Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fukuroda Waterfall

Yesterday Tetsu and I took off on another jaunt to the next prefecture. Tetsu's way of planning a trip is to get in the car and go in the general direction towards someplace he's heard of and then hope to find signs along the way. He doesn't bother to check route numbers or even nearby cities. This results in a lot of back tracking, a lot of going around in circles (we came back to a starting point twice yesterday) and a few stops to ask people if we are on the right track.

BUT, after a long drive we did make it to our destination! Fukuroda Falls, a somewhat famous waterfall in Japan. It was a very interesting trip and the waterfall and surrounding autumn leaves were very beautiful!

As with most places in Japan, there were people. And people and people! When you go to Disneyland you expect to be thrown into crowds of people and have to line up for quite a while for the rides. In Japan one lines up for the parking lot, for the scenic view, good glory even for the bathroom!

"Ooh look Tetsu, we'd better hurry and get in line if we want to see the waterfall."

"That's the line to the bathroom, the one to the waterfall is longer."

He was right. First we paid for tickets to go see the waterfall. Then we entered a long tunnel that seemed longer because it had no end and besides we were standing in a line for about thirty minutes while we were there. It was interesting because they'd decorated the tunnel in places but all in all it was just a dark tunnel.

And when I say there was no end, there wasn't. The tunnel made a left turn into a better lit tunnel and what were we greeted with? A couple of elevators. What does this picture make you think of? Tetsu leaned over and whispered in my ear that the metal doors looked much like the furnace entrances in crematoriums. Grim... You'd think they could have make the place a little more cheery.

But the sight we were greeted with at the top of the elevator was worth waiting in line for! A gorgeous waterfall though not of the high falling off a cliff variety. Sort of a gentle stair stepping down four stories of rock. Set in the red and yellow and orange leaves it was just beautiful!

We had to wait in line again to be able to take pictures and then we took the elevator back down to the tunnel where it let out on an overhang right up next to the bottom of the waterfall. See all those little people there on the left? That was an amazing view also!

We could have turned around and gone back through the tunnel but I wanted to do a little "hiking" which turned out to be our downfall. The hiking path was a metal stairway clear up the side of the mountain (how do the workers even get up there?) and it seemed to go on forever! Tetsu and I were huffing and puffing and asking everyone coming down how many more steps there were. We took time out to take pictures of the community in the valley (we were trying to keep our pounding hearts in our chests!) and kindly allow people coming down to pass us.

"Oh please go ahead. We don't mind at ALL waiting for your group to go past."

Tetsu kept suggesting that we turn back and I'd make the observation that there were a lot of people OLDER than we were that we practically bounding up the mountain.

"Tetsu we walk everyday! We are supposed to be in shape!"

But we weren't. When we heard that it was another 20 minute stairway climb up the mountain (someone cheerfully told us "the roughest part is still ahead of you") we turned around and came down the mountain.

Back in the valley we collapsed in front of some shop where I took pictures of the fish being grilled in the windows. More long lines for this delicacy so we passed those by (Tetsu was a bit disappointed, I was happy to do without.)


BrendaLou said...

What an absolutely gorgeous bit of God's creation! I'm sure Fall is the time of year to go...the colors are magnificient. In my part of the world (Northern CA Coastal Redwood Forest) we don't get much Fall color--too many evergreens.

Julie said...

That really is a beautiful waterfall! I had an experience similar to yours while trying to hike up to a waterfall in a national park in Georgia! I finally turned around and went back too, when I started thinking how long it would take the paramedics to get to me if I had a heart attack! LOL

Amanda said...

I was talking with my father-in-law yesterday about Japanese poetry and art (as you do!) and he made the comment that when the Japanese do something well they do it extraordinarily well, but when they do something badly it's quite ghastly! From this post I think he's right - ghastly tunnel and queus, wonderful scenery.

Shasta said...

The falls are really beautiful, especially with all the trees. I think that something outdoorsy like that is best appreciated when no one else is around, so you can properly commune with nature.

Elaine Adair said...

Tetsu's style of travel is MINE also! I LOVE the part about getting lots, turning around, finding the wrong road -- it all adds to the excitement for when I actually FIND my destination. Truly, the JOURNEY is as inviting as the destination!

You had a lovely adventure. 8-) I don't like the part about the lines, though.

Marilyn R said...

What a beautiful water fall! I would say it was well worth the wait!

andsewitis Holly said...

Sounds like a fun adventure and what beautiful pictures! Hopefully after having to pay to see the waterfalls you were allowed to view them as long as you wished.

The Calico Quilter said...

Lovely pictures, even with all the climbing it sounds like a very nice trip. Being a child of the 1950's, when I saw that tunnel and the elevator doors, I thought "fallout shelter". Now THAT'S grim.