So, I like to think that I pretty much get my love of hiking from my Dad, and now that we're living on a sub-tropical island, I'm all about it! I recently found a list on the internet stating all of the hikes (easy to difficult) to do on the island - there are 17 - and my goal is to do each one before our time here is up!
Enter: Hiji Falls - one of the mid-level difficulties on the list. A few weeks ago, we had a beautiful Saturday, nothing to do, and a yearning for some hiking and waterfalls! I'd heard a few rumors that this hike was on the "tougher side", but that really didn't scare us at all. Hiji Falls is about an hour and a half drive north of where we live, so we planned on spending the day up there.
When we got to the starting point, it was clear right away that it wasn't exactly going to be the rugged, natural hike that we had been hoping for - we paid about 400 yen each to do the hike, and it was clearly marked in the beginning that there would be no leaving the path. Not that it was too much of an option anyway, because they had the path blocked off in such a way that you really couldn't venture off even if you had wanted to. We also weren't allowed to swim in the waterfall or river at all, which was a little bit of a bummer for us as well (we had come equipped wearing our bathing suits!).
Beside the strict guidelines to be followed, we had a great hike! While I found it to be a great calf-workout, I wouldn't necessarily call it "tough". I could, however, see how it could be horrendous to attempt with kids, because the "trail" is more of a series of steep, up-and-down staircases rather than a dirt path. Unless you want to carry little Sally the whole way, I wouldn't recommend it for parents!
Yeah... watch out for those falling rocks!
The hike (round-trip) took Matt and I about 2 hours - including the time spent just standing around and looking at the falls, and even though it wasn't as rugged and "off the beaten path" as we would have preferred, it was still a great hike, beautiful waterfalls, and an experience I'm glad to have had while on island.
After our hike, we had to re-fuel, so we decided to go out in search of a restaurant I had heard of that was in the Hiji Falls area. The place is called Pizza in the Sky, and it is supposedly a little difficult to find. They weren't kidding - if it wasn't for reviewers giving their own directions online, we would NEVER have found it! The directions are something like: Take 58 to 74. Turn right at the fork in the road (by the way - this was NOT a fork!). Go under a bridge. Turn right onto the third gravel road. Pass the house that has a sign for "coffee" in the window (there were multiple houses with this sign in the window), and you will see a house on your left - that is the restaurant! Hmmmm... Anyway, what a cool place! It is basically in a large house that has a very open wrap-around porch attached to it. The restaurant almost has a very natural/hippie vibe to it. Everyone eats at low, Japanese style tables inside the house, on the porch, or at tables in the "backyard" lawn. And they don't call it Pizza in the Sky for nothing - the house is on top of a large hill (or small mountain - not sure what you would call it) and the view of the island and ocean below is amazing! We were there around sunset, and it was so gorgeous and peaceful!
We ordered the pizza of course! Side note: there is no choice of toppings at Pizza in the Sky - you get whatever the toppings are that day. Our's was sliced sausage, green peppers, onion and corn - yes, corn! It was amazingly great!
Thanks everyone for following! Miss you!