Early October ’22
Michi no eki Misato and Jumonji
Michi no eki Misato is OK for an overnight stay but parking is close to the main road or alternatively far from the facilities.
We soon set off for the Oyasukyo gorge but pull into michi no eki Jumonji. This michi no eki is large and very busy as the vast selection of fresh vegetables on display were surprisingly cheap. There were all kinds of strange edibles for sale. I don’t think it would be good for an overnight.
Setting off again for Oyasukyo, it begins to rain and is soon a steady downpour. The drive through the mountains to the gorge is interestingly windy and very pretty.
Oyasukyo onsen has been a noted hot spring since the Edo era and there are many ryokan hotels and onsen public baths. We park the car at the visitor centre and, at first, try to walk along the Minase river to Daifuntou (Big Gusher of Oyasukyo). Following the steps down behind the visitor centre to the river, we find the (Fudo-daki) waterfall. But we discover that the walk by the river we had planned was not possible, so we drive back to the Oyasukyo Daifuntou carpark.
From the car park there are a lot of steps but nothing too seriously daunting to reach Oyasukyo Daifuntou.
I did not take my camera as it was pouring with rain, and I find rock faces a subject beyond my meagre skills. This, I immediately regretted on reaching the gorge as, not only is it a walk along a rushing river between towering crags with colourful vegetation, but a gauntlet of hissing steam and spouting springs of very hot water. A very interesting geo place even in the pouring rain. Photogenic too. (Pictures courtesy of D.’s phone.)We have to find dinner and somewhere to stay. So, we make our way down R. 398 and prefecture R. 282 to Sukawa Kogen onsen then R. 342. A quiet drive in the rain and mist. It is raining but the road through the mountains is very colourful and interestingly winding.We go down to Hiraizumi and check a couple of michi no eki but decide to stay at Genbikei. It is neither large nor modern but, in the rain, it is possible to park near the facilities.
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.