Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Valley of lost wasabi farms – softypapa

00 Valley of lost wasabi farms hike begins - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

For today’s adventure I’ll try to locate and traverse an abandoned feudal-era mountain trail. I learned about the trail’s existence from an old farmer when I asked him how people got over the mountain before cars and roads came into the valley (these villages are very old). He pointed at a roadless valley which led into the mists and said “there.” I knew I’d come back to explore the area when he next said “But, nobody goes there anymore.” Someone’s going there today! Have a splendid day, everyone!! 🙂

01 A lost structure hidden in the woods - Valley of lost wasabi farms hikeCan you spot the abandoned structure hidden in the woods in this photo?

02 Jizo in a pipe - Valley of lost wasabi farms hikeThe trail head is watched over by this Jizo statue with a curious home.

03 Structure in an abandoned tea farm - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

Early on in the hike I spotted this abandoned structure on the edge of an abandoned green tea farm. The overgrowth was simply too dense to get through without going on all fours. The bits of green in the middle distance is delicious, very high quality Shizuoka green tea which nobody will ever drink. 😦

04 Japanese wasabi farm waterfall - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

The lower valley was chock full of abandoned wasabi terraces just brimming over with fresh, healthy wasabi radishes (see photo). The experience has me in the mood for some fresh sashimi with lots of wasabi and beer which I picked up on the way home. I also stopped at the cake store for a dessert surprise for my gals. I hope everyone is having a fun weekend. It was a good winter holiday and I’m ready to get back to work in the morning. 🙂

05 Feral Japanese wasabi - Valley of lost wasabi farms hikeAren’t these wasabi plants beautiful!! I found them growing wild along the stream outside the abandoned wasabi terraces. They had escaped!! BTW these are totally edible, utterly delicious and would command a high price at market. It’s simply my policy to never touch (though I’m not above taking a little biting sample from time to time. SPICY!! 🙂

06 Abandoned wasabi terrace  - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

Does this look like the woods? Nope, it’s what an abandoned wasabi terrace looks like some years after being forgotten.

07 Religious object built of stone - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

Here’s my favorite! I found this overlooking a beautiful group of hand-formed (by huge heavy stones) wasabi terraces. I’m pretty sure it’s an improvised religious Shinto kamidana altar which the farmer erected in order to allow the local deity to watch over his farm. My heart was moved when I saw this and thought of how the farmer, his farm and possibly several generations of hard work to create these terraces were now at an end. Nobody will come here anymore and few will likely ever know of the amazing engineering in stone which a humble family of Japanese farmers did make from the wilderness.

08 Stone bridge - Valley of lost wasabi farms hikeLovely stone bridge.

10 This was once a footbridge - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

These withered sticks once formed a footbridge in the days before this valley was abandoned.

11 Japanese Tanuki skull - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

I “think” this skull once belonged to a Tanuki “Racoon Dog” though I’m really not sure.

12 I lost a glove somewhere in here - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

After the trail petered out I had to push through some rough patches. I lost a glove somewhere in this bamboo thicket.

13 The trail ends - Valley of lost wasabi farms hike

Last hike photo… Here’s what I had to hike through after the trail came to an end. Beyond the point the canyon narrowed and I was sure to encounter impassable waterfalls. This fact, plus the fading light caused me to turn back. I hope to get back again to find a way around the falls and on to the mountains peaks beyond.

Sashimi dinner!!

Seeing all those wasabi plants today got me in the mood for a sashimi feast! ぃただきます!!

The Path of WildnessThe Path of Wildness is easy to find
The course of a stream
Leaves blown in the wind
A beast’s track through the brush
And the direction of our first inclination

The Path of Wildness is an answer and response to a prescribed way of life which may leave some individuals with a sense that their living is little more than a series of pre-determined, step-like episodes between birth and death. The stages of living between these events: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood and senior are themselves natural and in accord with the needs of the species and most individuals. Many find their satisfaction in living this course and to these individuals I have little or nothing to say. Others though long for something more; something innate, genetic and seemingly calling. Adventure and change can give a degree of satisfaction and relief yet even these may seem too tame. To those who feel drawn to something beyond the entertainment and stimulation of senses I offer a walk along The Path of Wildness. Don’t bother penciling the event in your schedule, preparing a pack with goodies and supplies or even inviting a friend along, for this experience is along the course of your first inclination and you must surely always go alone.

The Path of Wildness Resources

softypapaWelcome to the softypapa channel. My name is Kurt Bell and I am delighted that you have chosen to walk awhile with me. I’m available on Facebook and Google+ if you have questions or just want to chat and say hi. I can also be found at the JVLOG forum with other Japan-related content creators. All links are listed below. I look forward to meeting you on-line. Have a great day!

Follow me on Twitter:

Be my friend on Facebook:

On Google+

At the JVLOG forum (my username there is “LylesBrother”):

You can also reach me via email at the following address: softypapa@gmail.com



“Japanese Falls” image included in this video is by the artist Lane Brown. See more of Mr. Brown’s work at the following URL:

Channel Theme Music “Song For Kurt” used with permission by Nowherians. Discover more about the artist and their music at the URL below. Be sure to check out their “Rome Pays Off” recordings.

Channel homepage image “Leaf” by photographer Moyan Brenn.
See more of Mr. Brenn’s photos on Flickr at the link below.

Walking in Japan softypapa torii image

One comment on “Valley of lost wasabi farms – softypapa

  1. 60frederick
    January 6, 2013

    Very beautiful photos!

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