Momiji Festival of Sogi Park, Gifu
Sogi Park is a wide park situated in the Toki city of the Gifu prefecture. During the autumn season, maple trees, Ginkos etc. fills this park area with reddish, orange and yellowish colours.
The most important peculiarity of this park is the illuminations of these colourful autumn foliage and the reflections made by them in the water bodies inside this park. There are many small and big ponds in this park area on the banks of which the trees are grown in large numbers. As the colourful trees get illuminated by the lightings, and they got reflected by the water underneath, the upside down view of the trees in the clear water is really fantastic. The pond water reflects the Momiji colours just like a clear mirror.
There are a lot of people visiting this park and the surroundings during the months of October and November. There is a cheap entry pass worth 200 yen to enter the park area. There will be a lot of stalls, mainly food and beverage stores, opened during the Momiji festival.
They sell Japanese traditional food items prepared by the local people. People used to enjoy the food and drink in the park viewing the beautiful illuminations. During November, when the winter is about to arrive sooner, the cold breeze could be overcome by a hot soup from these stalls. There will be a camp fire set at one side of the park for the visitors to sit around and enjoy their food in this cold breeze. As Toki is the region famous for its ceramics, there will be some small stalls with locally made ceramic items displayed inside it. The shallow water in the ponds in the darkness make a nice clear reflection of the trees at its banks and thereby providing a majestic view. This place is the common area for the people around the Toki and Tajimi reigons to enjoy the autumn colours.
When I visited the park during the last autumn season, there were some small programs being conducted by persons at the foot of the lightened up autumn trees. A girl dressed up in the traditional Japanese style was standing near a pond underneath a Momiji tree. She was wearing Kimono and holding a Japanese style umbrella (Wagasa) and the visitors were rushing to take photos with her. There were some leaf beds created with the autumn leaves like the red and orange maple leaves, the golden yellowish Ginko leaves, some dried leaves, and green leaves along with some white petals inside small squares made with bamboo stem on ground. They had a symbol of love, a bear and a cat face inside it. These three leaf beds had a small platform raised infront of each of them on which the kids are posing for the photos. There was a small board on which some leaves were pasted with the names of the respective trees beneath it. An old man standing aside it explained about each leaf to the visitors especially to the children. Those all were the leaves of various plants and trees in this park area.
People were sitting on the bank of the main pond where the reflections of the Momiji could be enjoyed the most. All were in hurry taking photos at every corner of the lightened up Maple trees. As the leaves had already started falling, the park grounds were filled with coloured leaves forming a mat. Children and even some adults seemed to take up handful of leaves from the round and blow them up in the air to create a lea shower over them and their companions. Even in the cold night, everyone enjoy the colours and the lights without loosing their chance of this beautiful season.
While visiting this area, the Onsen situated at the opposite side of the Park is another place of interest. The Baden Park Onsen has different varieties of hot bathes like open air bath, herbal bath etc. During the onset of the cold season, it will be a pleasure and great relief to have a hot spring bath while visiting the Sogi Park Momiji festival. This Onsen is a very often visited place by the locals of this region and is also a famous one in the Toki region. During the festive seasons, not only the park and the roads, but also this Onsen will be crowded by the visitors.