Thursday, August 4, 2011

Afterthoughts on visiting Chubu and Hokuriku ♥

The Hokuriku area in Chubu is a truly a gem hidden from most people, as it does take quite a bit of time to travel up north with no Shinkansen serving the area (yet). The nearby Central Alps area of Nagano also contains many beautiful sights, which many more people are familiar with I believe.

If not for time constraints, I would have loved to visit many other scenic places! With each passing day I kept praying that somehow time would freeze and that I could go on exploring forever. The beauty and grandeur of nature in the area is unrivalled! There are panoramic sea and coastal views, majestic mountain scenery, enchanting valleys, and magnificent areas created by the forces of nature alone

To fully take in all the sights of the region you would definitely need more than a couple of days. Some of the places I really wanted to squeeze in, especially the first two:

Senjoujiku Curl (alpine bowl) in Nagano

Mikata-goko/lakes of five colors (five lakes) in Fukui

Tenryuu-kyou (valley/river) in Nagano

Amaharashi-kaigan (coast) in Toyama

Ijira-ko (lake) in Gifu

Toujinbou (cliffs) in Fukui

Hakuba-sanroku (mountain foot) in Nagano

In all the places I visited, the villages, rivers that run through them and mountains in the background all blend harmoniously, creating an ethereal environment with enchanting views~ And not just the scenery, each and every town, city and village has its own unique culture and nuances, traditions and crafts, history and food, and it was great being able to experience them.

To be honest, after the initial joy and delight of finding out that I would be going, I was a tad apprehensive and worried, because I, a young female who just reached her twenties, would be mostly up in the mountains, alone. In fact, most friends and family advised me against going saying I definitely wouldn’t survive. But my fears were unfounded as even in “the countryside”, Japan is really quite a safe place, and I had a great trip!

In fact, many of the kind people I met along the way were worried for me in my stead^^ The fear would not be meeting strange people, but rather encountering life-endangering situations like getting injured/lost/stranded in the middle of nowhere and not being able to get help as not many people pass through the area and cellular connection was weak if not non-existent. As such, it’s never a good idea to stray too much from the main hiking paths if you are travelling alone!

Travelling alone was really peaceful, like rediscovering your inner soul; throwing away material attachments while taking in all the breathtaking sights and vast expanses of landscape just made me appreciate and feel the sheer beauty and commanding presence of nature. There really isn’t anything like all the scenery I saw that man can reproduce. We have to treasure places like these for future generations, as being able to connect with nature isn’t something that anyone should be deprived of.

I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to visit this stunning region and to experience a part of its beauty and charm~ I will definitely go back again sometime, hopefully soon! And good news for travelers intending to visit the region in the future: a Hokuriku Shinkansen extending line up to Kanazawa from Nagano is under construction and will be ready by 2014. This would be especially convenient if you’re starting from Tokyo. Further plans to extend this to Fukui and eventually join up to Kansai are underway as well.

Sorry it's a wordy post with few (no) pictures! Right now I'm in Tohoku/Sendai, but I've scheduled posts (mix of beauty, food and travel) for the week to come (:

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