Finally we made it to the mountains! It only took us a month and a half to find our way to them. But we did it! Friday was our day off so we boarded a train and took it an hour southwest of us to a town called Yoro. Our mission for the day was to summit the Yoro Mountain which is a whopping 859M (2819 FT). When we arrived in Yoro the place looked like a ghost town. During spring and autumn the place is bumping because of the cherry blossoms and fall foliage, but since its the off season we had the whole place to ourselves! Literally we only saw 3 people the entire day! Coming from Nagoya, where there are 4 million people, everywhere all day everyday this was such a nice break!
Legend has it that back in the 8th century, a poor lumberjack was living around this area. His very old fathers one wish was to drink sake, but since the family was very poor they couldn’t afford to buy it. One day, the boy was walking towards the falls, when he started to smell sake. Surprisingly, it was flowing from the waterfall! He brought home the sake and gave it to his father and after drinking it his father got younger, and the family became happy.
This story was reported to the Capital Nara, and reached Empress Gensho’s ear.The Empress said “The gods praised his filial devotion to parents.”The Empress visited this falls, and she also drink the water.
She changed the name of an era to “Yoro” which means “supporting old age”, and she made honorable recognition of devoted sons and daughters.
After checking out the fountain of youth waterfall and deciding that waterfall was in fact just delicious water not sake! We began our ascent to Mount Yoro. What basically should have been a 12 km (7.45 miles) roundtrip day, turned into what we think was a 16 km (9.9 mile) day! All because we took a wrong turn. The trails were well marked, and we had a map…but everything was of course in Japanese! Luckily, we were prepared with the 10 essentials..so we weren’t too worried about our wrong turn.
Overall the day was great! We ate our lunch of homemade Onigiri near the summit, saw Mount Fuji in the distance and even saw a family of Japanese wild deer! At the end of the day we celebrated our victory by buying locally made Yoro falls beer and cider as well as a good luck gourd. We might be living in the concrete jungle but we are mountain people at heart.