100829 Noboribetsu - YakumoRudely awoken by tourists invading our serene, isolated location, we decided to take off and find somewhere nice for breakfast.  Didn’t quite find it, and settled for a car park in Muroran with a giant view platform looking out onto the bay, the giant swan bridge … and an enormous petroleum refinery (which looks amazing at night time).

We didn’t rush back to Yakumo, stopping in Date a few times to go shopping, thinking we had all the time in the world.  My general plan for the day was to milk some cows and visit a remote shrine, high upon a cliff.


Ota JinjaOta Jinja

The shrine was recommended to me by a friend, but he didn’t know the name, only the general location and a description.  I spent a bit of time earlier in the year asking several people in town if they knew where it was, or what it was called.  I eventually got a name, 太田神社 (Ota Shrine) in Taisei/Setana.

Ota JinjaOta JinjaFinding it wasn’t too difficult.  Even though it had been described to me as a ‘shrine high up on a cliff, that you have to rock climb to’, I didn’t actually think that it would be a long/difficult hike.  Ha, how wrong we were!  While at only ~400m above sea level, it wasn’t very high/big.  What was difficult though, unlike most hikes, this path was a straight line from the sea.  No gentle twisting/winding paths to reduce the gradient.  It was scrambling with ropes all the way up/down.

Ota Jinja Ota Jinja Ota Jinja

We finally got to the end of the path, only to find a bridge that looked like it had been built using odd pieces of scaffolding.  It jutted out perpendicular to a cliff face.  Just walking along this ‘bridge’ was scary.  But, it didn’t stop there.  At the end of the scaffolding were ropes/chains to climb to a cave where the shrine was.  Risa had a look at it, and passed.  I didn’t blame her, there was nothing underneath you should something go wrong.  If you fell, you were going to fall a long way.  I had second thoughts, but after all the effort of getting this far, I wasn’t going to let fear stop me.  Famous last words.


100829_img_03451-e1283384906293The actual climbing was easy, there were several chains made of giant iron rings.  It was easy until I looked down.  Just don’t look down.

Ota JinjaInside the cave was a small/humble shrine.  I paid it respect, then freaked out again, realising that the descent was much, much worse.  You have to look down.

Obviously, I survived unscathed.  We quickly made the descent back to the car.  Our sweaty hands were getting rope burn from using the rope to descend down the pathway, though luckily the second half levelled out enough that we could descend without the ropes.

Yakumo Yakumo YakumoWe went to a dairy farm in Southwest Hokkaido, where Risa got to satisfy her life-long-dream of milking a cow by hand.  I remember doing it once while I was in primary school, and roughly remembered how to do it.  Turns out I didn’t quite remember how to do it.  Risa picked it up pretty quick, and after a little guidance, I was milking a cow too!  Although it was fun, I’m in no hurry to do it again.

YakumoYakumoYakumoWe had to hurry because we were meeting with my supervisor/successor for a (giant) BBQ dinner.  We had some steaks from some of their ex-dairy cows, as well as usual Japanese BBQ fare.  Delicious as always, and we left unable to eat anymore.  It was exactly what we wanted!  After dinner, we went back to my old apartment (and stayed with the new ALT).  It was strange to be back, though very little had changed (other than the giant TV no longer being there).





到着。目の前には、人生で一番急な100段はあるかと思われる(140段でした)ほぼ直角の階段が立ちはだかる、、、、、ロス曰くかなりキツイ登山になるかも知れないとの事。 おいチミ!それ、到着前に言えよっ!!                登りたくないなら駐車場で待っててもいいよなんて言われてもね、、、覚悟を決めて一緒に行く事に。

まずは、階段。キツイ。急すぎ&ステップが狭すぎるので、ロープがなしでは、登れない。 途中何度も休みやっと登り切る。 これからまだまだ登山がつづくのか、、、

階段の後は、人がやっと通れる細く急な先の見えない登りの連続。登り道というより、崖のぼりに近い。ロープがなければ登れないし、上からロスの引き起こした落石やら、水の上を登るやら、これは相当なs登山、、、ひぇ〜    この山のS加減にやけがさし、何度も下山を考えるも悔しいので、ひたすら岩と崖登りに立ち向かう。 そしてついにやったー鳥居だ!と思いきや、、なにやらまだ先がある。 どどーん。 崖に錆び付いた橋。景色は、本当に素晴らしいけど、これを渡れと、、なんと最後の最後までドSな山なんだ!!   しかし太田山のドS伝説はこれだけでは、終わらなかった。




ロス氏、あなたってドM人間ですね。 詳しくは、ロス氏の写真とyoutubeにて。

下山も大変だったー!ロープをつたわなきゃ降りれないので、終止後ろ向きでロープを掴みながら、ゆっくりと。 これも中々大変だった、、、


さあ、ツライ登山の後、今日の一番のイベントは、道南のとある場所での搾乳体験!!(口蹄疫の関係で場所はヒミツよ。)            未だに晩ご飯の時にも牛乳を飲むほど、牛乳ラブっ子の私は、小さい頃から一度やってみたかったので、いよいよ夢が叶う!!!!!!!

靴の上にビニール袋の靴カバーをはいて、見本を見せてもらう。 実際にやってみるとあんなに簡単に出ていたのに私がやると出たり、でなかったり、、  なかなか難しい!! 二回目はコツを掴みけっこうスムーズにできました☆

牛の乳首は、ゴム製の様に堅く、温かかかった。体温は、38度位もあるんだってー。                             コップに直接しぼった牛乳を飲んでみると、なま温かく、あまーい☆ ほんのり砂糖を入れたホットミルクのようでした。 しぼった勢いで上の方がカフェラテのフォームのようにふわふわの泡になっていてその舌触りも絶妙。


そしてその後は、まぼろしの牛乳豆腐!をごちそうになりました。 牛乳豆腐は、出産してすぐの牛のお乳のみからしか作れない上、牛乳を大鍋で煮立て、水分を蒸発させ固めるので、ほんの少ししか作れないとっても貴重なものです。 気になるお味はというと、もめん豆腐の食感に牛乳の濃厚な味がするなんとも不思議な味と食感。 好き嫌いは、あると思うけど、乳製品大好きの私には、最高でした☆