I am not only a spontaneous person but also a stubborn one. When I put my mind to something, I don’t give up. For example, I remember telling my husband to take me to Shimane Prefecture for more than a year until he gave in. I also insisted on going to Yamaguchi Prefecture just as much. Guess what? I’ve been to both, thanks to my superior “nagging” skills.
It is easy to say, “Why don’t you go to those places yourself and stop dragging that poor man with you?” If I could, I would. But unfortunately, I don’t have a driver’s license, and it would take me thrice as long if I traveled via public transport. I’m glad some readers feel for him, though, because there were times when he had to drive more than 10 hours.
But don’t worry! He takes enough rest and gets fed well during his drives.
Fortunately, he didn’t have to drive too much for this trip because we had accommodations in Nara. However, his legs (and mine) suffered this time.
I’ll be honest; I had no idea we would go on two hikes in one day. It just happened. I had been eyeing Soni Highlands in Nara for a while, but going there on a day trip would take 8-10 hours. I have my own ways of casually approaching my husband, bringing up a random subject, and somehow(!) making the conversation about what I really want.
He’s used to my “manipulative” tactics and knows how to evade them. But if he promises to go, he never cops out. He agreed to go to Soni Highlands with me after seeing its photos—and only after two weeks of repeated insistence!
The hike was quite pleasant. The trails were well-kept and straightforward. Even elementary school students were hiking there, so it’s safe to say the hike was proper for people of all ages.
We started at the bottom of Mount Kuroso and traversed the highland. We then opted out of hiking to the top of the mountain, even though a few people tried it. Instead, I wanted to enjoy the breathtaking views of the pampas grass swaying with the wind while I walked close to the grass fields. We could see the highland from different angles while traversing it. And going back down was as delightful as going up.
After two hours of hiking, we returned to where we started: Soni Kogen Farm Garden. Visitors can eat meals and buy Soni Kogen beer here. We chose a small udon restaurant across from it and enjoyed Kogen udon to regain our energy.
I wonder if what happened after that was that delicious udon’s fault or not?
Akame 48 Waterfalls
We weren’t tired (yet), and it was only noon, so I searched for more places we could visit in the afternoon. I found Akame 48 Waterfalls, a famous tourist spot in Mie Prefecture. It was not even an hour’s drive from Soni Highlands, and we were excited to experience this riverside trail of many waterfalls.
After arriving in Akame, we saw it was a ninja village, which means ninjas used to inhabit the area. It’s also said that they used to hone their stealth and combat skills there. However, we were completely unaware that it was another hike that could last three hours from the starting point to the end and then back again.
We didn’t make it to the end because we needed to get back to the trail entrance before 5 p.m. Yet, we enjoyed the lush scenery, and our energy was restored. We also felt refreshed by the air that was naturally cooled by the mighty waterfalls. Each waterfall was unique, and so was the scenery around it.
We also saw enormous salamanders at a salamander center when we first arrived. It was my first time seeing them in person—and I found it a bit funny that their eyes were so tiny compared to their giant bodies. Of course, I didn’t stand there and bully a poor salamander, but I couldn’t miss the chance for good laughter, either. I can’t help but wonder what we, humans, look like to salamanders. Any thoughts?
We no longer felt our legs after that second hike. I don’t remember how we returned to Nara City, where we stayed the night.
Was it worth all the nagging and begging?
Yes, it was.
Would I do it again?
Would my husband come with me this time?
I’m not so sure about that.
Finally, I discovered that a ninja and I had something in common: advanced stealth tactics and the perseverance to achieve our goals. Nobody was assassinated during this trip, but my husband’s legs undoubtedly suffered after that, and he was baffled by how on earth he followed me for two hikes while he wasn’t even sure he would do one.
Well, good ninjas don’t reveal their tricks, do they?
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