Friday, October 12, 2012

Inari River Walk

Because I've started drawing my routes up on the google map screen shots, I figured that I might as well start this entry out with a review of where I've been. I apologize that it's going to be a long post, but I don't feel like breaking this one up into two parts.

General Map

This is my normal range. 1 is Terukuni Jinja (Terukuni shrine). 2 is Tenmonkan. 3 is City Hall, near the school I work at part time. 4 is the International Exhange Center, with the English Lunchtime Lessons and the Japanese class. 5 is Kagoshima Chuo train station, Amu Plaza and the Daiei department store. 6 is Dolphin Port. It's about 5 to 10 minutes to Chuo station, depending on how fast I'm walking. 20 minutes to the International Exchange Center (the Reimeikan history museum is across the street from it). Behind Terukuni shrine is the 35-story tall Shiroyama hill.


This was the route for Roundabout, which circled Shiroyama, starting at Reimeikan, and coming out at the other side of the hill at the main street running past my apartment.


This was the route for the Saigo Cemetery walk. 1 is the Christian Cemetery and Buddhist temple ruins. 2 is the shrine where the priest invited me inside and then gave me some snacks and tea. 3 is Saigo's memorial cemetery.



This was the route for the first walk up the Inari river, and the path I took to find some of the other memorial markers. 1 is the Inari shrine. 2 is the school near the ruins of the Shimadzu castle. 3 is the first of the famous shrines the Shimadzu family used to sponsor. 4 is the memorial marker for Japan's first education minister.


This was the route for the walk out to Senganen and the swimming beach, and then back through the tunnel. 1 is the Stone Bridge Park, 2 is the first castle site in Kagoshima, and 3 is Senganen.


Which brings us up to date, with today's route. This one starts with the Reimeikan, continues northeast to the Inari river and then attempts to follow it further upstream.


From the apartment, looking north.


(The hill at the far back, towards the left, has the wind farm.)

The motivation this time was one of the papercraft projects I built last year. The Kumade is a good luck charm for bringing fortune to the household. I'd printed it on thin paper and it was wilting from the humidity in the apartment. It was time to retire it, but rather than just throw it away, I decided to take it to the Inari shrine where they had a few life-size Kumade in the back of the shrine building. It took about 30-40 minutes to this point From here, I was right next to the river, but the road was blocked off for construction. The footbridge looks like it's being prepped to be torn out, and there's no path along the river on the east side. So I hopped the barrier rope and followed the road around the hill to a small waterfall.



Next to the falls, there's a buttress wall that may have been part of the original Shimadzu castle. I can't be sure what it was for, since the entire area is overgrown. But, it looks old enough. At the base, someone set up a small shrine dedicated to Kannon, with some flowers.



There's another wall beside the river itself, but this is just part of an elevated parking lot/ storage area now. It's got some abandoned construction supplies on it.



Looking from the Kannon statue out to the main street running in front of the north hill. The elevated street in the middle of the photo runs past point 1 of the Walk Up Inari map, and to the east encounters the mouth of the Inari river at Kinko bay.



The blue thing blocking the view of the falls is a water line. Because of the bushes lining the river, there's no unobstructed view of the falls.



The road along the river goes another hundred feet from the statue to deadend at the entrance of an old water plant. This photo is from the entrance looking northwest up the river. There's no road or public walking path on either side of the river at this point, and it disappears up a narrow, tree-filled valley.



The water plant. Note that from here, the only way to parallel the river is to sidetrack east, pick up the elevated main street, and take it up to the top of this hill.



Which I did. I'm now at the top of the hill. (Notice the orange face above the tunnels? That was in the photos from my apartment, above.) The main road cuts through the hill and comes out the other side right next to Senganen. There's a little side road to the left that snakes further up the side of the hill. The tunnel entrance just looks like an accident waiting to happen. A driver late at night, starting to fall asleep at the wheel, veers a little too far to the right, enters the wrong tunnel...



