We decided to start our hike at Taisho Pond and make our way up to the Kappabashi area in order to avoid making the trek twice. The weather was deliciously cool at a mere 25 degrees compared to the 38 from the day before. The first thing we did was eat our lunch in front of that view. I couldn't capture it well enough on camera, but that water was such a crisp pale blue, I've never seen anything like it. Unfortunately the clouds were low that day, obscuring the mountain peaks, but it didn't take away our enjoyment at all.
At one point I had to stop and take a million photos of the crazy orange water. In the picture below, you can actually see where the rushing blue water veers off and goes into a stagnant orange stream. It's probably some sort of mineral reaction, but does anyone else know?
|Seriously? How gorgeous is this water?|
After about 2.5 hours of walking to Kappabashi and eagerly anticipating this gorgeous bridge we'd been reading about that was suuuuch a great photography spot, we came across a plain wooden bridge with about a hundred people taking pictures on it. The view from it is below and it's gorgeous, but the bridge was one of the most un-photographic bridges I've seen in Japan. Sometimes the Japanese ruin some great spots by treating it like a zoo. I think this is why a lot of avid nature lovers hate hiking here because things become so crowded and sanitized.
Since it was getting later in the day and the last bus we could catch home was at 5:30 we only walked about thirty minutes to the Myojin Pond area. This path was less crowded and the forest was much thicker. We walked by a campsite that looked like a squatters camp for retired Japanese with their colorful tents, blankets hanging up to dry, and painting areas set up. Part of me laughed, but part of me kinda wanted to pitch a tent right next to them.
If you're in Gifu between April and November and you have some free time, I highly recommend Kamikochi. It seems like the government has put a lot of effort into preserving it's beauty by banning all private cars and keeping hotels and souvenir shops to a minimum. It's a bit expensive of a bus ride at 4900 yen round trip, but well worth it. From Takayama station, take any bus to Hirayu Onsen. From there you have to make a transfer to a bus bound for Kamikochi. My advice would be to get off at Taisho Pond and work your way back up to Kappabashi and the bus terminal located near there. If you wait for the bus at Taisho Pond, you might be waiting for a while as buses fill up very quickly at the terminal.
Before I came to Japan, I was not a nature girl. I firmly believed that nature could be enjoyed from inside my nice air conditioned cars and houses. Japan and all it's natural beauty has quickly turned me into a yama girl and always looking forward to our next hike. With places like Kamikochi and Minoh Park, who could blame me?