2006/12/16

Fall from a Bridge

December 3rd, we took our second trip up to the northern Ibaraki city of Hitachi Ota to its village of Suifu in hopes of viewing autumnal tints from Ryujinkyo (god of the dragon or celestial dragon) bridge, the longest suspension foot bridge in Japan - thus the title, "fall" from a bridge.


Our previous trip to the bridge was in May of last year to see it decorated with huge koinobori (carp streamers) in honor of Children's Day. I wrote about it in A Bridge Too Far. You can see pictures from that trip HERE.

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Ginkgo leaves carpet an old dry moat in Mity City contrasting a red momiji (maple) tree.

Our route paralleled the Pacific coast until we reached the port of Oarai where we turned inland to Mito City. After a quick stop for a lunch of onigiri - rice balls wrapped in nori (seaweed) with a pickled plum or a bit of fish in the center - we crossed the Naka River and continued north.

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The air was so clear, we could see the mountains twenty miles or more away.


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Getting closer.


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View of the valley from the parking lot of Ryujinkyu Bridge

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The last kilometer of road to the bridge was lined with Japanese maples.

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The bridge is over 1000 feet long and stretches over a reservoir 300 feet below.

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View of the gorge from the bridge.

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From the far side of the bridge, one looks back at the giftshop and restaurant.

K was a bit disappointed as it seemed that we were a week or two late for seeing the fall leaves. Many of the trees had already dropped them. The views were still beautiful though and well worth the trip. The weather was so fine that the vistas of the surrounding mountains lived up to the area's nickname - "nature's treasure chest".

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On the way out of the valley, we stopped to admire this old water well under a momiji tree in full autumn glory.

Though we were headed for home, there were a couple of other places we would stop along the way, but I'll save those for next post.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no words to describe how incredibly beautiful these places are. Thank you so much for sharing.
One day, I'll make my way over there. All the way from the Hill Country in Texas.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ahhh....thanks for saving me the trip, since I doubt I'll have much time to do anything during my winter vacation. (Mr. Ogawa has been steadily wiping out my available time with surprise music club activities...)

I think I talked about this under your "A Bridge Too Far" post, but the last time I went to Ryujinkyo I walked past a family on the bridge, and suddenly an older woman (who evidently thought I couldn't speak Japanese) said, "What's that foreigner doing here? Hey! This isn't Kyoto! There are no temples here!" Later, when that same family came walking nearby on the opposite side of the bridge, I made a point of commenting to myself on the lovely scenery...loudly enough that they could hear. The look on that woman's face was amusing.

I really like Northern Ibaraki, where the Kanto Plain starts to give way to the mountains of the Tohoku region. It's still very rural and hilly with lots of scenic dissiduous forests, much like New England in the U.S..

Of course, I've never been to New England, but anyway...

Don Snabulus said...

Beautiful scenery. Those leaves are as bright as a glass of Kool-Aid (groan at the terrible simile here).

That goes on the checklist for the next Japan trip.

nzm said...

Absolutely gorgeous! And I love the carp streamer shots too.

We saw a couple of beautiful Gingko trees in Paris in a park on the Champs-Elysee. They were in a similar state of disrobing - yellow leaves on branches and carpeting the ground.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What fabulous scenery and the trees in their autumn colours. Certainly beats pictures of Tokyo. Thanks for the pictures and stories.
W.