The following weekend after Hiroshima, i tagged along with my host to this place “Taishakukyo” in Hiroshima prefecture. It’s actually a mountainous region and the place we are going to is actually a valley (at least that’s what i infer from the Kanji character). I was told we are going to “Yama no naka (山の中）” which means “among the mountains”.
Since my host had to settle her work so she wouldn’t be around for most of the afternoons, Etsuko-san, her colleague also came along on this trip to help drive us around and explore the place together. She is a really cool person and i like hanging out with her. She speaks with a strong Kansai dialect the moment she gets comfortable around you and seriously, she takes care of the people around her like an “oneesan” (big sister). I actually quite like her kansai dialect because it makes me feel that we are closer and that she is very easy-going and we can talk about anything.
Some scenery pictures:
Haha, not this scenery!
(I really love this picture of the train tracks. It feels so calm.)
The sky is really blue and it is a really calm place. No crowds, just a quiet, serene place.
Soft cream tastes the best when you’re at a Kogen area (高原) loosely translated as a plateau area. Just think of cows, fresh milk and tadaaaa! Soft cream.
After finishing the soft cream, we took a drive to the valley area.
After alighting the car, at the carpark:
A long walk….
Etsuko-san, still cheerful and excited about the walk. She said she prefers living in the mountains than in the city.
If you see clearly, the whole of Taishakukyo is really huge and it’s kinda impossible to finish everything in a day by foot. It’s really necessary to have a car here.
Our first stop is Haku-un-do (白雲洞) which means “white-clouds-cave”.
Despite knowing that it’s a dark cave, Haruka was afraid yet excited to go in. But she was like “hey, where are you guys??” if we did not follow right behind her. I’m the last to enter the cave since i’m the camera girl. Haha
This was just the entrance of the cave where it is still not pitch dark yet. I do not have any pictures of the cave inside because it was too dark and my pictures just came out blur.
Once you exit the cave, you are greeted by a meandering river.
Can you see his watercolour painting? It looks amazing!! He’s not the only painter i see here. There are also photographers who went down to the river banks to take pictures. (Wow)
Our next stop was “On-bashi” which is a stone bridge that was created naturally and supposedly a landmark in this area.
This is just less than half of the whole bridge.
Our final spot was a place where you supposed could see waterfalls but we ended up not reaching the place but at another bridge…
Actually you can take small boat rides near this place for a small fee but i didn’t because we didn’t have much time then. There is also a fishing area and abseiling area for family outings. I only got to know this on the 2nd day during the matsuri.
We had yakiniku for dinner on top of a kotatsu! I learnt that yaki-yasai (bbq vegetables) rocks too~❤ the kotatsu. It’s a table with a heater underneath so your feet gets really warm.
Etsuko-san had to leave the very next day because she is going back to her hometown in Osaka. And in return, Tomoko-san is here! (Another colleague of Yoko’s) She will be joining us for the matsuri the next day.
Haha.. Softo AGAIN. This one’s reeeeeeally good.
We had a stamp card for the matsuri and at the end of the festival you get to go home with a packet of locally-cultivated rice!
Okay don’t get me wrong, the matsuri isn’t all about food. The main event of the day is “Kagura (神楽)” which means “entertainment for the gods”. It is not a commonly seen event unless you go to shrines during matsuri.
After watching this, i finally had to return to Okayama. Oh wait, the most famous food here is called ‘Takeya manju” (竹屋まんじゅう) which they use a special technique of steaming the pastry. The expiration date of this manju is really short and it has to be consumed within 2 days!
It’s a long post again but i thank you for reading till the end!🙂