Michi-no-eki Sannai was a good spot for shachuhaku (sleep in a car), very quiet, away from the main road and a reasonable toilet. Ten vehicles share a large parking area with us.
Before viewing Naruko-kyo gorge, our first stop of the day was to be a geyser. When we arrived we thought the entrance fee a bit steep so we turned around and made for Narukokyo. This gorge is an important scenic area for Miyagi prefecture and to give it its due it is a dramatic landscape. We listened to Ospreys (birds not the infamous American aircraft) calling from the pines perched on the crags. I was surprised to see them away from the sea but there is a lake nearby.
We would have liked to wander some length along the gorge but the path is limited. It runs from the car park to the viewing platform at bottom of the gorge. There are signs of a path going further but it has been abandoned and access denied. It is worth seeing but be prepared to be a little disappointed.
For the rest of the day we follow route 47. this is a good road but busy with Obon traffic so progress is slow. There are views of Mt. Chokai in the distance, still with visible snow patched in August.
＊Furukawa IC (Tohoku highway) – R.47
Kyukamura Haguro campsite 休暇村羽黒
We stop for the night at Kyukamura Haguro campsite. This is our first time to use a tent in a campsite in years. It all seems so much trouble. A michi no eki is a much simpler and it must be said cheaper option. We feel it might be pleasant to cook outside for a change and give the supermarket ready prepared food a miss.
In the event, the campsite was hot and humid but the sky was clear. The Milky Way clearly visible overhead made the hassle almost worthwhile. The Perseus shower was an added bonus. Well, we saw about four shooting stars. Interesting to see the summer night sky stars. In Kyushu, due to the humidity, the stars are rarely very clear in summer so it was a relatively new night sky for me.
The site itself is large but mainly given over to auto camping. The free camp areas are a bit peripheral and tend to be on a slope. It is a handy site for Mt. Gassan.
＊Haguro campsite ; 1030 yen + 410 yen/person (2000 yen + 600 yen / adult at 2023)
＊Shounai Asahi IC (Yamagata highway) – Pref.R. 44 – Pref.R. 47
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.