Weekend Adventures – part I

My first weekend in Takatsuki, Osaka! I had plans to go into Osaka city on Sunday, so on Saturday I decided to get into nature and try out some hiking! I walked about an hour to a hiking area that was suggested on Trip Advisor for a waterfall. It is in the Settsukyo (摂津峡) Mountain Park. 

 

It was warm, so I took my time and lots of water. Armed with a map of Takatsuki, sunglasses and a hat plus some water and off I went! I decided to follow a direct route, which took me down a very narrow rarely used road. It generally had forest on one side and farms on the other. A few small Japanese style baby trucks, some cyclists and walkers were all I saw. A small walk-way up a path intrigued me so I explored – it had a small reservoir and I saw a turtle paddling about! My first sign of nature! Yay!

Turtle! かみ

The farms were growing all sorts of things, mostly tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. Many fields looked prepared for planting, but I`m not sure what will be planted. 

    

A little farm.

The road itself looked a little like it could lead to a magical place of mystery – I was reminded of the famous Hayao Miyazaki Japanese animation movie Spirited Away (千と千尋のかみかくし) where Chihiro enters a magical land after wandering away from a small road her parents were driving down to move to their new house in a new part of Japan.  

Cute Road. A taste of Old Japan

I came across many greenhouses covered in thick plastic sheets, but the most surprising was one with the hugest aloe vera plant I`ve ever seen! It was massive.  

  

I Spy with my little eye a MASSIVE aloe vera
 Next I spotted a shrine in the near distance – behind it was a forest of bamboo!!! I was even able to get to it and took some photos which really don`t do the scenery justice, but hopefully you get the idea! 

Shrine in a bamboo forest
Bamboo Shrine Entrance way
At the Bamboo Shrine

I ended up in a more urban area for the second half of my walk and saw a funky tree beside a near religious building – I`m still not sure if it’s a temple or a shrine, but it`s certainly beautiful, and the tree I find just so unique – I think perhaps it’s a large bonsai tree that somebody forgot to keep cutting! 🙂

  

Love Japanese trees. This one is funky

beside the funky tree

 I finally got to the final road to my destination – Settsukyo Street. The park is known for fireflies and frogs – of course they weren`t around when I was walking there as it was daytime, but I learned this from the funky artwork on the sidewalk.  

Settsukyo Rd

firefly street. art
   I entered the park and found a children`s play area which was fun and quite neat – I tried out the zipline, of course! Found a sign for the Valley of Maples (one of my schools in Hokkaido was Maple Mountain, so I knew the word for maple trees) and off I went. I`d been warned of wild boars and black millipedes that are crazy poisonous and had on my trusty birks, so I was admittedly a little cautious! Didn`t see anybody and hiked for about an hour until I came to a view point – wow! My city is quite large, but I didn`t know. And the rest of the view was mountains! Amazing…..   

 

Settsukyo Park entrance
Panoramic view from Settsukyo

made it!
 Was glad to meet a woman and her young son at a campsite that appeared out of nowhere, and she assured me I was on the right track to the waterfall, but it was steep going down to it. She was right! Stairs upon stairs upon switchback stairs! I went 

 

The stairs kept coming
 down, down, down…. No sign of the waterfall, but next was a river – a beautiful, blue-green river with clear gorgeous water. There were some families enjoying it, so I decided to soak my swollen sandaled feet! Amazing. Turns out, there was a little frog just by my feet also enjoying the refreshing water! (I admit I did later see a snake as well – darn, they exist in Osaka, I was hoping that they wouldn`t have made it to this mainland island as they didn`t exist in Hokkaido [in my experience which I was very grateful for] …. So, a good taste of nature.

  

River is popular place to cool off for families
  
Beautiful River
  
Settsukyo River
  
Frog neighbour
  
Note to self to bring shoes next time
  
Such a great day. Loved it
  Decided to find some food as there were a few restaurants at the base of the park instead of hunting for the waterfall. Save it for another day. I enjoyed tempera on rice and a beautifully icy cold beer! Then walked back home. It was a great day – probably a total of about 5 hours…. Felt so great to be out in nature, though I decide next time I`d better at least wear runners if not hiking boots.  

 

Place of Interest: statue at Settsukyo
  
Farmers beside Settsukyo
  
Admittedly a little obsessed with bamboo. Just love this stuff
  

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