If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path destination filled with hidden gems, Yamaguchi is waiting to greet you with its mountain bandit restaurant, its singing pavement, and mysterious natural formations that will take your breath away.
We recently visited the southwestern prefecture to brave a powerful hot spring, and while we were there one of the locals told us about a mysterious landscape close by that looked like it was from another world. And while this signboard hints at what the landscape might look like, we were told that it would be far more spellbinding in person.
Being the intrepid explorers we are, we decided this was something we had to check out for ourselves, so we hopped in the car and travelled five kilometers from our hot spring accommodation to a park called Ichinomatasakura.
As we travelled through the gorgeous countryside, we couldn’t help but wonder what this otherworldly “different dimension” would look like in person. We recalled the excitement in the old man’s eyes who told us about it, and wondered why he insisted we keep our eyes peeled to the side of the road during our journey.
And that’s when we spotted this.
We were still a kilometre (0.6 miles) away from the park, but it looked like we had stumbled on the different dimension already. We slammed on the brakes and stopped to investigate the scene, and when we got out, we found there were more severed heads glaring at us.
Their dead eyes stared deep into our souls, and we couldn’t help but feel they were silently pleading with us to find their missing bodies. We didn’t have time for a mission like that, so we backed away slowly from their steel contraptions before they sucked us into their warped dimension for eternity.
Relieved to escape the glare of the severed heads, we drove a short distance until we saw a much more friendly site that had a pink roadside flag with the word “Sakura Park” emblazoned across it.
We pulled up and saw “Ichinomatasakura Park” written on a wooden board, confirming that we had stopped in the right place. While we couldn’t see the park that lay beyond the trees, there was a decent-sized parking area set up here for vehicles, suggesting that it gets a lot of visitors throughout the year.
▼ We got out of the car and strolled down the path.
▼ And then, this mysterious landscape appeared before our very eyes.
Spread out before us was a dead forest submerged in shallow water, their withered stumps reflecting eerily on the surface of the lake. It reminded us of the famous blue pond in Hokkaido, only with less people around, which added to the mysterious atmosphere.
Depending on the day you visit, you might be able to see carp swimming around in the water. While we couldn’t see any fish when we were there, it didn’t make the view any less beautiful, as the water was clear, the breeze cool, and the birdsong echoed around the surrounding hills, making us feel like the world had somehow ended and we were the only ones who’d survived the apocalypse.
We could’ve happily spent a whole afternoon here, escaping from all the troubles of the outside world. However, we had a plane to catch and issues to deal with back in the office, so we trudged back to the car and vowed to visit again another day.
Ichinomatasakura Park / 一の俣桜公園
Address: Yamaguchi Prefecture, Shimonoseki-shi, Toyotacho, Ichinomata
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