Kijihiki Height きじひき高原
It is a fine morning the rain having been blown away in the night. We drive from the campsite, on a gated road, higher up the mountain to a viewing point of Kijihiki Height that provides a panorama of Onuma Lake and Hokkaido Komagatake volcano. Having gazed from afar, it is now time to make a more detailed acquaintance with Komagatake so we drive down from our vantage point to the lake.
Skirting the lake shore, we find an unmade-up track heading volcanowards which we follow. This takes us up the lower slopes of the volcano, past signs that say no motor vehicles beyond this point, but the track, though rough, has clearly been driven frequently and recently so we press on; finally we come to a carpark with various vehicles that should not be there.
We park and start our ascent of the mountain on a wide, yet very rough, track that is visible, from a distance, as a scar running up the flank of the volcano. After walking some time, we are overtaken by two young men carrying a drone. The track has become rather steep and rugged, though still wide and clear, and D. begins to panic about the descent as she suffers from vertigo. It is clear she can go no further even though we are close to the ridge that is the limit of the possible ascent. D. urges me to go on alone but I don’t think this is a good plan so we begin to go down together.
Once down and reunited with the car, we have lunch overlooking the lake and go for a short walk but the lake is obscured by trees and not pleasant.
‘Shikabe geyser park’
As it is bath night, we drive to an onsen. This turns out to be another functional onsen rather than a tourist attraction so many locals and no soap. We drive on to the coast, this time the other side from Hakodate and we stop for the night in a small road station ‘Shikabe geyser park’ that boasts, would you believe, a geyser. It also has a facility for steaming food in the hot spring steam but this is for day time not evening use. Perhaps they don’t want to encourage shachuhaku people cooking in the car park.
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.