When I heard that Paul and John were planning another trip to Japan I was excited to link up with them. Due to schedule conflicts and last minute change in plans it looked liked I might miss them again. Then I got a Line message from Go Ishii asking if I could take Paul and John on a private tour on May 31st since he had some stuff to take care of in town. I was happy to oblige and so we made plans to meet in the Numata area where I would take Paul and John on a Tenkara adventure.
I got on the road early to beat the traffic going through Tokyo and consequently I arrived in Numata several hours before the scheduled meeting time. I tried to sleep in my car but I was too excited (and a little nervous too) for the days adventures. Thanks to Go’s race car driving ways Paul and John arrived early though, and after a brief discussion in the parking lot of Lawsons Paul and John piled in my van and Go headed back home to Tokyo.
On the drive to the “trailhead” the three of us chatted about all manner of topics mostly pertaining to Tenkara; we laughed, joked, and discussed plans for the day. The one hour drive passed quickly and before we knew it we were parked at the trailhead donning our wet wading gear. It was a warm day and after a 30 minute walk in the woods it was refreshing to plunge into the snow melt fed stream. John and Paul fished for a while and I watched – I live in Japan so I was happy to let them take point. The scenery was spectacular and I kept myself busy snapping photos and shooting some video.
After six hours or so of fishing we packed up our rods and hiked upstream to the waterfall. It was starting to get late and we hadn’t covered as much ground as we had planned because the fishing had been too good (it’s a rough problem to have). When we arrived at the waterfall Paul and John setup their cameras to shoot some videos. As we were preparing for a final group photo I noticed that the water had suddenly become quite murky. Fearing an impending flood and realizing we were on the wrong side of the river, we quickly packed up. In the minute or two it took to put the cameras away the water had turned to the color of chocolate milk and had risen about 30 cm (one foot)! We plunged into the river, which was now above our waists. Thankfully we were able to safely make it to the other side. However, the only way back to the car was to climb up a 30 meter cliff. We took our time climbing occasionally looking down at the flooding river and in short order we were standing at the top looking at the flooding river far below.
The flood was strange as we saw no debris floating downstream at the onset and it did not appear to be raining upstream. It was a warm day so it must have just been snow flash melting really late in the day. Whatever the cause it was exciting and a good reminder to respect the mountains.
That night we dined on some fabulous soba and delicious tempura at the famous そば源 restaurant. If you find yourself in Numata I highly recommend this place. Come hungry, their menu is quite substantial. After a long drive I got John and Paul to their hotel in Kawaguchi around midnight. After helping them with their luggage I bought a coffee from a vending machine and drove home arriving a little after 1am, just in time to feed my son his midnight bottle.
Click ↓ to continue reading about my adventures on the Ogawa river!