Japan Diaries: Day 4

Day 4 December 22, 2014

Solo Backpacking to Okuyama Ameyama Nature Park

Well, well, well it's a cloudy day today. It looks a bit gloomy but I won't let that stop me from fulfilling my plan to revisit Eiraku Dam in Okuyama Ameyama Nature Park today. I have discussed this with my wife already and I'm happy that she supported me on my plan.

Yay! My first snow!

I headed out quite early. Though my wife decided to stay behind to rest because her energy was drained during the previous trips. Well, I don't want to force her to because I calculated that the trip to Eiraku Dam and back would take at least 4 to 5 hours. Plus I would just be walking during the whole adventure.

Walking route around the dam.

Halfway through the trip, snowflakes fell and for the first time, I got to experience an event like that. The snow didn't build up though and melted within half a minute. After the brief admiration, I continued on. After almost an hour of walking, I finally reached Eiraku Dam. I found out it was actually a part of the Okuyama Ameyama Natural Park. Aside from the walking course around the Eiraku Dam site that Mr. Toshi and I drove around two days ago, there are also some trekking courses on the high hills around the park. Above some of these hills were observation posts or viewing decks where one can perfectly view the park. 

You can see the observation/viewing deck from one of the hills

This pathway leads to the viewing deck

The pathway around Eiraku Dam

I got the chance to trek one of these hills by accident. It was at about two-thirds of the walking course when I saw a sign (written in Kanji). According to a local who translated it for me, the sign directs me to a place with a panoramic view. I got intrigued and followed the uphill path. Thirty minutes later, I found myself in a clearing on top of the hill. A few meters from the clearing is the viewing deck. I rested in the viewing deck while admiring the beautiful view that I'm seeing. I also took plenty of pictures before heading down the hill.

You could see the viewing deck from here

Enjoying the view of this vast park

The view of Okuyama Ameyama Nature Park as seen from the viewing deck

I went down using the same path that I used when I went up and then finished the walking course around the dam after. I bought coffee from a vending machine a few meters away from the dam and proceeded home. 

Ameyama Ruined Castle...1500 meters away? Let's go!

The trail up Ameyama looks doable.

On the way home, I saw a sign pointing to a place called Ameyama Ruined Castle. Of course, the idea of seeing a castle for the first time, even if it was just a ruin, made me excited so I decided to take a look. 

Entering the torii gate near the peak of Ameyama

To my surprise, the castle ruins were at the peak of Mt. Ameyama or simply Ameyama. Since I already walked at least 500 meters from the jump-off point I decided to finish what I started until I reached the peak. After entering the torii gate, I was confused and disappointed because I couldn't see any castle ruins. 

The supposed location of the castle ruins

The Ameyama Shrine

Enjoying the view from the peak of Ameyama!

However, to my delight, there was a hiker's cabin on the peak and in front of it was the Ameyama Shrine dedicated to the Ameyama Dragon King which the locals believe to bring rain during times of drought. After several minutes of looking at the views and taking pictures, I decided to go down the mountain and head back home. Later on, it dawned on me that despite my disappointment of not seeing a castle or ruins, I was still lucky to have conquered my first mountain in Japan.  It took me another hour or so to reach the Kameyama residence. I was tired yet very fulfilled. 

Some fun time in AEON Mall with Ella

Team Nicerio dinner time at AEON Mall

Ella's dinner

KC's dinner

My dinner

Our day didn't end there though... That night we headed to AEON Mall, ate dinner, and had a little bonding with our Japanese family. When we got home I still had a chance to walk Tomato (our Japanese family's beloved dog) and bond with Mr. Toshi at the same time.


  1. My dream is a few-week trip around Japan, especially small quiet towns. I hope that your diary will be very useful to me:).I also love Japanese cuisine and can not wait to try their street food.

    1. Hi Anna. =) Please do check out the other diary entries that I had. You might want to visit the other places that I visited too.

  2. Love those views from the Eiraku Dam viewing platform. Sometimes taking a solo hike is a great way not only to see great sights but also just enjoy some quiet time to reflect on your travels. Very cool that there were some ruins nearby too that you got to add to you adventure!

  3. So beautiful in the Autumn. I'd never thought of Japan in the Fall. Thanks for the great article! Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    1. I really did. =) Thank you so much for the positive feedback.

  4. Great post, very well written and detailed.

  5. This is awesome. It's my dream too to go to Japan. I still need to save up! This a great blog. Love it! The photos showed how beautiful this country is!

    1. Thank you so much Rhui! Hope you get to visit Japan soon. =)

  6. View from the deck is really beautiful. Love those brown/orange trees, they look like flowers.

  7. It looks like you had such a great time. Would love to go to Japan one day!

  8. Very nice, this makes me want to visit Japan even more now. Keep having fun!


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