Fresh from his expedition to the mysterious “Space Station” of Yamaguchi Prefecture, our traveling reporter Masanuki Sunakoma learned of another unexplained region in the hinterlands of Japan: The Machu Picchu of USA.
That might seem a little… no, completely wrong at first, but there is a partial explanation for it. USA is a town in Oita Prefecture that is actually pronounced “Oo-sah.” However, thanks to Japan’s laissez-faire attitude towards upper and lower case letters, it looks identical to the abbreviation of the United States of America.
Because of that, USA is fairly well-known around Japan, and it sometimes gets featured as a quirky news item on television programs. However, this is the first time Masanuki had ever heard that USA also contains Machu Picchu, the mysterious “city in the sky” built by the Incans 600 years ago.
So he hopped a train to USA to investigate.
When he arrived at USA Station, Masanuki found many subtle nods to the States. The signboard had a picture of Usa Jingu Shrine, but with a layout strikingly similar to the Stars and Stripes.
The station itself retained a rural Japanese style and had the name “USA” written in kanji characters, but still had a peculiar red, white, and blue color scheme.
It was all very nice, but there were mysteries afoot and Masanuki had to investigate them. He had heard dark rumors swirling about dark places, that USA’s Machu Picchu could be seen by journeying along Highway 387.
He drove along the brightly lit highway of mystery for about 30 minutes, when a sign appeared.
▼ Sign: “Machu Picchu of USA Lookout Spot”
Pulling over, Masanuki headed towards the lookout spot and found an enigmatic staircase to nowhere.
Having come too far to turn back, he ascended the staircase. These would be the final steps of his long journey. At the top was a sign entitled “Machu Picchu Appears!?” It explained that the landscape, when seen from this location, looks just like the Machu Picchu in Peru.
Masanuki looked up and instantly mumbled to himself, “Oh yeah, it does kinda look like it.” The cone-shaped mountain, which the sign had told him was Akibasama, stood over some terraced rice paddies and a farm house, giving a striking resemblance to the Incan ruins.
That being said, the low-lying farm didn’t really capture the same impressiveness of the real Machu Picchu’s mountaintop construction. But it was still a majestic mountain view in its own right.
He looked around at the other mountains and took a deep breath of the fresh air. Yes, this wasn’t the Machu Picchu, but it was the Machu Picchu of USA, Japan, and that’s not bad either.
All in all he felt better having come to this place. It was a refreshingly beautiful piece of nature and the slight resemblance to Machu Picchu was a nice touch.
It’s a pretty quick and easy trip too, so if you happen to be in the area, be sure to check out the Machu Picchu of USA in Oita Prefecture if for no other reason than the reactions when you tell people where you went.
Machu Picchu of USA / 宇佐のマチュピチュ
Oita-ken, Usa-shi, Innai-cho, Nishishiiya
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