Hosooka Viewing Point
The morning at Takkoku Campsite is damp and blustery but the only rain is an intermittent sprinkle borne on the wind.
For an overall, last look at the wetlands, we set off for the Hosooka Viewing Point. From here there is a good scenic vista of the marshes and the meandering Kushiro River.
There is a visitor centre near the viewing point, but parking is limited so it is better to park in the much larger parking area a little lower down. This large car park serves the tiny Kushiro Shitsugen station.
The visitor centre is large and provides comfortable armchairs around a huge wood stove in the middle. There are also some fine photographs on display. This is strange, as it is located on the very minor and not very well-maintained lane to the viewing point, can there be that many visitors? We can only suppose it is a different story in the winter months.
Rokka no Mori
After spending time in a well-appointed coin laundry – kids play area and a wide magazine selection – we head for Rokka no Mori.
Rokka no Mori (Forest) is an art gallery housed in a series of buildings set in an extensive park or garden. It is, in fact, about 100,000 square meters and built by Rokkatei, a famous cookie company. Unfortunately, it is getting late when we arrive, so we have little time to spend before closing time. It is also raining a slight but insistent drizzle.
The garden is a wander through woods, flowers, a grassy knoll and a pretty stream. Bird song rings in the trees, but it is hard to catch a glimpse of any. In the open sky we do see a Latham’s Snipe soaring and diving in its inimitable fashion. This makes our day, so the pictures on display in the various galleries, housed in the log building scattered in the woods, are a plus.
These buildings, I gather, are traditional Croatian dwellings, but I could be wrong about that. The whole concept has a Croatian dimension due to its creator. I think I am sure.
＊Rokka no Mori ; 1000 yen / adult
Momose Tomohiro and Ikeda Hitoshi
A couple of the artists on display took our fancy. Notably, Momose Tomohiro whose realistic pictures of vegetation, snow and water were very striking. Also, the work of Ikeda Hitoshi. Who, surprisingly, worked for Honda for 33 years. It was he who designed the Honda CB 650. A classic Japanese motorcycle if ever there was one. His landscapes of Bohemia and Scotland were, I thought, outstanding.
From Rokka no Mori, we press on to Churui michi no eki. This has an onsen next door and appears very popular on a wet Saturday night. A lot of vehicles will be spending the night here.
The michi no eki sells chips. This is potato country.
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.