07-Oct-2001 -- After logging the first confluence in Japan, I thought I would try for the other two on the island of Kyushu. This is an account of the second of my goals.
This w as another all-GPS confluence, and I took my wife and daughter along for the ride. I loaded the town of Magata (in Miyazaki Prefecture) in my car's navigation system (called 'nabi' in Japanese), and started off down the highway (Japan does not have freeways). When we got into Magata, I turned on the handheld GPS and was originally pleased to see that the point should be close to town. As we got closer to the confluence, we quickly ran out of town...
I drove around a bit trying to find a close point to start hiking. I got within about 300 meters at one point and parked the car. My daughter wanted to come along, but she decided to wait in the car after a few meters. The road I was walking on seemed wide enough for our Honda Odyssey, so I headed back and started the drive a bit closer. The road narrowed a bit as we went down, but we got closer and I could see my family most of the time I was walking. The road turned out to head into fairly large rice paddies. I had to weave back and forth to get down to the confluence point. Then I hit a huge wall of bamboo (picture #2). I got to within 91 meters from there (picture #3), but I wanted to try to get closer. On the walk back, I noticed that the lower area had been harvested and the rice stalks were hanging for drying (picure #4). You can also just see the rice on the upper terraces growing in the beautiful weather of that day. I should say that I saw a couple of farmers out working in their fields, and there were no problems. I was very careful to stay on the roads or walk between the actual paddies.
I walked around the other side of the river (which turned out to be where the confluence is), and walked up through a farmer's dirt road and got closer. However, I was blocked by another wall--thi s time of trees (picture #5) and a newly-plowed field (picture #6). This field was not for rice--maybe cabbage or another winter crop. I did get within 56 meters from this side, but you really cannot get an idea of what the confluence looks from this side or the previous one. Picture #1 shows what the confluence looks like. I guess that it's right about in the middle of picture #1.
Before heading home, we stopped off at a great onsen, and took a nice long dip in an outside bath. A great day!