01-May-2003 -- Alex and I were now on our way traveling south through the Tohoku prefecture of Honshu. We had seen the cherry-blossoms at Hirosaki castle, although many blossoms had fallen from the rain on the night of the 29th. Now the morning of May 1st, after walking to the outskirts of the city of Hirosaki, we managed to hitch a ride.
The driver, a young guy named Yoshio who sold medical equipment for a living, took us south on the expressway. It turns out that the point is actually off the slower National Road 282. So it was kind of him to exit the expressway and take us about 15 minutes down this road.
We came around a bend and then, suddenly, there it was, the monument I knew well from Roger Tinius' posting of his previous attempt to the point. The driver let us out and continued on.
As it says in the previous attempt's write-up, the actual point is about 500 meters to the SE of this monument, because the Tokyo datum differs from the WGS84 datum that is used internationally. Does this mean that all actual confluence points in Japan are 500 meters to the SE of their registration on Japanese maps? Perhaps.
The monument is really a pretty bizarre thing to have on the side of a road, but as a confluence-hunter, I appreciate the interest in latitude and longitude crossings! According to its plaque, it was constructed in 1990, maybe before the nearby expressway was constructed. No passersby seemed to notice or have any interest in the monument, and the extra pavement area appeared to serve best as a resting place for truck drivers.
So we headed off to find this 'actual point'. We followed a little road that seemed to go in the right direction but soon we had to leave it and go bushwhacking. All over were these broad-leaved, low-lying bushes which Alex said underlies many ski runs in Hokkaido. They were quite a pain to walk through. I thought Alex might soon get annoyed on his first land confluence, but he was a good sport. So we went tromping around small hills, woods and a heavy thicket of these small bushes, and about twenty minutes later found the point.
Well known by many confluencers as the usual irony in finding these points, the inevitably difficult scramble to the point was made to seem futile by the finding of a short, easy trail to take us back. We followed it for about 100 meters to the national road at a location about 500 meters south of the monument. We hitched another ride to take us on to Morioka to continue our travels.