Date: 17th October 2016
The Gunma prefecture was definitely not part of my travel plans last autumn, but due to the vicinity of this park’s location to Karuizawa, which was part of the plan, I decided to make my way here.
Researching this place, I soon realized that public transport is not the best option – the infrequent buses meant that I would spend quite a bit of time waiting (I mean, quite a lot). So, I took the decision to actually drive. Yes, the first time I ever got myself an international driving permit, and the first time I drove in another country. All that trouble, but it was worth it.
It was raining when I arrived in Karuizawa that morning from Tokyo. Got up early to catch the bullet train that would get me there around the time the rental car shop opens – 8 a.m. All the rental car shops were conveniently located in front of Karuizawa station, thus despite the rain, I managed to reach the shop in not such a pitiful condition, barely covering myself with a raincoat.
The staff was nice enough to lend me an umbrella, well maybe not – there were a bunch of them probably ready to be lent to customers. Customer service was great, anyway. I have not had experience driving many type of cars – regularly 2? And another 2 like once. So I was a bit confused – this had the leg break, instead of hand break (laughs at myself) and was keyless. Gosh. Well the staff showed me everything. He was probably scared something was going to go wrong, told me safety first. Haha. Oh, and the navigation system. I was concerned that it would be in Japanese. Turned out it speaks English, but could only be keyed in with Japanese characters! Thank goodness I studied Hiragana and Katakana. Was able to survive.
Anyways, so off I go. Despite it being just the mid of October, the leaves here in Karuizawa was already turning yellow creating a pleasurable view driving up to the Onioshidashi Park. Too bad I was alone, no photographer to take pictures of that while I was driving. So the road is not your usual straight, highway. It was mostly single lane, and was mostly winding. And it was going uphill and did I mention it was raining? Passing through one toll, I finally arrived at Onioshidashi park after about a 45 mins drive.
Being at such height and raining, it was misty. I could barely see the expected view I saw in the pictures published on the net.
Onioshidashi Park is park of lava rocks formed by the eruption of nearby Mount Asama back in 1783. Mt Asama is an ACTIVE volcano, like much of Japan, and supposedly the most active in the Honshu region (gasped).
I could tell the mix of autumn and the rocks would create a beautiful picture, well too bad it was kind of misty at that time.
The rain soon stopped. Here comes descent pictures!
I really recommend the visit to this beautiful park. It was not very crowded and you might just end up spending 2 hours here like I did!