Staff Reports
Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko

It was a wet day. I made my way to Naruko Gorge in the morning expecting the best and worst day for autumn color reporting: best because I read that colors are currently at their peak there, worst because, well, it was a wet day.

Naruko Gorge is one of the most well-known autumn color spots in the Tohoku region. It can be reached in a twenty minute walk from Nakayamadaira Onsen Station, which is a two hour train ride from Sendai, the biggest city in the region.

Rain drops started hitting against my windscreen as I arrived. Thinking that the weather might ease a little later, I visited the nearby Kokeshi Doll Museum first. The museum exhibits many elegant kokeshi dolls made in the Tohoku Region.

Outside the Kokeshi Doll Museum
Kokeshi dolls

It turned out to be a mistake as the rain got heavier. However, I was delighted to see that it was absolutely peak at Naruko Gorge. Pardon the bad English, I felt I had to find a way to emphasize the fantastic colors that I witnessed today. The rain did dampen spirits a little, as I'm sure there would've been many more visitors had it been better weather. I wouldn't complain though: the parking attendant told me that parking was free today because it was raining; how nice of them.

Visitors posing for that famous picture with Ofukazawa Bridge in the backdrop
Ofukazawa Bridge
The nature trail below that runs the length of the gorge is unfortunately close until further notice
My makeshift camera protection system

I felt like a martyr, standing in the rain on Ofukazawa Bridge, dressed in a 250 yen raincoat which seemed only 80% waterproof, waiting for that elusive train to pass by for the thousand dollar shot of it in combination with the surrounding scenery. Having done my homework, I was there taking practice shots about five minutes before it was due to pass by.

There I was, as if I was a sniper, nervously waiting in the cold, trying desperately to protect my camera from the rain and to keep its lens free of water droplets. And then, it came. It turned out that I didn't have to be on my toes at all. The train slowed to a snail's crawl as it passed by, presumably to cater to people like me - that would be the guy beside me.

Here comes the train
The guy beside came with two cameras and a video camera - professional sniper
Looking down from Ofukazawa Bridge

Walking along the Ofukazawa Nature Trail on the other side of the bridge from Naruko Gorge, I thought to myself that I have never felt the bond with my camera so strongly before. With a towel wrapped around it, I kept my right index finger on the shutter button and used the other fingers to secure the towel, while my left hand kept a plastic bag over it and at the same time supported its weight. I clutched it ever so close to my chest, ready to slip the plastic bag off, take a picture, and replace it as soon as possible.

The scenery was nice along the trail today, but no one else was there to enjoy it with me because of the wretched rain. The trail started from the bridge and made a loop, passing by several observation decks providing good views Naruko Gorge, before returning to the rest house where cars are parked.

After taking many pictures along the trail, I returned my camera to the car, and went back to the famous spot where Ofukazawa Bridge can be viewed from. As my pants soaked up more rain water, I soaked in more memories of the beautiful scene before me.

Along the nature trail at Ofukazawa
Watery maples
On my way back to the rest house
Nice tree
Observation deck
More pretty maples
Another observation deck
View from the observation deck

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs