Ookawara Gorge and the Firefly Festival

If ajisai is the quintessential flower of tsuyu season, the firefly must be it’s insect. Called hotaru in Japanese, these lightning bugs swarm around streams and rivers in the countryside from late May to June and can be viewed in some places up until August. In Kobayashi, Idenoyama Park hosts a firefly festival every year, and after talking about going for almost a month,…

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Kegon Falls

If you’re prone to motion sickness, the road up to Kegon Falls is a challenge. Ascending 400m in just a few kilometres, it snakes around 20 hairpin bends (yes, 20!) before reaching the top of the Nikko mountains. But it’s worth it. On the third day of our trip up north, after arriving just the night before, John and I decided to…

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Sekino-o Falls and the Oketsugun Potholes

“Woaah!” I exclaimed to Mark. “Are you seeing this?” The red shrine that he was investigating wasn’t enough to distract me from the roar of water falling down. An unexpected stop on our roadtrip to Miyakonojo had led us down a flight of stone stairs to meet the majestic Sekino-o Falls. With the cherry blossoms forecasted to open in Miyazaki later this week, our original…

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