Japan Trip 2023 – Day Ten

May 13th

I think the nesting bird was a brown heron, and the raptors I have been seeing, black kites, which have some associations with Tengu legends.

Today is one of the more complex travel days, with at least one unknown factor, not able to be resolved by Tanwyn’s wizardry.

Should be interesting.

Is cold and wet in Kofu this morning.

Goodbye Kofu.

On the train to Tachikawa.

All happened a little more quickly than anticipated, so no chance to pick up some kombini breakfast food. May be one of the hunger days.

Did solve the Tachikawa to Mitake mystery. Yes, I do need to change trains at Ome. Once again my limited Japanese, combined with an official’s limited English, equals adequate communication.

Am now sitting in my room on the mountain, looking out at an awe inspiring view and reflecting on a very mixed day.

No food at Tachikawa station, at least none for me.

Deviated from the ‘Book’ to catch a train to Ome. Nothing wrong with the book, but it turns out there were earlier options on another platform.

Off the train at Ome and the next one is waiting on the other side of the same platform. Thank you to the book and its marvellous author for making this known.

Will admit to some trepidation after the train pulled out, but no need for concern.

Mitake is a tiny town, but the bus to the cable car was just over the road from the station and about to leave in five minutes. This was pure coincidence and good fortune. Being a weekend, there could well have been a considerable wait between buses.

Mitake bus

Next trip, I think we avoid travel days on weekends, options are far more limited.

The clouds blowing up the mountain and through the trees outside my window are delightfully distracting.

Was a bit of an uphill climb from the bus stop to reach the Cable car station with luggage.

The Cable car was also ready to go a few minutes after I arrived. And the book I was listening to on Sextus Empiricus ended just at that moment.

Cable car

So beautiful when we disembarked,

View from the top cable car station

and the vegetable filled steam buns being sold, were, I was assured, vegan. Past the time for butter demons to have appeared now, so they must have been safe. They were also delicious.

I set off to find the accommodation and was accosted by an old woman waving an information leaflet. She asked where I was staying and gave me directions.

Path to the village

Seemed simple.

The streets here are labyrinthian and not all are marked on the map. They are also very, very steep. So any wrong turn is painful, dragging an increasingly weighty suitcase.

Finally identified the accommodation by comparing the kanji on the sign to that on Google Maps.


If I had seen my name on the Welcome blackboard out front, it would have simplified things.

I was an hour too early, so they sent me away.

First place to do that this trip, though thankfully, they let me leave the suitcase, which by now weighed over 112 kilograms.

A pause in the journaling whilst I took my pre-booked bath in their large cedar tub.

Like much of this place so far, an In/Yo experience, (though early days yet), the bath itself was excellent and you guarantee it to yourself by pre booking a time, however, the change room is heated with a kerosene heater, the fumes of which permeate the bathroom.

Back to the day’s reporting.

Expelled from the shubuko, I made my way to the main shrine.

Even more than the legally required 2064stairs for any Japanese shrine,

Stairs to the first gateway

More stairs

More stairs

Last stairs

some of which had odd demon / guardian deity images imbedded into them.

The place is extremely beautiful, the setting, the architecture, the atmosphere; is a shame about all the signs and modern metal handrails, etcetera.

Still, stunning to behold.

The shrine complex was layers of beautiful smaller shrines surrounding the main building.

Including a viewing spot where one looked out onto, I am assuming, a nearby sacred mountain. It certainly generated the awe to be called Kami by me.

Was able to purchase Ofuda, they had two types and I made sure the one I was after was specific to this shrine and not a generic pan-Kami Ofuda. They seemed pleased with my choice of the local gods.

There was also a fire making talisman, composed of a mitama shaped piece of iron and a rectangle of flint. This I also purchased, because, fire lighting.

Attached to the shrine was a small antiquities museum, a treasure house, I think it was referred to as, another of those rather obvious tourist things that I knew nothing about till I was on the spot.

It contained two national treasures.

There was armour and swords from the time of the Genpei War. One sword was a Buddhist inscribed tachi that was just emanating power, it was nicked in ways that indicated battle use, but no way of knowing for certain. There was also a “divine blade”, not meant to ever be drawn, as it invoked the the Kami.

All of this was explained on the tablet handed out so English explanations could be given. No English leaflets.

But there were also, not mentioned by the tablet, two of the most magnificent naginata blades I have ever seen. Things of beauty, both of them.

No photos allowed.

Back to the shubuko.

They seemed surprised I had ordered vegan breakfasts and let me know it would cost an extra 1100 yen a meal. They seemed equally surprised that a vegan meal meant no fish stock, eggs, meat or dairy. Will be interested to see what they deliver and if I can eat it.

On trying to book the Takigyo, my main purpose for staying at this shubuko, they informed me they do not do that anymore. They stopped when their father died three years ago.

“But your website still offers it”, I said.

“Yes”, they replied.

“It is why I booked with you”, I said.

“Sorry”, they said.

And that was that.

Levels of sadness and disappointment.

I am having trouble processing, but it is out of my control.

Later they tried to argue about my preferred breakfast time.

Overall, a mixed day, to say the least.

My room

View from the room

Kai Cho

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