PeTOu – click any image for full size
PeTOu is a place that is bound to draw me for a number of reasons. The first is the strong Oriental influence exhibited across this Full region. The second is the way the region uses Linden water throughout to naturally add ambience and harmony to the environment. And the third reason is that is another design by the immensely talented Uta (xoYUUTAox), who was responsible for bringing an ethereal beauty in one of the iterations of a favourite old haunt, Roche (which you can read about here).
With PeTOu, Uta has worked with her partner, Nagi Alekseev, to recreate some of the ethereal wonder present in her design for Roche, expanding it to encompass much more, rooting it in a much broader, but no less enchanting, environment. There are also a number of secrets to be unlocked and enjoyed for those willing to take the time.
A visit commences on the west side of the region at a landing point where – if you’re not careful – it is easy to miss a set of teleport boards. However, rather than taking any of them right away, I do recommend you start by letting your pedal extremities do the work and explore the region on foot. There are two obvious routes away from the landing point. The first is a calf-deep ribbon of water winding through a rich expanse of rapeseed and under the boughs of cherry blossoms; the second is a sort wade across the water to where the rapeseed climbs up over rocks and grass, and old stone steps offer the way to a footpath.
Whichever you take, you’re going to want to take your time – there is a lot to discover under the canopy of blossoms. The footpath for example, will take you up to a little traditional Japanese house sitting on a hill, a little garden to one side, complete with ponds presided over by a stately egret. A cobbled path offers a route around the garden, while on the other side of the house, a rocky path sweeps down to the water once more.
Before the path disappears under the water, however, visitors can turn away from it across a wooden bridge spanning a narrow channel, lanterns floating on the waters below. This leads the way to a network of bridges reaching out over an expanse of deep blue water, a pagoda sitting on the far side atop a rocky bluff. Two great golden dragons guard the waters, one of which has apparently crushed a pier under its weight.
Close by, on the nearer shore of the land, and reached by following another path from the little house on the hill or via a path leading up from the watery path through the rapeseed, is a much larger house. This overlooks the network of bridges, as well as offer much to see in and around it – do be sure to follow the stepping stones under the arc of Torii gates to the rather unusual sculptures at the far end.
PeTOu is truly a marvellous setting, rich in soft colours under an night-washed sky, perfect for photography and with lots of little gems to be found – keep an eye out for the white flowers which hide sitting poses within them, for example. Once you have finished your explorations, be sure to make your way back to the landing point and the waiting teleport boards.
While one of the boards – “Oriental” – will carry you to the ground level bridges and their dragons, the remaining five provide access to little vignettes in the sky. All are very different from one to another, and each has its own attraction / whimsy. The R2 Cafe, for example, has a little winter scene and a colourful teleport back to the ground (which you’ll have to look for!), while Paris Roofs presents a romantic rooftop tryst under a summer shower dropping into the street below.
Finished with an ambient sound scape, and matched with a piano music stream with minimal adverts, PeTOu is a marvellous environment for exploring and for simply getting away from everything, be it time spent on the ground, or up in one of the skybox locations. All told, highly recommended – and if you do enjoy your visit as we did, do please consider making a donation via one of the tip jars so that others might also continue to enjoy the region.
- PeTOu (Everheart, rated: moderate)