I'm now at the far end of the valley, up somewhere around the bald spot that's visible from my apartment. It's taken at least 1 hour to get this far.



Looking back towards the apartment. The big black rectangle in the middle of the photo is the International Exchange Center. The Ferris wheel is on top of Kagoshima Chuo train station.



At the very top of the hill is the current water treatment plant. From here, I continue to the left, which takes me higher along the spine of the ridge.



Half a kilometer along, I found these three houses (2 are falling apart in the background). There's no road (that I saw), so the only option is to come down the stone steps to the main street on foot. Fortunately, there's a bus stop right there. In fact, since there's nothing else in the area, I assume that the stop is specifically for the residents in the front house.



Looking north. There's really nothing here. The signs point to MOS Burger 3 km farther, and a pachinko parlor 6 km ahead.



Near the top of the ridge, there's the Laputa "harvest restaurant". Doesn't really look like just a restaurant to me.. There's now a few more houses on the flat area behind me. There's also a 1-lane road heading down the hill in the direction of the river. I had 3 choices at this intersection - go east to a park 3km away, continue north to whatever is next to the MOS Burger, or take the road down to the west. I did want to keep close to the river to see if I could pick up another walking path, so I went down.



After a block, the trees opened up on another housing complex.


(*1*)
One of the cross streets turned south and continued a gentle downward slope. The river is somewhere in those trees. The buildings at the top of the hill at the top right of the photo is where I'm eventually heading for my return home.



Looking north. I can actually just barely see the wind farm from the apartment, on a clear day.




The neighborhood is mostly newer houses and duplexes. I skirted the residential areas and crossed over a short bridge. The Inari runs under it and veers west towards the buildings at the back of the photo. It's pretty obvious that the valley is too narrow for a street, and there's no stairway down to pick up a walking path. Meaning that unless I take an inflatable raft up the river, that this is the closest I'm going to get to it here. I continue south, staying on the west side of the river now.




After a few blocks, looking back up the river. The concrete block seems to be a reservoir of some sort. Mostly, it's just filled with muck and populated with a couple cranes.




There's a bus parking lot at the edge of the hill, and I could get a good view down to the river at a waterworks dam. The only road down is gated off with a "Waterworks, No Trespassing" sign.  Sigh. Looks like it could be fun to visit.



The streets head up the hill that I mentioned in photo (*1*), before going over to the other side and joining up with the older part of the city. Looking back north, the wind farm probably is within walking distance for me. But, I'm betting that it's private land and there's no public roads going up there. Looks like mostly trees, anyway. But, still...



If you're on foot, you can never escape the volcano.



Crossing over the hill and heading back south in the direction of the Shimadzu castle site, I've got a lot of twisty little paths to navigate on my way down. This one is actually a sidewalk that passes in front of some houses, with a sheer drop on the right hand side (fortunately, there is a fence). But, I don't understand why it is here. There's a road about 40 feet to the left that people here can drive on and park their cars in their driveways. No one is going to take this sidewalk to visit the neighbors, and it goes at least 8 blocks before coming out at another street. The only thing I can think of is that school kids walk this route to the school on the other side of this valley, instead of walking on the road...  I'd hate to be a kid growing up here if I had to make this walk every day.



Someone threw out a pair of bathtubs for trash pickup.



The one thing that had been driving me crazy is that I've been trying to get pictures of the hawks circling around the hills in Kagoshima for the past year and a half, but they always see the camera and fly off.  Today, either because I was along a street with cars passing by, or the buildings around me confused him, I had several minutes to try to get a good shot. I'm not that far from the top of the hill, so he's fairly close to me. This is the best the camera can do at this distance, with 14x zoom.

The street comes out at the bottom of the hill a few blocks away from the entrance to the Christian cemetery and the Buddhist temple ruins. It's twenty minutes to the International Exchange Center, and another 20 back home. I wasn't paying close attention to the time, but the total trip was about 3.5 hours.

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