Kofu

After checking the forecast and seeing heavy rain in the forecast all weekend, we found a small pocket where it wasn’t going to rain. Kofu. It’s just North of Fuji, just West of Tokyo, and South of Nagano. I’d never heard of it before. It’s surrounded by a bunch of famous stuff, but I’d never heard of the city itself. So we set off not really knowing what to expect. On rainy weekends it’s often a good idea to go waterfall hunting and luckily the area was lousy with them.

First was Shosenkyo Gorge. It was supposed to be a short hike, ending in a waterfall and a ropeway. We drove to the end of a small road, parked, and got out into the rain. We were admiring a small waterfall by the parking lot when the restaurant owner nearby told us to come under her awning while we finished getting packed up. There was the tiniest kitten who came over to play. Oh the kitten snuggles were so sweet!

We went along the hike, enjoying the deep canyon and the small waterfalls. Maybe 10 minutes later we ended up at the big waterfall. It was lovely. 20170701_09162020170701_09164120170701_09190020170701_092055

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The trail kept going, so we followed it and we ended up in this small little shopping area where each shop had more crazy rocks that were carved or weren’t and were just huge. One after another, thousands of dollars per rock, hundreds of rocks. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars per shop, and several million along the very short street. It was such a small random location. We went into one shop and the woman spoke english and was able to explain that the area became famous for the high quality of crystals that were mined near by.

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There was a table that had a stone on top of it. There were three holes carved into it that have light coming out. Looking into one of the holes you see that the geode goes down like 8 feet! It was so surprising!

We thought that there was a hike from the top of the ropeway back down, but we found out that the ropeway only offered round trip tickets and this tiny little ropeway was $20 round trip and we didn’t have the option to only buy a one way, which clued us into the fact that maybe there wasn’t a trail. As it was pouring rain and totally fogged in we decided not to go up. We walked back to the car and took us to our next destination.

There was another walk I heard about on a hotel’s website (which was in Japanese and oddly google translated), to get to a power spot. I never found an english name for it, so it’s called 板敷渓谷. We drove up to the point on a road where it was closed, parked in a lot and then walked past the closed road sign. Pretty shortly after wards there was a trail that lead under the bridge and to several waterfalls. It was very pretty!20170701_11041120170701_11081420170701_11181020170701_092157_001

We then stopped at the reservoir. 20170701_112931

We drove past many grape vines (is it a vineyard if they aren’t wine grapes?), where they were putting paper bags over the grapes.

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I had found another area fairly nearby that had a cluster of waterfalls, so we headed over to 西沢渓谷駐車場. We didn’t know anything about it, but it turned out to be called Nishizawa Valley and there was a 10km loop that was supposed to take about 3.5 hours.

One of the first sights was a super broken down bridge. 20170701_133515Thankfully we didn’t have to go over it and that wasn’t what the rest of the trail was like!

At one point we found what we thought was a platform to see a river on the other side of the river. Of course, it turned out to be a building that was falling over.

Thankfully, most of the infastructure was much nicer. The bridges had lovely decorations.20170701_152638

There were even more waterfalls! It was stunning.

We ended up hunting for one last waterfall that was up a mountain. Instead we were met with crazy traffic. We had to cross a one lane dam and on the other side there was traffic that was backed up for 6 kilometers that was all depending on this one light to cross the bridge, which only let about 7 cars through at a time. The two waterfalls we found were terribly depressing and tiny, especially when we realized we were now stuck in this traffic.

Instead of going back down we went up. Mitsumine Shrine was on top, but there was also traffic getting up to it! We ended up parking in a lot a few kilometers down and watching the sunset. We found a backroad that managed to cut in front of a lot of the traffic, right before the dam, and some poor sucker, who had been waiting for probably 45 minutes, let us in. We only waited 3 light cycles and then we were free!

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The next morning started with some trees in a truck.20170702_085908

We found another waterfall valley and started up it, which I think includedヒョングリ滝.

While the hike was lovely, the hitch hikers that caught a ride were not remotely welcome. Leeches. For your viewing pleasure I included one that was on my shoe, not one that had latched on. Somehow I could get them off Brian and he could get them off me, but if I had to touch one attached to me I freaked out. Super gross little buggers.

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I was highly amused by the people trying to prop up this rock with sticks.20170702_103847

And we found yet another valley with waterfalls, I believe called Hokuto. Also with leeches. This was was even more incredible. At points the trail narrowed. That yellow sign says “Caution. Occurance of a fatal accident”. We couldn’t decide if that meant there was an accident there or that there was the danger of one.

At some points there were stairs and at others we had to climb up the root systems of trees to get on top of the ridge line.20170702_140032

After the hike was over, we went to see a few more falls on our way home, one of which was Doryuno Falls, 吐竜の滝.

We went to see one last waterfall but realized it was down a steep canyon. Instead we enjoyed it from above and watched the beautiful sunset.

Before we left I wanted to change out of my sweaty clothes for the ride back. There was a public bathroom and since no one else was around I used the disabled bathroom for more space. I was looking for the flush button, which is sometimes on the wall mounted panel, and instead pushed the emergency help button. An alarm was set off outside the bathroom and I couldn’t turn it off! We left and it was still going off…. I hope someone was able to turn it off and that it didn’t drive anyone crazy over night. There were a bunch of signs in the bathroom, probably telling me what to do but it was in Japanese and I couldn’t read it. Alas.

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