The countdown until our move date to Tokyo is starting to feel real. With only a few months left in Kyushu (and with a trip back to the US for a family wedding thrown in the mix for part of that), I am now in that stage of an impending change where I want to suck the marrow out of our current home as much as possible in the time I have left.
To that end, my husband and I scheduled a family trip away this past weekend that incorporated a few things we both still wanted to do. For him, we summited Mt Kuju and Mt Nakadake, the highest peaks in Kyushu. For me (and our daughter), we spent one more night in Kurokawa Onsen and detoured to see the carp streamers flying over the river in Tsuetate Onsen.
As we wound our way back through rural Oita and Kumamoto prefectures, we made a spur of the moment stop off at Kikuchi Gorge. This verdant valley on the edge of our home prefecture has long been a place I have wanted to return to since I first walked its trails nearly two years ago. After the five-hour trek in the Kyushu range the day before, it was nice to simply amble along a rather flat trail that followed the river for about a kilometer.
But truthfully, we didn’t have to head too much further than the first bridge right inside the entrance booth to capture this scene:
Kikuchi Gorge is home to a number of waterfalls, most of which are more impressive than the one seen here. But what I noticed as I crossed the bridge was the way the branches perfectly framed the falls in the background. With an exuberant toddler swinging her feet in the hiking backpack, it took a number of shots to get a photo that wasn’t shaky!
I’d love to return to Kikuchi Gorge in June when the fireflies make an appearance over the rushing river. But as time ticks down, I highly doubt that will happen. And that’s okay. This past weekend gave me a chance to begin saying goodbye to Kumamoto … though will I ever feel like I’m ready??