Monday, June 22, 2009

Down the river to the sea

waki1253

A few weeks ago, before the onset of the rainy season and its attendant humidity, I took a little bike ride 20kms down the river to Gotsu.

The Gonokawa (Go River) is the longest river in West Japan, and is only 194 kms long. Now tamed by a single dam upstream at Hamahara, it is still a very pleasant river.


waki1251

For most of its length there is a narrow ride running alongside the railway line, and a larger 2 lane road running along the opposite bank. The 10k from my village downstream to Kawahira is the only stretch that doesn't have the small road, so I cycled down the main road to the bridge at Kawahira.

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There is not a lot of traffic, maybe one or two cars an hour, and just a few small settlements. Its not unusual to see troops of monkeys exploring the edge of the rail tracks.

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Every few K there are Jizo altars, often looking the worst for wear, but still maintained by some of the locals.

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Geologically speaking, the Go River is very young, and has yet to form an estuary or delta, but it does get a little wider and deeper as it turns the last horsheshoe bend before reaching Gotsu and the sea.

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It was at this point that I discovered something quite remarkable, something I've driven past hundreds of times and not noticed. That's tomorrows blog.

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