Hyogo’s Norwegian Wood
Tonomine Highlands is a 90-hectares natural site spreading between 800 and 900 meters altitude, in Kamikawa, Hyogo prefecture in Japan. The prairie covered in susuki Japanese pampa grass offers a beautiful walk especially in autumn.
The Japanese countryside has very beautiful grasslands, stirred by the wind, creating original landscapes. That is what can be said of Tonomine Highlands, renowned among photographers and Japanese people looking for soothing beauty.
The prairie hosts the famous susuki, also called "Chinese silver grass", or in their Latin name Miscanthus sinensis. A classical fall landscape, the grass fields change color according to the seasons. Green in summer, the Miscanthus turns into a golden hue during its blooming in September / November, and ends its annual cycle in a red then red-brown tone with the advent of winter. Beyond its ornamental aspect, the grass is used to make the traditional thatched-roofs of the old merchant houses and minka farms.
The cultural touch of the place lies in its current name: the "Norwegian wood". As a matter of fact, the snow-capped place was used in 2008 as a setting for the movie adapted from Haruki Murakami’s novel: Norway no mori (Norwegian Wood). Published in 1987 in Japan, this story about a youth love relationship was released in 2010 directed by Tran Anh Hung. Therefore fans come to Tonomine to find the story’s intense and romantic ambiance, each of the places that appeared into a scene being marked by a sign.
Walk into a famous movie susuki field
This excursion in the heart of the Japanese countryside offers a well-deserved break on a touristic itinerary that can be exhausting. While Tonomine Kogen is pleasant in all season, it is steeped in a dense fog in winter, and Japanese summer heat is soothed by the coolness of the mountains and the river flowing on the land. The path treads on narrow wooden walk-boards on stilts. Visitors particularly love viewing the sunset from the observation platform. Moreover, gourmets can enjoy themselves at a soba noodles restaurants.
Each spring 🌸 between the end of March and early April, the mountain is set ablaze. This yearly fire 🔥 helps revive the plants and prevents the proliferation of the unwanted ones. A performance of traditional music to the taiko drums rhythm is showed during the event. Two other events take place in September and October to celebrate autumn 🍁.
The downside is that Tonomine Highlands doesn’t have an easy access by public transportation from large cities. Driving a car 🚙 is the most convenient way to visit it.