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Bigger Than Godzilla

Posted by Heliocentrism on April 2, 2011

March 19-20, 2011

All Pictures

This is what a live volcano looks like.

Take 2

A few weekends ago Mark and I noticed that the weather was warmer. It wasn’t summery enough to go camping, but non-wintery enough not to have to worry about icy roads up mountains. So we thought, “Why don’t we visit all the places we tried to see, but couldn’t because of snow and ice on the roads.

Is that smoke from the volcano or our car?

First Stop: Mount Aso

This is a live, though not-so active, volcano. People can drive all the way to the top. My car almost didn’t make it. The hill, umm, volcano is very steep. There was a burning smell coming from the hood when we finally parked.

Normally you can see down into the volcano, but we went on a foggy day. We will have to go back again sometime on a clearer day; maybe when someone visits. When we do, I’ll park the car somewhere and take the cable car up. It’s better for my transmission.

This is what the bridge looks like when it’s not spouting water.

Next Stop: The Water Spouting Bridge

We then got back into the car and headed to Tsujun Bridge. We looked at it, walked around it, walked over it, all while wondering when the water was going to shoot out.

We stopped by one of the shops by the parking lot to ask about the water works. “No March. Water in April,” we were told.

Great… We’ll have to come back for this too.

Finally an attraction that is in complete working order!

Last, but not least: The Dream Bridge

How could I not see the bridge that is advertised as being bigger than Godzilla? It is indeed a big bridge. One whose only purpose is to attract tourist to a part of the prefecture with nothing much else to do.

But, what is that in bananas?

You pay your money and cross the bridge. Once on the other side the only thing to do, if you’re not hungry, is go back across the bridge again to get to your car. Yeah!

There was tomato flavored ice cream…

The side of the road foreigner trap

Watch out for the non-existent curb!

Now I must complain about the roads here. I consider myself to be pretty tolerant of other cultures and other ways of doing things, but this is one thing I really hate about rural Japan.

Complaint #1: Are you sure this is supposed to be a 2 lane road?

There are some “two lane” roads that are slightly bigger than my car. Keep in mind that I drive a tiny k-car that is dwarfed by most vehicles. Yet, these roads are not one-way streets, but have two lanes going in opposite directions. What makes this worse is complaint #2.

Complaint #2: uncovered drains and road moats.

If you look at the picture above you will see what I call a “road moat”. It’s just an open ditch that runs along the side of the road waiting to swallow up any k-car that veers too much to the left. There is the smaller version, which is just an open drain. It’s not big enough for your whole car to fall in, but it will hold a tire or two while breaking an axle. What makes this worse is complaint #3.

Complaint #3: Can I get a street light?

It would be nice if there were some sort of light to help me see these little death holes along the side of the road. But on most streets that are not downtown, there are none.

Where are my tax yen going?

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your banktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

 Mount Aso 
(阿蘇山)
(Asosan)
Komezuka
(米塚)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 32°53’12.7″N 131°05’03.0″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south. Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Then get on Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose).
  • There are 2 Route 57’s. If you get on the wrong one it doesn’t matter. They both basically* go the same place. One is just more windy than the other.
  • *Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose) will end somewhere in Onomachi Tanaka. When this happens just head north on route 26 to route 57 (Higo Highway).
  • Once you’ve left Oita Prefecture and you’ve passed the windy mountain area look out for route 111. Take a left onto route 111.
  • For Aso Mountain take route 111 all the way to the toll road, where 111 ends. You can then take the cable car up for 1,000YEN round trip/ person or drive up the toll road for 560YEN/ car.
  • For Komezuka turn right onto route 298. You should see Komezuka in 1 kilometer.

Website:

Cost:

  • Cable Car Ride – 600Yen one way, 1,000Yen round trip
  • To drive up to the top – 560YEN per car

Hours:

  • The toll road and cable car to Mount Aso are open 9:30 to 16:30 when the weather permits.
Videos:
about volcanoes:

Notes:

  • Don’t go in the winter to avoid the chances of you going all the way out there only to find that it’s closed due to snow.
  • It is recommended that people with asthma, bronchitis, or heart disease should not go to the top of Mount Aso.

Tsūjun Bridge
(通潤橋)
(Tsūjun-kyo)

How to get there:

  • Coorinates 32°40’53.6″N 130°59’37.4″E

From Oita City by car –

  • Take route 10 south. Follow 10 to Inukai.
  • Then get on Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose).
  • There are 2 Route 57′s. If you get on the wrong one it doesn’t matter. They both basically* go the same place. One is just more windy than the other.
  • *Route 57 (Inukai-Chitose) will end somewhere in Onomachi Tanaka. When this happens just head north on route 26 to route 57 (Higo Highway).
  • Once you’ve left Oita Prefecture and you’ve passed the windy mountain area look out for route 265 heading south.
  • ♦Stay on route 265 until you get to a town called Soyō (蘇陽町),
  • look out for route 218 and take it heading west.
  • Head south on the nameless road right after the light for route 445. If you miss it, just take the 180 heading east.

From Aso Mountain –

  • head back to route 111 where you came from,
  • get back on the 57 heading east, and
  • get on route 265 heading south.
  • Then follow the directions above from the “♦”.

Phone:

  • TEL 0967-72-1933
    • Call between 10:00 ~ 16:00

Website (translated by google)

Cost:

  • free and free parking

Hours:

  • The water only spouts for tourists in April and May on Sundays, Saturdays, and some holidays. Usually at noon, or noon and 14:00.
  • Check with the schedule on the website.
  • The rest of the year it spouts when the farmers need it to.

Notes:

There is a campsite not too far from the the bridge.


Kokonoe
(九重町)

How to get there:

By car –

  • Take route 210 or the Oita Expressway (toll road).

Websites:

Notes:

  • Be careful when driving in this town in winter.
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving your house.
  • If you do drive to Kokonoe when there is a lot of snow on the ground make sure to drive slowly, put chains on your tires, and watch out for crazy drivers who feel that they do not have to drive carefully in snow because they own SUV’s.

Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi
 (九重“夢”大吊橋)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°10’25.9″N 131°13’36.4″E

By car –

  • Take route 210 toward Kokonow.
  • Then take either route 11 or route 40.
  • Look out for signs to the bridge.

Address:

1208 Tano Kokonoe Ōaza
Kusu-gun, Oita Prefecture

大分県玖珠郡九重町大字田野1208番地

Phone:

  • 0973-73-3800

Websites:

Download:

Cost:

  • Adult – 500YEN
  • Kids – 200YEN

Hours:

  • Jan – Jun 8:30 – 16:30
  • Jul – Oct 8:30 – 17:30
  • Nov – Dec 8:30 – 16:00
  • Close Dec 31.

Notes:

Parking is free.

Map:

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Posted in Aso 市, Japan, Kokonoe 町, Kumamoto 県, Kyūshū, Oita 県, Yamato 町, Yufu 市 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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