April 15th. 2022
Michi no eki Imai Megumi no sato gives us a quiet night of pouring rain but by parking next to the handicapped spaces dry access to the toilets.
Kirigamine Yashimagahara Wetland 八島ヶ原湿原
Today we set off for Yashimagahara Wetland in Kirigamine, here there is a walking course of a few kilometres depending on which circular route you choose around the marshy ponds.
We had planned to follow the Venus line to this spot, but part of the route is closed until the end of this month, April. So we followed the section that was open and drove for some distance in thick fog with no views at all.
Arriving at Kirigamine (foggy Peak) Yashimagahara Wetland there is an absence of fog or pretty much anything. We meet one party of perhaps students during our circuit but no other soul. It is too early in the year for flowers and very little wildlife in evidence. The whole area was still slumbering thought the snow had mostly disappeared.
We did see a couple of ducks, a Brown Thrush (Akahara), a few, probably, stonechat and what we took to be a pheasant in the distance.
Leaving Kirigamine, descending through the fog we drive to Takato-jo. These castle ruins are famous for cherry blossom. The area provides a number of car parks to welcome visitors at 1000 yen a go. There is free parking down by the river and we pull in there. The drawback being you have to walk about a kilometre to the castle ruins involving a number of steps.
Having walked through cherry blossom in order to get to the entrance proper, we decline to pay the entrance fee of 500 yen as it is obvious that the blossoms are all but over.
Oshiba koen 大芝公園
It is late in the afternoon, and we have to drive to Michi no eki Oshiba koen as it has an onsen. Oshiba koen is part of a complex – a gym, onsen and other amenities. The onsen is huge and D. tells me the rotenburo (outside bath) is very good. Not so the men’s side which has no view at all, though the sides probably alternate.
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.