生掛温泉
After the lake, we drive a short distance to a Goshogake onsen jikoku (hell) with its little mud volcanoes. This proves to be an extensive and very active volcanic area with its numerous small, volcanic mouths blurting out grey mud and others bubbling hot, acidic water. Not so active, but strangely beautiful, is a large pool of greenish grey water that we walk around. The origin of all this stark and dangerous beauty is, apparently, a volcanic mouth gently burping thick, black mud. A weird and wonderful place that is well worth a visit as the steady stream of people testified and the onsen hotel by the car park seemed busy.
On the way to Kakunodate, a samurai town famous for cherry blossom, we drive the Aspete Line. This is the road we should have taken the night before but was closed; necessitating our 2 hour drive around the mountain. From this road up Hachimantai, magnificent views of the surrounding mountains spread out around us and there are traces of snow in the more sheltered spots.
From Hachimantai, we make for Kakunodate through mile after mile of beech woods in stunning autumn colours. The woods are beautiful but not sustaining and we are very hungry when we finally find a convenience store at the bottom of the mountains. We buy onigiri and fried chicken and drive to nearby Lake Tazawa to eat. Unfortunately the food is pretty bad.
Kakunodate does not live up to expectations either and is of little interest as far as I am concern – some nice trees.
We leave, and drive on good roads through the mountains, literally as there are tunnels, and around sweeping bends. We arrive at the michi-no-eki ‘Shizukuishi Anekko‘ on route 46 in Iwate pre. via the local supermarket, it is large with an huge onsen. Dinner is bread and cheese in the car plus significant amounts of wine.
＊Shizukuishi anekko ‘Hashiba no yu’ hot spring 520yen/per.
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.