With just an hour to rush for the last bus off the peak, WJ and I hurried under the glaring sun. We lifted our aching legs up the stony steps, the last bit of the trail after walking through the grasslands and through the forest.
FINALLY. We ran to the bus with just 3 minutes to spare. Sweating profusely with our legs screaming in protest, we were safe at last!
It sounds as if we’ve been through an arduous journey in Oze National Park, but don’t be put off! It was mostly a mild walk, other than the mad rush at the end when we realised that we had walked the wrong way.
WJ and I had been happily skipping on the boardwalks admiring the scenery. Since we went in mid july just before the day lilies bloomed, every yellow flower was like a happy surprise. We were drinking our last bottle of water when we reached the end of the trail. The wrong end.
Confused, we asked one of the innkeepers there for the way back to our bus. And that was when we realised we had to walk 9.3km back. Yes, 9.3km. In less than two hours.
And I guess we were unlucky that day, ‘cos the train service back into the city was stopped by a fallen tree. Thank goodness they provided buses so we didn’t have to pay an insane amount for a taxi back.
But hey, let’s not get distracted and focus on the good stuff, right? PICTURE TIME!
If you’re thinking of going to Oze National Park (which I highly recommend), remember to get a map. Connection is not the best there so don’t count on using Google maps. You don’t want to suffer the same fate as us!
Now, how to get there? If you don’t have deep pockets (like us) and some time to spare, take the train to Numata station if you’re staying in Gunma. Then, go to the information centre for the correct bus to take to Tokura (there are a few there, so don’t get confused!). The buses leave every hour plus or so, so it’s best to ask the tourist centre nearest to you for the bus schedule. It’s 2,250 yen (~S$27.80).
The journey from Numata to Tokura takes about 80 minutes, and… No, it’s not over yet. There’s one more bus to take! Get up the shuttle bus to Hatomachitoge Pass, which takes about 20 minutes at 930 yen (~S$11.50). And you’re finally there! After all the waiting in between buses, WJ and I took almost 3 hours from Numata to reach Oze National Park. So be patient, and take a nap or two!