November 8, 2000: Looking for autumn color
As I am so busy those days, I found myself that I haven't seen any autumnal view this year.

Yesterday was the first day of winter. I drove up to the hillside of Mt. Kurodake (Black mountain) today to catch the last view of brilliant leaves.
Here I found a beautiful scene of maple leaves. It makes a good contrast with deep blue sky and clear water of the stream.
I headed to Oike pond at the foot of Mt. Kurodake in Shounai town.

We paid 100 yen each at the entrance gate for cooperation fee of cleaning the area.
A stone pillar reads "Famous fountain of Oike in the land of abundance." Clear water wells up from the bottom of the pond. The water has a slight taste of sodium carbonate.
We walked along the clear stream. The fallen leaves make a quiet sound under my shoes. The promenade is really beautiful.

There are many huge trees, some of them embraces large stones like those.
Camera lovers try to shoot their masterpieces aiming the stream.

Water sound became larger. This is a fall of Oike.

By looking up the blue sky, I found a spectacular yellow and red color of the leaves hanging over me.
We took a simple lunch hearing the sound of falling water and surrounded with autumnal colors.

Quick-made rice balls are very tasty under the brilliant scene.
Here we came up to a newly opened sightseeing ranch like this. White and black horses are here and there.
We passed Shounai town and entered Kujyu area called Senchou-Muta, meaning "no rice paddies in 1,000-acre valley." We then got on Mountain Drive. Mt. Iwou (sulfur) stands high in the distance. The volcano erupted five years ago for the first time in 250 years.
Makinoto pass, with its altitude of 1,330 meters, is already in winter. We climbed a little to reach an overlook.

We drove down to Kumamoto prefecture. The Japanese pampas grasses announce the arrival of winter here.
We visited another fountain called Ikeyama in Kumamoto prefecture. The autumnal color is so beautiful, indeed.

Many visitors are in queue to take water from the pond. The flavor of the water was very plain.
This is Higo-tai Park. As the park is at off-season, it was open to public by free. The famous flower of Higo-tai was already gone. Only deep red salvia and white chrysanthemum bloom quietly in the flower paddy releasing the last flavor just before the snow to come.
Well it's a good time to go home. We took a rest at a tearoom in Kujyu town. The tearoom Izumiya was filled with the aroma of herb.
The tearoom features its original soft ice cream of black sesame. I took a set of maroon cake and coffee. There was a piece of croissant on the dish of my husband.
We have had a good time by looking for the last autumnal color throughout Oita and Kumamoto prefectures.

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