Wednesday, February 13, 2013

People's Park

Back in 2011, I participated in the Kagoshima Gurutto Stamp Rally, an annual event designed to encourage people to visit various museums and parks around the prefecture by offering chances at some prize drawings. One of the locations participating in the rally was Kenkou no Mori park, an exercise area easily reachable by car.  Well, a few days ago, I decided that I needed to get back into the long-walk habit, and that morning I set off along the Kotsuki river heading northwest, on the same route as the earlier Straight Out, 2, walk. The last time I was in this area, I'd seen a sign for 2 different locations, but the closest one, a park of some kind, was still another 3 km away, and I'd turned around to return home before the sun went down. This time, I left earlier, and after 2 hours, got back to where the sign is. The road veers a bit south away from the river, goes up a 360 degree turn bridge, and then follows up the side of a steep hill to the flat area above. Along the way, this yellow observation tower sticks up above the trees.

Past the first two sets of parking lots, there's a croquet (gate ball) field. Practice putting courses line the walking path. The path continues to the left and up another hill.

At the top of the hill, looking down at the croquet grounds. Sakura-jima looms in the background.

Children's play area, identified as the 'family area'.

And here I get the first confirmation that I've been here before. But, at that time, I was in someone else's car, being driven around to the stamp rally sites with 2 other people. I think it's safe to say that a fifteen minute ride to the park by car is somewhat less exercise than a 2.5 hour walk along the same route. The building holds a swimming pool, a cafe and a volleyball court with room for about 10 nets.

Entrance to a walking path around some playing fields. The yellow tower is at the far end of the path.

At the top of the tower, looking back down the way I came. The tanks visible in the upper left corner are part of the city's waterworks. I'm probably 6-7 miles from the apartment, and 7-8 miles from the main train station and downtown. From here, though, there's little indication that the city is anywhere close.

Still in the tower, looking down at the walking path and a soccer field. The volleyball court building is to the left, past a second playing field. From here, I returned to the building, located a set of vending machines, and got myself a can of hot creamed corn soup for lunch. It took two hours to retrace my steps back home, and at the end my left ankle was acting up. I guess it's time to take more frequent, but shorter walks.

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