What do you do when the temperatures reach high enough levels that even the Pits of Hell seem like a nice way to cool off? Well, if you’ve ever experienced a Japanese summer (especially in Nagoya), then you know this feeling all too well. But what do you do when you just wanna get out of the city and experience something truly Japanese and cool down at the same time?
Easy! Jump in your car, your friend’s car, or hitchhike to Amidagataki in Gifu, Japan. This hidden Oasis near Gujo Hachiman is the perfect, quick summer getaway if you live in, or near the Gifu area of Japan. A short drive from Nagoya, this small, remote summer destination offers pristine green forests, a plethora of hiking trails, a huge waterfall, and one of the true delights of relaxing summer days in Japan – Nagashi Somen. Roughly translated as “flowing somen”, these thin, white, wheat flower noodles are usually served cold, and are dipped in soy sauce before eating. They are a perfect dish for the sweltering summer months.
Yes, you can get Somen all year round in Japan, but what makes Nagashi Somen so special, is that it is served flowing down a bamboo shoot, or in a stone basin with tracks carved out for the water and noodles to flow freely around the “table”. You gotta be pretty quick and exhibit ninja-like precision with your chopsticks to catch the noodles flowing freely in the water. It’s hard to describe in words, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
After grabbing a few noodles, you then dip them in the bowl of soy sauce and eat them, not forgetting to slurp noisily while you’re eating. Slurping is a custom in Japan and denotes enjoyment of the food. All of this can then be washed down with a delicious frothy beer – ahhh the spoils of summer! 😀 Another good complimentary dish to the noodles is baked fish, which is cooked right in front of you over an open fire pit.
After the meal (all you can eat noodles, btw, so plan accordingly), you can take a nice, leisurely stroll through the woods via a small path right behind the “restaurant”. Following the meandering path, you hear a distant noise that gets louder and louder the further you make your way through the woods.
Eventually, you come upon a clearing and start to realise the cause of this howling sound…. It’s a huge waterfall, crashing down into a small pond right in front of you. Massive doesn’t even begin to describe the size of this waterfall. It’s positively huge.
If you’re feeling adventurous (and don’t mind getting splashed with water), you can make your way to the waterfall itself until you come to a little stone bridge right in front of it. It’s truly a sight to behold, being under that waterfall, standing on a tiny little stone bridge, mere meters from the point at which the crashing water culminates with the basin below.
So, nature, hiking, food, and amazing picture opportunities can all be found in Amidagataki while cooling down from the sweltering summer temperatures in Japan. If you’re in or near Gifu, this is a place that should definitely not be missed.
Have a great rest of the summer! 😀