Friday, 22 May 2015

Sekigahara, the Bullet Train, Annoying Gates and a Rest - 20th May 2015

I reasoned wrong and the trains went all through the night, changing from commuter trains to freight trains somewhere around midnight. There was one every forty five minutes or so making it hard to sleep:
First I would hear a dinging from the crossing, sometimes I could incorporate it into my dreams and somehow not wake up, but then the train itself would come past and I would wake up no matter what
Thus I was a bit groggy when I woke up but it was another lovely day again and I could see the bullet train in the distance:

They run over 300km per hour, as you will see in a moment
I made it to Sekigahara by 9:30am, there was a park and a little information in English about what happened in this spot on September 15th, 1600. The battle of Sekigahara is widely considered to be the decisive battle that paved the way for Tokugawa Ieyasu consolidate his rule and set up the Tokugawa Shogunate, who ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration at 1868. I lingered a bit and thought about what it would be like to be in a medieval battle, and then considered how lucky I am that I will never have to find out.

The trail then continued on and took me right under the Shinkansen (bullet train) track. It took me three attempts to get this video due to the speed they travel at:

I walked on and climbed Mt Matsuo, that provided a great view of where the battle took place:

Here is the rest of the day in pictures:

A one person electric car I walked past
Back into the wood after lots of road walking

This part of the trail that runs along the base of the mountains that are at the edge of the village of Sawada turned out to be of a poor design. Every few hundred metres or so you would encounter these gates, designed to keep some sort of animal on the inside:

Look on the right, the gate is tied with several bits of cloth
Or with a combination of cloth and chains...

...or rusty iron bars that were extremely hard to move.

There was one every few hundred metres, and it became extremely frustrating having to undo and then lock up again each individual gate
After the eighth gate or so I got fed up and decided to just walk along the road. It provided much faster going and I soon felt like I was getting somewhere again:

Much easier...

...and the views were better
I had been on the trail for 6 days straight and decided I deserved a break, so by 5pm I arrived at the train station of Yoro and caught the train back into Nagoya and checked into a hostel. It has so far been really really nice to have some face to face conversations with native english speakers. Sometimes I feel like I'm too chatty actually, it's like I'm making up for all the conversation I would normally have but I have missed out on.

Distance: 29km

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