|Hydrangea festival !|
The journey from Fukuoka is very long! Arrivaed in Karatsu, one of the biggest cities of Saga, I had 1h before taking my train so I decided to venture into the city center to find a Karatsu Burger shop, the specialty of the region. I never found it. The area around the station are quite sad : everything was closed and / or abandoned. I had the impression of entering a ghost town and was really surprised, I thought the city was quite busy as an average provincial city but not around the station. Of course, I did not find my shop so I bought my lunch at the the station convinience store. Fantastic...
I also went quickly to the tourist office to inquire about something I found on the internetn: a free shuttle bus making the connection between the nearest station and the waterfall. But it was a wrong information and it only circulates inside the festival. I found the information on an English website, which I never usually do... and never do it again.
Arrived at Ouchi station, I asked the station employee if the way to the falls were doable on foot. She replies that it is better to take a taxi which costs only 300 yen! For 4km, is really given and I did not hesitate. After a short drive inside the rice fields, the taxi dropped me at the parking lot, slightly down against the festival, where the pedestrian area begins.Tthere are already some nice specimens of hydrangeas. Inside the festival there would be more than 40,000 flowers !
From the entrance of the festival three options: riding the shuttle bus, feet walking using the road or walking using the forest trail. To go, I chose the road to keep the trail for the end. Asphalted, it is bordered by flowers and is quite shaded. Despite a steep climb, it's still a pleasant walk. There are many corners that are filled with flowers where you are literally surrounded by hydrangeas and it's beautiful.
Finally I arrived faster than I though to the waterfall
I understand why it is one of the 100 most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. Water flows from a cliff 100m above, it is very beautiful and impressive since you can get very close (enough to receive droplets). There are other views on the sides, from a suspension bridge or by climbing the big rocks in the middle of the river (no risks). I preferred the view from the suspension bridge because there were hydrangeas and it was a great place to enjoy water scenery and flowers. I though it was a better place than near where the waterfall, where we only see water falling.
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There are hydrangeas of different species and colors. This is the first time I saw a such dark flower ! The path strewn stairs is muddy and / or slippery at times. It takes an average of twenty minutes (counting photo stops) to browse but it is worth it, especially if you take it back down. A little icing on the cake !.
I think even if you are not particularly attracted with flowers contemplation, you can spend a great time on the trail.
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If you are planning a stay in Saga Prefecture, I recommend their excellent website: Saga Trip Genius (in English). As for me, I already have a second trip in the prefecture programmed for this summer ... for another festival, unrelated to the flowers this time!
MIKAERI NO TAKI (見帰りの滝)
Adress : Ochicho Ikisa, Karatsu-shi, Saga, 849-3223
Access : 7 minutes by car from Ouchi station (JR Karatsu Line)
HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL (あじさいまつり)
Opening days : Every year in June
Price : 200 yens