Published: September 22nd 2008August 8th 2008
Unbeknownst to me, Danilo has a thing for waterfalls.
This I discovered while we dropped into school bearing gifts of clip-on Koalas and crunchy Tim-Tams. Danilo got to talking with head teacher, asked him about waterfalls in the area, and lo and behold...Akame Yon Ju Hachi (Akame 48). It is a trail in Mie prefecture (south of here) which includes 48 waterfalls, each ranging from 3-20 metres each. The trail itself is about 4 kms long, a distance which was much shorter in my mind, than in real life.
The journey to the actual trail was much shorter in my mind as well. Perhaps this is because we jumped on the wrong train at the right platform, and travelled 9 stations in a limited express train before having to get a local train back. Then, since I didn't look at the train line properly, we had to wait for another train, and continue on once more, in the same directing we had just been travelling, one stop, to get to Akameguchi station.
Once here, we picked up some fruit and food at a local
store, and had lunch while waiting 40 minutes for the bus to take us to the trail. We paid our ￥500 at the entrance, picked up our hiking sticks, and set off, up the hill. The hiking trail is not a difficult one, as in, you don't have to climp up mountain faces to get up, but you do have to climb stairs and hills, and walk long long loooooooooooooooooooong distances. In case you don't know me that well, I will fill you in on something. I am not a stoic, silent, grin and bear it kind of person when it comes to physical exertion. I will, complain, moan, yell, swear, and pout, when it comes to physical exertion. I love to dance, and I like to play soccer...but that doesn't mean I won't tell you EXACTLY how sore I am, or how much my legs feel like jelly, or how sweaty I am. I will tell you REPEATEDLY. This, Danilo discovered the hard way. Once the ordeal is over, I feel good about what i've accomplished, but until it is over, you might want to invest in some earplugs.
My complaints however, were mollified by the fact that
I read about a ramen stall halfway up the trail. Someone did the hike themselves, and happened to mention it. Ramen is our favourite Japanese food, so it felt nice knowing that we were going to get a reward halfway up. Only problem is, once we made it there - the stall was closed. Cruel fate! How you mocked us!
We set off again with more complaining (on my part), and snapped some pictures along the way. At first it was a case of making wondrous exclamations like
'Wow, how beautiful.'
'That looks so nice.'
'Don't you wish you could just jump in there?'
'Nature is amazing.'
-but pretty soon they deteriorated somewhat and instead, we were making comments like
'Yep. Great. Nice. Lets go.'
'Oh look a watefall. Lets go'
'Uh huh. Lets go.'
'Hurry up and take the picture - Lets go'
' grumblegrumble waterfalls......lets go see the waterfalls...ooooh waterfalls are soo pretty, i love waterfals grumblegrumblegrumble great idea babe...lets go.' (ok so that was just me)
About 2 hours and one caterpillar bite later (they bite, who knew? All I wanted was to set
up my tripod, and I get bitten by a flipping caterpillar!) we made it to the end. Much rejoicing was made, including a small meal of cheese, crackers and sportswater, and some celebratory hooray! jumping in the air pictures.
We jumped for joy too soon my friends.
I saw a sign which said 3km, pointing down the road. Danilo and I had to make a decision. Do we walk along the road to get to the town (3 kms away?), or do we take the trail back, a 4km hike with stairs and hills? We decided to take the road, and unwittingly drew the short straw.
We walked on...and on...and on.....even getting told 'wow, good work/that's brave' or something along those lines by a passing worker....this set off alarm bells in each of our heads -and yet we didn't mention that to each other! After days of walking (that's what it felt like), we made it to a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn), which we discovered (with some trepidation) was 3km from the end of the trail. So that's
what the sign was pointing to.
I even modified a little song that we marched along to.....but
since i didn't know the words I had to make my own...I had fun - not sure if Danilo enjoyed it as much though.
The ants go marching one by one hurrah hurrah,
The ants go marching one by one hurrah hurrah,
The ants go marching one by one, a little one stopped to suck his thumb,
and they all went marching down, in the ground.
The only thing that changes (aside from the numbers) is the third line.
I have included a few of my creations below:
The ants go marching two by two, another one stopped to tie his shoe.
The ants go marching three by three, and one of them stopped to do a wee.
The ants go marching four by four, some of them said 'Ican'ttakethisanymore!'
The ants go marching five by five, one of them died playing with a beehive.
The ants go marching six by six, a group of them stopped to play with their --- you get the idea. ^_^
I basically wanted something - ANYTHING, to ease the monotony of walking.
On (andonandonandonandonandon) we walked, until FINALLY coming back
to the starting point of the waterfall hike. A total of 8 kms --- added onto the 4km hike we had alread completed! We walked in, discovered it had closed (it was now 5.30 and we had been walking for about 5 or so hours), dropped our hiking sticks at the entry, and looked at the bus timetable for our trip back to town. Oh goodie, we missed the last bus. We found a kind lady who gave us the taxi number (and some yummy eats!), I managed to book one, and we got to set off in airconditioned heaven down the hill to town, passing by some of the roads we had traipsed up only to drop off our hiking sticks.
Our train journey home involved dropping off to sleep, missing a connecting train, waiting an hour for the next train, and altogether missing out on the massive fireworks festival in Otsu. The one over the lake which is matched only by new years celebrations in major cities around the world - yeah, that one.
It still smarts a bit, but you know, when I think about how disapponted I am to have missed that festival, I
can console myself with the knowledge that I got to see....
There are more photos below