The land of The Water Deity: Aso, Kumamoto (Part 2)
Halfway through the journey was the refreshing freedom when I was standing with my arms spread to hold all the landscape of Aso. The purity of Shirakawa Suigen made my soul clear but how about the next part? Was there anything interesting waiting for me to discover?
Let's continue the journey in Kumamoto with me in this article! For those who may not read part 1 yet, please click on the link below:
"Water engulfed" Takamori tunnel
In this story of the land of The Waiter Deity, I never expected a very rare event to happen.
In 1973, a railway project connecting Kumamoto prefecture and Miyazaki prefecture was built. However, 2 years later, massive water suddenly was gushed from the cliffs, pouring torrent into Takamori tunnel. The water flooded an entire 2055m long railway. Since then, the project was cancelled which resulted in the fact that a lot of money and efforts were going down the drain.
Until 1994, the locals did not want to waste and abandon the tunnel, they renovated, built a path from both sides of the railway and utilized it as the Takamori Yuusui tunnel park which is still open until now.
Discover the most unusual railway of Aso
Entering Takamori tunnel, I firmly believed that I had entered the completely different world.
It was high, wide and quite closed that the light from outside could not get through. Between the two pedestals, there was a long railway which had actually been submerged in water for decades. Don't you find it so amazing as I did?
I shouted out a few words, a sound slipping into the water and another sound hitting the wall echoed my own voice. The resonance of those sounds created an atmosphere of adventure in the tunnel.
Shine the flashlight down, I saw several 5 yen coins lying quietly under the railway. It turned out there were people who came here to ask for luck or good things to happen. A large stone engraved with the word "水神" (Suijin - The Water Deity) was erected and a donation box was placed at the end of the tunnel.
Perhaps the locals really believe the Aso land is ruled by such a God.
Going deeper into the tunnel, I was surprised by the lanterns and the colourful pine trees with different shapes hanging suspended above the railway. The pine trees were decorated with glitter and pearls, the Totoro character lantern (a very popular character of Ghibli studio) which lighted up throughout the tunnel in a majestic way.
More impressively, pretty photos and lovely wishes from more than 40 groups of children, students, teachers from kindergartens, schools or local art clubs were hung on the lanterns and the pine trees. Together they hold an event called "Christmas Fantasy" in mid-November as well as Tanabata celebration (known as the "star festival") every July to adorn the Takamori tunnel.
Such an extremely creative and meaningful activity that the locals joined hands to make a very unique Aso land.
Entering Takamori tunnel, I firmly believed that I had entered a completely different world. The condensed droplets reflected shimmering lights, the sound of rushing waters like a song of pure spring. Something as simple as that genuinely made me excited about the land of The Water Deity.
Enjoy the delicious Aso cow milk
From all the gifts brought by nature, people make use of the clean water, nutritious soil and fresh air to make wonderful and fresh cow milk under the brand of Aso.
Aso milk is a very unique speciality. I can never forget the smooth white milk and the rich aroma of that cow milk. I took a breath, gazed at the bottle for a long time and then tasted it. The moment it touched the tip of my tongue, I tasted a naturally sweet taste gently blending delicately with the especially rich flavour that can make your stomach be squeezed.
I have to recognize the freshness of Aso milk as the flavour that is worth tasting most among all types of milk in the world.
Closing the journey to Aso, I deeply love the majestic landscapes, the cool spring, the delicious fresh milk and above all, the enthusiasm of Aunt Fumie to show me how peaceful and beautiful of Aso is.
Admittedly, we need to go to a few places more than once during our wild youth. Because the return always brings a lot of interesting things. Now talking about Aso, I will not mention it briefly in just 2 words "Volcanic land", but instead 6 words "The Land of The Water Deity".
Notes: Mainly travel by private car. It is better to find the locals to take you there. I wish you a happy journey to Aso!
All the destinations mentioned above are located in Aso Volcano area in Kumamoto.
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