A car trip to the mountains of Nagatoro.
In preparation for our trip to Chichibu in December we decided it would be a great opportunity to use a car to go to Nagatoro. This way our European driver could get used to driving on the other side of the road and to the Japanese traffic. What seemed to be a very good idea, turned out to be somewhat less amazing. We started our day with a lot of traffic and thus it took us some more time to get to Nagatoro. But nonetheless, a car is way more comfortable than using the public transport (maybe not if you put 7 people inside a ‘small 7 person car’-we had to squeeze to fit in the car).
Boat ride on the river
When we (finally) arrived in Nagatoro the sun was already shining brightly and it looked like it would be a wonderful day to do a boat ride on the famous Arakawa river. You could either choose a 20 minute or a 40 minute ride. We chose the latter option, because then we would have some more time to enjoy the sunny day from the water.
After buying the tickets, we had to wait another 20 minutes before the bus would arrive that would take us to the river. The boat trip would start upstream the river. We would just float downstream with a little bit of help from the two Japanese men who were controlling the boat.
We were not the only ones on board. We started with 5 other Japanese persons and halfway those people got out of the boat and two others joined us. We had a short break- we stayed in the boat while the boat wasn’t moving.
The river was absolutely stunning, especially because of the bright sunlight that would shine down on us, the trees, the rocks and the river itself. The river was also very clean, so you could see everything when you looked at the water. We floated past large trees and huge rock parties (including a so-called Elephant rock, even though I couldn’t spot the elephant).
Once every couple of minutes there would be some small rapids in the river. The boat had some plastic shields attached to its outside and whenever such a rapid was approaching, we had to pull up the shields to stay dry. Which is very nice since we were carrying cameras with us.
Climbing a mountain
We climbed a mountain! Well, it’s not really climbing, but it was an impressive hike through the mountains. After the boat ride we got some ice cream at a nearby convenience store and we started walking towards the mountain. Whilst walking, we were suddenly called back by an old Japanese man. Even though he didn’t speak English, he tried to tell us that we were going the wrong way. Luckily we understood what he was trying to tell us and he showed us another path to the beginning of the mountain trail.
Even though the mountain was not that high, it was an exciting climb to the top. Some parts were steeper than other parts and for most of the time we had to walk on small paths surrounded by trees (and big spiders).
The total climb took us about 2.5 hours to the top. It was a hot day, so it was quite an achievement to reach the top (especially since not all of us are very used to hiking/climbing mountains). In the end it was completely worth it to go to the top. Even though the total height of the mountain was just under the 500 meters, the views from the top were impressive and wonderful.
Resting at the top of the mountain with views like this was very relaxing. The warm sun made the short break even better. Do change the pace of our trip we decided to use the cable car to get down from the mountain.
The only thing that was left, was to return to Saitama. Normally this would be a 1.5 hours drive, but when we arrived at the high way, there was a huge traffic jam. The traffic was almost not moving at all and it took us at least 3 hours to get home. So next time if we want to use a car to go on a trip, we will have to think very very carefully when to travel, to make sure that we will not be stuck traffic jams anymore.
Visited on the 15th of October 2016