Continuing my efforts to see some places, and because climbing one mountain really just isn’t enough, me and Eric decided today to hike the nearby Ibuki Mountain to get a good view of the surrounding area. Here’s some good advice. Check out your destination before you leave. The only way to get to Ibuki mountain is by bus or car, which we hadn’t counted on. Fortunately, there is a free bus which transfers from the nearby town of Sekigahara. Unfortunately, said bus only runs once a day at midday. Naively, we’d just assumed that we could turn up and all would be well. I Should’ve known by now that that never works. Serves me right for leaving it up to Eric. A taxi journey would have cost ¥5000 which we didn’t fancy as the only available bus ride back left at 3:30pm. A walk up a mountain is one thing, but a run, well, we all know how they end up.
Anyway, we ended up in Sekigahara with nothing to do. The town itself is famous for being the site of an important Japanese historical battle and there are supposed to be lots of famous places to see. We failed to find them though, and to my eyes at least looked like just another small, overly industrialised town. I guess it might be different in the hands of a good guide. In any case we spent a while playing on some swings, then left. Cultural it was not.
We had a plan to rescue the day, though. Hayden, a former teacher with us had once recommended an onsen on the top of a hill, which overlooked Gifu Prefecture. He’d told us it was easy to find and well worth it. 2 or 3 stops along the Kintetsu Train Line he said. 35 minutes after the journey started, we arrived in Yoro, a small town with two dogs and some bottles. This was the end of the line, we were told, which was strange as we were under the impression it was easy to get to. Komano, our final destination, required a change, which was fine as it was just the next platform. In 35 minutes.
35 minutes isn’t the best amount of time to be in a new small village. It’s too short to explore and too long to just sit about. We were having bad thoughts about Hayden at this point. Luckily, we were saved. There was a small childrens’ playground next to the station, so we ate some ice-cream and played on the swings. Cultural it was not.
When we arrived in Komano, we asked for directions to the onsen and were informed that we really should take a taxi. The irony of this has only just struck me. At least, this time, the fare was only ¥800. I’m glad to say though, that all this effort was worth it. Halfway up the hill was a viewing station that offered panoramic views of the entire area, from Nagoya and Aichi Prefecture all the way around to Ogaki. I could even see Gifu Castle and my apartment block with the help of the viewing posts.
The onsen itself was also great, having a variety of hot and cold pools, each infused with different minerals and having varying jets of water. The best part though was the outdoor pool, which literally was on the edge of the mountain, and really did give great views of the area. Hayden, all is forgiven. Standing naked on a mountain is strangely peaceful, even taking into account all the old naked men doing the same. To round off the day, the transportation back had much better connections and even got me home in time for tea. What could have been a real wasted day turned into something cool, despite Fate’s best efforts. And we got to play on swings.