Kuju Hanakoen (Kuju Flower Park)
On our way from Ohita prefecture to Kumamoto prefecture, we stopped by at the Kuju Flower Park in Ohita prefecture. The park is located in Taketa city of Ohita prefecture where you can see 500 different kinds of flowers between Spring and Fall. When we were at the park in early November, we were able to see Salvia and Marigold. The Spring (mid April to May) is the best time to visit the park as you can see more than a few different types of flowers in the park such as Pansy, Moss Phlox, Tulip, Living stone daisy, Nemophila, Poppy, etc.
There are some souvenir stores and restaurants in the park as well. The best way to access the park is to rent a car and drive to the location but there is also a way to get to the park by public transportation (train/bus). Please check out the website below.
Look at a carpet of beautiful flowers in the pictures below! If this was in Hokkaido, you would probably see more people but somehow the Kuju Flower Park was not crowded at all! The yellow and orange flowers were Marigold and the red flowers were Salvia. Yes, it was another cloudy day but at least it did not rain that bad and the sun also came out occasionally.
Oka Castle Ruins
Another spot that we stopped by was called Oka Castle Ruins which also is located in Taketa city. The Oka Castle is said to be built in 1185 but it was attacked by many times in the battles and fire. It continued to exist in the area of Taketa until 1871 when the order of the exclusion of the castles was issued. The stone walls that remains in the area remind us how flourished it was in those days. The castle was built to welcome Minamoto no Yoshitsune, military commander of the Minamoto clan and it was under the control of Shiga clan until the Sengoku era. It is thought that the castle had survived over 800 years as it stood on the mountain with altitude of 325 meters and on the steep cliff with stone walls which means the castle was inpregnable and was difficult to be beaten. The picture below is an amazing view from the Oka Castle Ruins.
Harajiri no Taki (Harajiri Falls)
About 20 minutes drive from the Oka Castle Ruins, there is a waterfall called Harajiri Falls. The nickname of the falls is “Niagara Falls of Japan.” It does look like a smaller version of Niagara Falls but definitely Niagara Falls has much more spectacular view. You can enjoy 360-degree view of the falls by walking around the area. It is a good place to stop by if you have an extra 30 minutes to travel in the area.