April’s Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by Ken on What Japan Thinks is all about Slow Times in Japan, the opposite to last month’s blog carnival about Fast Times, for which I wrote about some of my off-beat experiences in Japan.
As a self-employed, work-at-home dad living in the countryside, I have a lot of free time. As most of you know, I’m usually glued to my computer screen, but three times a week, my wife heads off to her part-time job, leaving me and Rikuto to fend for ourselves.
We live in Kakamigahara in Gifu prefecture. It’s a city of around 150,000 people, and although it’s only an hour’s drive north of Nagoya, it’s quite different to the mass of buildings that make up Japan’s fourth biggest city. Being on the southern edge of the Kiso Mountains (aka Central Alps), there’s no shortage of hiking trails and parks in which to spend our Slow Times in Japan.
Here’s a collection of photos of us exploring some of the parks in and around the city, with links to each location on Google Maps.
The view from our house
Sohara Nature Park (Google Map)
This is the closest of the city’s major parks. We usually go here for cherry blossoms and barbecues.
100 Year Park (Google map)
This one, although only a 10 minute drive away, is actually in Seki city, but I’ve included it since it’s as near as any of the others. It’s absolutely huge by Japan’s “park” standards and will be years before we’ve explored it all.
Oasis Park / Aquatoto, Kawashima (Google map)
Aquatoto is a “world fresh water aquarium”, surrounded by a park and the Kiso River.
Kiso Three River Park (Google map)
This park is really simple. It’s basically a huge field with some playground apparatus. The best thing about it is there aren’t any ponds or streams for Rikuto to fall in, despite the name.
Hida Kisogawa National Park (Google Map)
We need to explore this one a little more as it’s actual a mountain full of trails and adventurous stuff. When we went, we just used the roller skating track for some pushchair grand prix practice.
Ogase (Google map)
Ogase is popular in Kakamigahara for it’s big pond and fireworks festival. It’s nice to take a stroll around the pond then play in the park a bit.
Kakamigahara Citizen’s Park (Google map)
Kakamigahara City likes to promote itself as a “green” city. Personally, I think the money they spend on parks would be better spent on other things, but our leaders at City Hall have just finished building a second huge park right outside their workplace (see the two parks on the map?).
Kakamigahara Natural Heritage Forest (Google map)
I think this one is the most beautiful of the parks I’ve been to so far in this city. So let me wrap this up with three pictures. The first two from the park and the last one from up in the forest.