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.
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.
The air was so clear, we could see the mountains twenty miles or more away.
View of the valley from the parking lot of Ryujinkyu Bridge
The last kilometer of road to the bridge was lined with Japanese maples.
The bridge is over 1000 feet long and stretches over a reservoir 300 feet below.
View of the gorge from the bridge.
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".
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.