Note: this post was re-posted from my old website, initially published in October 2017.
As a self-proclaimed avid explorer of Sendai, I am keen to go to places not widely known. One day my usual exploring buddies showed a hand-drawn map of Sakunami, an area not far from Sendai, and pointed to an intriguing place on the map called ‘Futatsu-iwa’. It looked like a rock split into two in the middle of a river.
Driven by our curiosity, we held a trip to Sakunami via the Senzan Line train. After alighting at Sakunami Station, we decided to walk towards the direction of Sakunami Onsen (or ‘Sakunami Spa’ as the official map calls it) to Yugami Shrine as it seems to be the starting point for exploration. It was already quite chilly even though technically, it was still summertime.
As we reached the shrine, we found a plaque for Yumi Katsura lover’s sanctuary. After wasting a bit of our time looking around for that bloody path to the rock, we realized that basing our direction on a hand-drawn map seemed not the brightest idea. Not wanting to make more second guesses, we whipped out our smartphones and began using Google Maps (stubborn, I know, but I do like spontaneous trips without checking directions constantly).
At last, we found a clue. The path lies behind the shrine itself, as the river we were supposed to find is located north of the shrine.
Going through the path felt like a normal nature trekking around Sendai, such as the one in Taihaku. The sound of the water flowing, the sound of the insects, the sound of the wind blowing between the leaves. Great atmosphere. But then, the just-started exploration had to come to an abrupt end.
You see, following the trail along the river has brought us to a huge moldy boulder in the middle of the stream. As we checked the boulder, we found out that it was two crags jutting out from the ground as if one gigantic rock had split into two. And it hit us. The supposedly intriguing ‘futatsu-iwa’ is none other than the rocks we found halfway.
Pretty disappointing as we expected to find the target location further inside the woods, not a mere few hundred meters from the entry point! But then, we didn’t want to stop just there yet. We pressed on to see where the path would end and discovered many small streams created by the river, perfect for long exposure shots.
So we set our cameras to capture the scenery; the rest is history. In the end, as you can see from the photos here, we spent more time admiring the river itself (and taking pictures) than actually walking around. It was great, though, because nothing beats being surrounded by nature.
That being said, if you ever visit Sakunami, don’t forget to try the onsen here. I have been to Hotel Ichinobou twice. Their onsen is great, and they have free ice cream, which is great to eat after soaking in the hot springs.