Kids love playing with water in the heart of Mother Nature
Second to none with the cleanest of waters in Japan, Hokuto City lies at the foot of South Alps.
Here, there’s a great site for water play in the middle of natural stream: Ojiragawa Entei or Dam.
A natural stream it really is, and the area is well guarded against possible hazards, not to mention accidents in river depths or afloat rapids.
Mt. Kai Komagatake sends generous amounts of water down the stream to create an ideal reservoir of pool of water for swimming,
gliding down a 10-meter-long water slider, and enjoying all other modes of water play throughout the day.
It really is an ideal spot for your kids to spend most enjoyable hours amid Nature.
Why Ojiragawa Entei?
Ojirawaga Entei is situated in Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture, as part of Ojira-no-Mori Meisui Park* Verga.
(*Meisui=water famed for outstanding quality)
The area is one of the best-known sites for excellent spring waters,
so excellent that Japan’s reputed whiskey producers, Suntory, has the brewery of its top brand “Hakushu” (白州) here.
Ojira-no-Mori Meisui Park Verga in Hakushu Area, south of Hokuto City, is 200 thousand square meters, with a huge park,
hotel accommodations, camping areas, and spa facilities.
A dog-run area is there; so are springs for drinking water, an athletic zone and, of course, abundant natural blessings.
I brought my family to Ojira-no-Mori Meisui Park Verga and one whole day of immemorable fun, hot springs and all.
How to Access Ojiragawa Entei (Dam)
To get to Verga, you are to drive by all means.
You can go there by public transport, but you’ll then have to switch to either bus or taxi at JR Obuchizawa station or JR Nagasaka station, whichever you take.
Super Expresses do not stop at JR Nagasaka, meaning you would have to bother transferring to regular trains at Nirayama or thereabouts.
Hence, you ought to drive your way via Chuo Expressway to Sudama IC, wherefrom 20-minute drive to Verga.
But then, watch out if you happen to plan a visit to Verga in summer or during tourist seasons, Golden
Traffic jam is likely to offend you before noon along the road leading to Verga.
You might have to queue up for parking.
So, do plan well ahead of time.
A few precautions re. Parking:
Verga has parking lots not only for the park but the camping area and spa facilities as well.
Do be careful which one to park at. (The parking lot for camping areas is limited only the campers.)
Parking is generally free of change but a fee of ¥200 is charged during the summer recess rseason and during the Golden Week.
Park your car, walk within the park and head for Ojiragawa Entei.
It takes five minutes or so.
Stroll through the woods to feel deliciously cool amid summertime.
Be sure to bring your essentials as it is some distance away from the parking lot.
You might do well bringing extra cloths as water is rather cool.
In summertime, particularly, you had better bring towels and drinks to ease your thirst.
At the top is the indicator showing the direction of Entei, the dam.
Right underneath, camping area and Visitors’ Center, in that order.
You are to follow the indicators through the woods - the sounds of a stream heard soon enough.
Down the stairways is the play area now jammed up, as you see, by a troop of kids.
Further to our earlier mention on access a while back, you will do well by bringing along with you some rug to sit/lie on in the shade,
particularly in summer when it is so congested that you might have hard time finding spots to rest.
Be sure to get there early enough.
Let’s have the best of your times amid Nature
Ojiragawa Entei is a miniature dam built in the course of River Ojiragawa rising in Mt. Kai Komagatake.
Underneath a waterfall, 6 to 7 meters high, is a small pool.
The river is about 20 meters wide and some 1 meter deep at the deepest spot, and small kids can be safely left to play freely at will.
Water is so clean that you can bury your face in it.
But then, mark you – it’s awfully cold!
Our kids screamed the moment they walked in it; a while after, they came out with their teeth shuttering.
Look at this! It’s so divinely transparent.
Super attractive for kids is a tunnel under the dam and a 10-meter-long water slider beside.
The tunnel is on the right side, facing the waterfall, dug in a U-shape.
You are to walk in through the entrance, turn U-shape inside and come out right underneath the waterfall.
The entrance looks like this.
Small kids might feel scary but older ones would find it fun stepping into it and come out jumping.
Of all attractions the best is the water slider. Kids are queueing up there at all times.
It’s a slide made of stone, about 1 meter-long, built near the entrance to Entei.
The difference of elevation is perhaps 3 meters and steep enough to generate quite a speed.
The landing area is somewhat deep; you are to land face down – kind of scary for the first time, but most kids line up for the excitement.
We watch our kids having physical experiences, learn lots of things and grow.
It’s quite an opportunity for them.
Not only the kids, we grownups, too, can have just as much fun.
So, be sure to bring your own swimming wears and sandals.
In summer, a hat will come handy to shelter sunlight.
Downstream may be easier to play in, catching crabs and fish, etc.
Rivers could be otherwise dangerous to play in but not right here where accidents are most unlikely.
But then, it pays to be cautious, as you can always slip and fall anywhere.
So, be careful just the same.
The sun gone behind the clouds, the area can be suddenly chilly – that’s another point you ought to remind yourself of.
Playing in water deep in the greens is unmistakably the most memorable of memories for kids.