Drive to Parc Espana

The next destination was Parc Espana which was a fair drive away. We were saying goodbye to Osaka and following the south coast of the island towards the Mie prefecture midway between Osaka and Tokyo. Along the way we stopped at a service station, which was a little bit odd to say the least.

It was Ninja themed! Now when I was growing up I was madly into Ninjas so much in fact when asked by my teacher what I wanted to be when I was older I said that. Whilst that dream never materialise (I'd have been seen a mile off for a start) the interest has always been there. Because they're long gone now, I hadn't expected to see any on the trip, so it was cool that I did, even if they weren't real.

We really were out in the middle of nowhere here. After years of decline with their agricultural revenues, Japan is avidly promoting agricultural exports as a way to turn the tables. While still a major food importer, the country has set a new, ambitious goal to double exports of agricultural and marine products amid growing concerns about food security.

Another one of those weird looking modded vans, similar to the ones seen in Disney's car park. I couldn't decide if they looked cool or not but i don't think it's anything that "Pimp My Ride" would ever do to the vans if they were brought in for a refurb.

They would however have to make significant modifications to the suspension on most vehicles if they were to carry a wooden ornament like this. Usually at service stations you would expect to be able to pick up refreshments and something for the kids to read to make a journey more pleasant. No way would you ever think of wanting to pick up a magnificent wooden carving as on offer here. I say "pick up" but I don't think there'd be any way that I could lift it.

A couple more shots taken out of the coach window as we made our way to the park. Mountainous Japan is blessed with many rivers and most of them flow very fast, their waters reaching the ocean not long after leaving mountain valleys and basins The many rivers descending from mountainous areas have done much to mold Japan's topography, creating large and small valleys and basins and producing fan-shaped deltas near the points where they flow into the sea.

Along the way we passed this stunning looking castle. I've not been able to find anything else on it since I've been back. I can only assume that its one of Japan's less known treasures, or I'm just looking in the wrong place completely. Regardless of my incompetence it does look impressive perched atop the mountain. Whereas temples are architecturally subdued, castles in Japan are much more elaborate structures, this one even more so with it's gold roof.

There in the distance is the resort with the lift hill of their coaster Pyrenees, and the Flying Island observation platform standing over the rest of the attractions in the park.

We'd be staying in the hotel complex on the left, granting us back door entry into the park. This park also had a Japanese bath so, as that was one of my things to do, I would be doing it here! But first, the park!


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