Time Required: 2 h Distance: 6.5 km
This walking course takes you through a century-old natural forest of red pine near the start of the Nasu Kaido Road. Head towards the mountains of Nasu. Begin from Takaku Atagosan Park and walk along the Nasu Kaido Road with the pine forest on your left. Once you enter Ichimanpo-no-mori Forest, enjoy the woodland air filled with beneficial phytoncides*. Continuing on, you will find three observatories where you can look over the former Kuroiso City, Nakagawa River, and Nasuno. Depending on the season, you may also see delightful flowers such as hydrangeas and the gold-banded lily (Lilium auratum). Once you exit the forest, follow Route 303 to the south to see the Bansui Bridge, a beautiful arch bridge over the Nakagawa River.
* Phytoncides are airborne antimicrobial compounds released by trees said to have beneficial health effects.
Ichimanpo-no-mori Forest (Nasu Kaido Red Pine Forest) is a 79 hectare national forest that flanks the Nasu Kaido Road. It is mainly comprised of about 14,000 Japanese red pine trees, some of which are over a century old. It is the habitat of the Northern Goshawk, a type of raptor, and considered one of the most precious natural red pine forests in Japan.
From June to July, 1,200 hydrangeas in full bloom along the Nasu Kaido Road delight the eyes of visitors. The Japanese characters of their name, ajisai (“purple sun flowers”) is a very telling description of the color of the hydrangea blooms. They are also known as shichihenge (“many variations”) and hassenka (“flower of the eight Taoist immortals”). * Traffic can be heavy on the roadway along the Nasu Kaido Road. Please be careful as you walk.
The Bansui Bridge is a balanced arch bridge that was constructed between 1931 and 1932. It is 128.6 meters long, has an effective width of 9 meters with three spans, and is 23 meters above the water. In 2002, the bridge was awarded the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE) Civil Engineering History and Heritage Award from the Japanese Modern Civil Engineering Heritage Structures, acknowledging it as a structure to be preserved into the future.