No shame in this site of natural beauty.
Nose hair tends to be poorly wrapped in society – everyone seems to want to cut it or hide it. But here in Japan, there is a place where nose hairs are free to grow in the wild, as nature intended, and this place is called Hanagenoike (“Nose Hair Pond“).
▼ We found out about the location in a “Driving Map” for the Kanto Koshinetsu region, which covers Tokyo and surrounding areas, as well as Yamanashi, Nagano and Niigata prefectures.
Located in the mountains of Joetsu Town, Niigata Prefecture, Nose Hair Pond is said to be resplendent with natural landscapes, including trees with brightly colored leaves in autumn. However, there is no detailed information on the exact address of the pond, the location being simply listed as “Ushigahana, Oshima-ku, Joetsu City”.
▼ This place is definitely hidden off the beaten track.
Following the directions of the car navigation system, we set out in search of the mysterious site and as we approached we were finally directed to a narrow mountain road.
▼ Could it be… the nasal passage?
The road got narrower and narrower and nature seemed to engulf the road with tall firs and long autumn grasses.
And that’s when we arrived at our destination, which seemed strangely calm, as if totally forgotten by humanity.
▼ We got out of the car and walked carefully towards the pond…
▼ … and of course, it looked like a gaping nostril, filled with reeds that looked like nose hairs!
As we got closer we could see there was very little water in Nose Hair Pond. It actually looked more like a swampy wetland. From what we had read, the fall leaves are supposed to reflect beautifully on the surface of the pond like a mirror, but we must have visited outside of the ideal viewing period as there is no had no pretty highlights here.
We were a little careful not to get too close to Nose Hair Pond as there was no one in sight to help us if the cavity needed to suck us in.
▼ In addition, we had virtually no reception.
According to the information we had received, a stone monument and a campsite were located nearby, but we did not find any traces of it. So after a few deeper breaths of cool mountain hair, sorry, air, we got back in the car and headed back down to civilization.
It took us about 50 minutes to get back down on level ground, and during that time we didn’t pass any other vehicles or people. There were some beautiful rice terraces on the way down, however, and they are much more famous than Nose Hair Pond, drawing tourists to the area for their scenic beauty.
Upon returning home, we found out that Nose Hair Pond was originally known as “Nose pass“Apparently, the small road that passes by the pond was actually a main road in the past, and the the neck was so steep that it was said to “cut” the noses of horses and people who used it.
Fortunately, we left the area with our nose intact and a new appreciation for nasal hair. Next time, we’ll think twice before applying Brazilian wax to the inside of our nostrils with these nose hair extractors.
Hanagenoike / 鼻毛 の 池
Address: Niigata-ken, Joetsu-shi, Oshima-ku, Ushigahana