Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mountains, Prehistoric Homes and Waterfalls - 3rd May 2015

It was wonderful sleeping on a raised platform for once, no condensation! I woke up and everything in the tent was bone dry. I didn’t want to be caught sleeping in a shrine so I was up at 5am, by half past I had drank two cups of coffee and a bowl of miso, and eaten the four pastries I bought at the shop the day before. I was ready to hit the road by half six, I think my fastest time yet.

The morning was mostly windy mountain roads:

I found myself stepping aside for cars on a regular basis, not because Japanese drivers don’t try and give you as wide a berth as they can, but rather because the roads are so narrow sometimes that there is only enough room for one car, with no sidewalk to speak of. At one point I walked around a corner and there was an old man sitting in a vegetable field with his legs sprawled out in front of him digging a hole between them (I kid you not). I shouted "good morning" to him and I guess he hadn’t noticed me because I almost gave him a heart attack, then when he realised I was a foreigner it was a double shock! Poor fellow!

A bit further down the road a truck with a worker in it pulled up beside me and let me know that there would be rain tomorrow. Uh oh, maybe I will be taking a rest day. Before he left he also let me know that there was a replica of a prehistoric Japanese dwelling around the corner, which I went to have a look at:

A Jomon Era dwelling

Inside there was enough room for several people and a fire pit

Thatched roof
It turns out they had found relics in the area dating back to the Jomon period (12,000BC to 300BC). It's funny, I now find myself assessing spots for their camping/sleeping potential. I have an imaginary scale in my head that rates any location based on a number of factors, such as convenience, secludedness, shelter from wind/rain, and most importantly the gut feeling I get about the place. If I get a strange feeling from a place, even if it ticks all the other boxes, I just won't sleep there. With this said, this prehistoric hut would have been perfect for sleeping in, no tent needed, just put my sleeping mat down and I’d be set. I always seem to find good spots to sleep in the middle of the day rather than the end of it. It’s a shame; I really would have liked to sleep in a prehistoric dwelling for a night.

I moved further down the mountain road and came to the town of Kunma, and saw this guy munching on a tree outside a house:

He bolted right after I took the photo
A few hundred metres down the road there was a “michi no eki”, literally translated into “road station.” I got a good meal with all you could drink Shizuoka green tea:

It was great to have a proper meal after a few days
After finishing up I walked a few kilometres up the road and found a quiet part of the river a few  to have a wash in. I noticed my right toenail is looking unhealthier and getting closer and closer to coming off:

I climbed a bit more and at some point I crossed over into the prefecture of Aichii, and as soon as I got into the first village I noticed something different, instead of tea they were growing rice:
Wet rice cultivation method
The trail took me through the town of Suyama, then a forrest, and then finally arriving at a very popular waterfall:

I have no idea what it is called, but it is just outside the town of Suyama in Aichii

There was a perfect place to sleep next to this waterfall, a fully enclosed room with nothing in it. I was sitting on the benches outside getting ready to write this blog entry when four guys came around the corner with some sort of board game and all went into the hut, sat down and started playing… It looked like they were going to be there for a while, so I decided to keep walking and find another spot.

And so I kept walking, breaking my distance record and doing over 36kms according to my GPS. Go me. Thus, I arrived in the town of Ono a day early than I had planned, I found some internet at the convenience store, and booked a hotel in the nearby town of Toyohashi for tomorrow. I can't find any places to sleep around here so I think I will catch the train into the city, set up my tent in a park and try for an early check-in in the morning.

Distance: 34.6km (according to google)

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