I had been expecting a deep forest full of autumn colors. It did have a deep forest. But the biggest surprise was that it reminded me of the beautiful sceneries of Hakone.
I'm visiting Makino, a small town located in the northern west of Shiga prefecture. It's just about 1 hour from Kyoto by train. As I left Kyoto in the very early morning, I managed to see this beautiful sunrise over Lake Biwa (biggest lake in Japan).
Yesterday, a clerk of an outdoor shop told me that this area, often called Takashima Trail after the name of this region, is the best place to go around by one day. It is full of unspoiled nature, especially Japanese beech trees with autumn colors. Then, why not go there? I added Shiga to the list of my destinations.
The starting point of Takashima Trail is located at Makino Highland. On the way to the highland, I was amazed to see a row of Metasequoia which runs over 2 miles down. This street is designated as one of the top 100 views of street trees of Japan, and is said to show red colors in the end of autumn and white color in winter. Now the trees are green and energetic.
After a walk of around 1 hour, I arrived at Makino Highland!
This highland leads to the entrance of the path to Mt. Otani. Look how wide and comfortable it is!
But as soon as I started to go up the highland, I was surprised to find how steep the slope is... Yes, it is the slope for skiing. You need to brace yourself before walking up.
I reached the entrance after walking up the steep slope. Groups of Japanese pampas grass welcomed me.
Then, I found this. How fluffy it is!
I must photograph the best of Japanese pampas grass, I thought. I walked around in the field of Japanese pampas grass and shooted this. I love this warm atmosphere.
The view from the top of the field is like this. This view reminded me of Sengokuhara at Hakone, where a field of Japanese pampas grass welcome millions of visitors.
Autumn Colors Report 2014 – Hakone with Autumn Colors and Sea of White Japanese Pampas Grass
The difference is that there was no one here without me. More people should know this beautiful place.
Then, I entered a mountain path. As you see, you can find some autumn colors already.
I had some rest at the wooden chair. What a lovely place with Japanese pampas grass and the view of Makino.
And I managed to see a view of Lake Biwa from the chair, too. Oh, it is really like an ocean.
After the rest, I walked up the path. I walked up and up.
I've reached the peak of Mt. Kampu, which is on the mountain trail to Mt. Otani.
I found some groups of Japanese pampas grass here, too!
Then, I started to walk to Mt. Otani. After going through the path like this,
an open space welcomed me with the biggest surprise! All of the plants I see from here are Japanese pampas grass! Oh, that's great.
I climbed a bit with this view on the left.
As I looked back to the Mt. Kampu, I clearly see the autumn colors of the mountain.
Finally, I arrived at the peak of Mt. Otani!
The view from the peak was simply magnificent.
The clerk in Kyoto told me that the forest of Japanese beech trees is in the west of the peak of Mt. Otani. As I walked down a bit to the west, I found it. But sadly, many of them had already lost their leaves.
One or two weeks before must be the best season to see Japanese beech trees.
By the way, I managed to see Wakasa Gulf in the distance. I'm looking forward to going there some day.
Then, I started to go down the mountain. The path leads to this unspoiled forest.
The forest is full of fallen leaves as if it didn't have even a path. I love it so I really miss the landscape of this forest in orange.
I've finished climbing down the mountain. After having some rest, I realized that the sun has already hidden. I started to walk again.
As I reached Makino station, the stars were shining in the cloudy sky. Lake Biwa is very close. Then, there's no reason not to check the starscape of Shiga. Oh, Lake Biwa looks quite huge from the shore.
Even though the sky had a lot of clouds, I managed to see the starry sky in the east. The shore was a very quiet, very romantic, and very cold place. The winter is coming. Tomorrow, I will meet some friends in Osaka. Good night, everybody.