Iya Valley scenery and overall beauty – the vine bridge of dooooom

Iya Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #61: You never think a vine bridge is scary until you walk on one and shit a brick.
The early morning train and ferry ride from Tokyo to Iya Valley was not particularly invigorating. I was tired, and carrying around this 50 lb suitcase was not exactly my favorite pastime. I shuffled my feet and dreaded every next staircase – completely ignoring the world around me.
The ferry boat was large enough to contain its own arcade and pachinko area. Sleeping arrangements consisted of a strip of carpet with a row of pillows lined like an overcrowded prison. It probably would have had a larger impact on me if I were conscious enough to care. Minutes or hours could have passed; I lose track of time in my dream world and nothing can disturb my peace.

When we got off the ferry, we still had to take a 30-minute JR train ride and another 40-minute bus ride from the train station to get to the ryokan (Japanese living arrangements). The public transportation buses ran every 2 hours and there was absolutely nothing but winding roads circling the large mountains. These roads were so narrow that some of the paths only allowed a one-way flow and required the bus driver to reverse in the middle of turns because someone else went further on the other side. It was quite scary when a wrong adjustment of gas could leave us at the bottom of a mountain and drowning in the creek below.
Unfortunately, this place is beginning to become much more of a tourist attraction. A large concrete parking lot structure devours the side of the mountain and interrupts the flowing river.
Despite the smashing force of colonization, the audience of trees around the mountains made me feel like the center of attention and yet the speck of dust in the universe at the same time. Did you even have to ask me that question? The answer is, “Yes, I took pictures.”
The ryokan was my first real ryokan-experience and I came to love that smell of tatami mats. The strong straw odor really gives the room a natural ambiance. The doors were a little short (only 6 ft tall and 2 ft wide), but there was plenty of space to stay comfortable. RJ must have smashed his head 10 times because of the low pass. Because we had already spent most of the day traveling from Tokyo to Iya Valley, we only had a few hours to explore the area before having the first prepaid dinner.
Most of the tour walked to the waterfall and vine bridge down the road from the hotel.
A quick glance at the vine bridge from the concrete bridge showed an absolutely breath-taking sight. The armies of green clashed but did not dare to cross the vantage point and instigate war. The water slowly eroded the conflict, but struggles everyday to keep the peace.
I paid the 500 yen to cross the vine bridge, but I didn’t expect the task ahead of me. The gaps between each wooden plank is about 7 inches so you could technically fall down and really injure your thighs and knees. Unless you’re a baby, you won’t fall to your death, but the idea of severe pain already made my legs jello. I confidently held onto the railing, but quickly noticed the large number of spiders inhabiting the gaps between the woods in the entire bridge. It was an attack of all my phobias. I didn’t freeze, but I wasn’t exactly skipping across neither. Every step was perfectly calculated and my mind reassured itself that I was invincible (if you don’t believe in physics, it doesn’t exist – FACT). I was scared to the point where my skeleton metaphorically jumped out of my body and left my skin and muscles limp, but still I enjoyed every moment of it.
~See Lemons Shyt a Bryck

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photo by: skitzcw