Yesterday was the beginning of Golden Week in Japan. This is a week with some sort of remembrance each day, ie.; Childrens Day, Greenery Day, Constitution Day, and Showa Day which commemorates the birthday of Emperor Hirohito who reigned from 1926 to 1989. Also, this is a big travel week for the Japanese so we had to book accommodations a few days ago. Furthermore, on May 1, Hirohito’s son, Emperor Akihito, is retiring and his son Naruhito will be crowned as the 126th Monarch of Japan. Their lineage dates back to 660 B.C., which is staggering. The current English Monarchy only dates back a few hundred years though they are descendants of King Alfred The Great who reigned in 871.
April 28, 2019 Day 16
Enough history. The early walking was pleasant today as the weather cooled. Just after a lunch of peanuts and chocolate, we passed a house with a sign, “Everyone welcome”. Very nice guy who provided bottled tea for me and coffee for Mika and snacks and cake and told us he welcomed anyone to stay the night and he cooked as well. Unfortunately, with this being Golden Week we made a reservation already for tonight. Hopefully next time.
Leaving there we ran into 2 girls who were picking fruit and gave us 6 of those small yellow oranges, konatsu.
Late in the day we came across an Octopus Dumpling shop, that also serves ice cream which the Japanese seem to love as much as everybody else. The elderly woman, 83, running the place was most friendly and we had a great time engaging when her 3 friends stopped for ice cream. Fantastic Takoyaki Octopus Dumplings.
Got to Okinohama hostel and had fantastic dinner of Auxis (tuna) sashimi, minestrone soup, pasta, wild grass, cooked whitefish. After dinner we discussed our strategy for Golden Week. Hate to get out of a day to day flow but necessary I suppose. 34k
Breakfast was excellent. We left at 7:20 and ran into young French guy and chatted a bit and then took a wonderful “ancient” path through mountain forest. Stopped at rest house with another mixed couple, Pedro from near Madrid and his Japanese fiance.
Made it to Temple 39 about 12. Enjoyed John Manjiro statue who was first Japanese in America. He wasn’t a tourist or diplomat, or explorer. He was a 14 year old boy in 1841 out fishing with his 4 buddies and they were stranded on an island. They were later picked up by an American whaler who brought them to Honolulu.
Another great dinner with mahi mahi sashima. Though the highlight for me was the sweet woman sushi chef who I asked if I could take a picture. She nodded yes as the Japanese have a hard time saying “No” I think. I kept moving taking 3 photos from different angles but she would move the fish to block my view of her face. 20k
After breakfast we caught bus out front at 8:23 for Nakamura where we left our packs in tourist office and walked to $1 store and picked up a few things and rested and watched emperor’s retirement ceremony before having teas.
Then took single car train to Temple 39 where I washed my eyes in special healing water.
Our Ryokan, Shimaya which had some bad reports turned out to be comfortable and enjoyable with 12 tatami mats and they let us in early at 1:30 with a hot bath. Great dinner of delicious and huge bonito sashimi. 6k