I had seen the Sengokuhara pampas grass field in Hakone before but did not expect to find an even larger field of this silver grass just at my doorsteps in the north of Wakayama Prefecture. A late autumn road trip took me to Oishi Kogen, a highland just south of Osaka Prefecture, where a large field of pampas grass awaits visitors. The Oishi Kogen pampas grass is famous in Kansai!
Pampas grass is called susuki in Japanese. Although susuki grows almost everywhere in the Japanese countryside, city-dwellers are known to flock to large fields of susuki in autumn.
Pampas grass is known as one of the “Seven Flowers of Autumn”. Did you know that? The other six are: Bush Clover, Kuzu Vine, Morning Glory, Fringed Pink, and Ominaeshi and Fujibakama, for which I don’t know the English names.
Well, did you know then that susuki was once used to thatch the roofs of houses? In the area at the base of Oishi Kogen, and in other places in Wakayama Prefecture and nearby Nara Prefecture, one can still see some of the old thatched-roof houses. They have become a rare sight now.
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