Monday, July 14, 2008


Here I am at my favorite spot in the world--standing in from of Lake Toya. Mt. Yotei did manage to appear in the far background, but it never showed well in the pictures we took. In front of me is Mt. Usu, a very active volcano. Between the volcano and myself is part of the town that was destroyed in the 2000 eruption of Mt. Usu. I had never actually visited this part of the melted village before. Pictures of the volcano damage are above. You can walk around and see the buildings, but they and the other side of the path are roped off with large signs that say "Abunai," which is "Danger, Watch Out!" in Japanese.
My husband insisted that he saw people walking on what he thought was a path on the far side of the buildings at the base of the volcano. I said, "How can they with all these Abunai signs around?" Anyway we did notice that the path ended on one of the old bridges. From that point on, there were no signs or ropes--just a construction access road for building and maintaining the retaining walls for the volcano, which you can see in the background of the top picture. I still wasn't sure that we should be walking on this access road, but hey, there were no signs, so we started walking. The access road took a steep uphill climb on the volcano itself. We started walking it. I was pretty sure that we were not supposed to be on this! Turning around, we saw the little Japanese man, who was in his 60's and worked at the visitor's booth at the entrance to the melted village come running after us, wearing his orange jacket and frantically waving his hands. Yep, we DEFINITELY were not supposed to be here. The path that my husband thought he saw was indeed a road at one time--the road that had been destroyed in the eruption. It was off limits. And there's no way he saw people walking on it!
I told him that when we got to the gatekeeper, we would need to bow low and say "Gomenasai." (I'm sorry.) And try not to laugh.
There are a couple of parts of the volcano that you really can hike. You can see one of those in a picture of us below.


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