The morning breaks cold and overcast. The pale, weak sun not really trying to raise the temperature above the 3 degree mark. As we have a long drive ahead, we set off early, heading north to visit the temples and gorge that we missed by making for Mt. Iwaki.
Lunchtime finds us at Lake Izunuma and, after picking up a bento in a supermarket, we head for the lake which is a famous bird sanctuary. Here, the car park we find, has a view of the water only partly obscured by bushes and reeds. Sadly, the lake, from this point at least, is not very impressive.
Due to the season, large expanses of the water are covered with dead lotus plants, so a lot of tangled, brown foliage. Nevertheless, with the aid of binoculars, I can pick out large numbers of mallards, a lot of swans, a number of coots. There are cormorants and egrets too.
On arriving at the visitor centre, we find it is closed. From this centre it is not easy to find a decent walking path. However, we wander a little, spotting a blue heron, a kingfisher, a pair of crested grebes and a little grebe. As we are leaving the lake, we realize the fields on the other side of the road from the water are full of large numbers of geese.
＊Tsukidate IC – pref. R.36 – pref.R.268 to Izunuma
From the lake, we drive on to the Genbikei Gorge. We are a tad disappointed by this place as it is supposedly famous. Far more interesting sights have inured us to the wonder of Genbikei gorge perhaps? Wandering along the river, we see a dipper and note a stone carved in reverence to the Yamagami or Mountain God.
With little to hold our attention, we go to a large building on the hill for a bath and then return to Genbikei road station for the night.
＊Ichinoseki IC.(Tohoku highway) – R.342 to Genbikei
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.