(7) Haunted spot? Inunakiyama Tunnel
After visiting the temple, it's time to hike to the observatory on the top of the mountain.
Actually, when I was leaving the ryokan inn, I told the ryokan people, "I'm going to hike to Highland Park Kokawa." Then they all said "That's too far to walk! Most people come back after visiting the ritual waterfall."
However, when I looked it up on the internet before coming to the trip, I read some blogs saying, "I went to the observatory on a hike." It is also listed as a recommended hiking course on the official website of Izumisano City (about 6 hours round trip from Inunakiyama bus stop), so I should be able to go! It was still around noon so plenty of time.
Checking the map along the way, it says that it is 3.5 km (105 minutes on foot) to the top. Eh, only 3.5km? Does it take that long? I was totally underestimating the hike. Yes, it does take at least 105 min.
It took me 2 hours one way because it's all uphill and I often slowed down to enjoy the scenery. It will be very difficult for small children to so this hike. Adults with strong legs should be fine to do it.
Along the way, there were many wild strawberries in season. I took a few and ate it, it tastes nostalgic. Exactly the same taste as I remembered when I was a kid. I had a sudden urge to pick a lot and make jam or pie, but it's a bit off the purpose of this hike so I gave up.
Regarding the free local map I found, there are some places which are confusing. (Actually, I was lost using this map.) If you can't tell which way to go, just follow the paved street! There is no cell phone signal, so I couldn't even look it up on google maps. Even if you ignore the forest streets and walk only on paved roads, you can still reach the top.
Suddenly a tunnel appears.
It's exciting to go through a tunnel on foot, at least for me. Somehow, I feel like I'm in a different world. Echoing sound is also fun.
Inunakiyama Tunnel is rumored to be a haunted spot. I mean, who would come to such an unpopular mountain tunnel in the middle of the night with almost no traffic?? I'm as scared of people who are here late at night as I am of ghosts.
If you don't like horror stories, just pass through quickly and look at the beautiful flowers outside.
(8) Highland Park Kokawa
802 Nakatsugawa, Kinokawa, Wakayama 649-6513
The last forest road is the hardest! If it had been raining, I probably wouldn't have been able to climb it. On the way back, I noticed that the last forest road looks like a shortcut, but walking on the paved road actually saves time and energy.
After a while, I arrived at the mountaintop, and the view is pretty open.
This is my destination, Highland Park Kokawa. A lot of cars and motorcycles are parked, and everyone is enjoying the scenery. Both the Osaka plain and the Wakayama area can be seen from the parking lot, and it is quite a superb view. Actually, here is Wakayama Prefecture, and the altitude is 636 meters. (Photo: Osaka Plain and Osaka Bay)
The observatory nearby was another destination, but for some reason it was closed that day. But I don't think the view is that different from the one from Highland Park Kokawa.
There was something I really wanted to do at Highland Park Kokawa, not just to appreciate the scenery.
It's wild boar udon noodle for limited time only! During my research for this trip, I came across a blog introducing wild boar udon from "Yutaka Chaya." It was a limited menu until the end of May, and fortunately I was able to get it right before they stop offering.
It's a miso-based soup udon noodle. The last time I ate boar meat was on Iriomote Island in Okinawa. After entering the approach to Shippouryu-ji Temple, there was no place to buy food until I hike up to here. Speaking of what I ate, it was only some chocolate and rice crackers. And wild strawberries on the roadside.
After eating rare udon noodles, I ate an ice cream at the shop on the first floor to charge more energy before heading back to town. Basically, I just need to go back the way I came. It takes about 2 hours to go down, so I don't have time to stay too long. In this point, the time was around 3pm.
Please visit my glass jewelry shop from the link below.