Japan Trip 2023 – Day Eleven

May 14th

Nice to have bird sounds and rain drops on awakening. Though I will be pleased if the rain goes away.

Breakfast was a pleasant surprise, as it was vegan, as requested. Not as good as Narita, the best, nor Matsumoto, but certainly delicious.

In the dining room

They are offering dinner as well, but at 2500 yen, plus a vegan surcharge of another 1100 yen on top, for what is essentially some white rice and vegetables, I will, for now, say no. There are other options to explore.

Today the plan is to head to the information office once it is open and then wander into the forest in search of tengu and flying squirrels.

Till then I shall sip tea and watch the forest, which looks cold, wet and windy.

Tourist office only had the same crappy maps everyone else is handing out, they are inaccurate and not to scale, but they do have cartoon characters and birds drawn on them.

They did suggest the shukubo across the road might be able to help with Takigyo. It was one of the places I had originally considered staying at, but ended up where I am because of their vegan food options and closeness to the shrine and because they did not offer crystal meditation sessions.

No one around, so I did the standard, SUMIMASEN!, interrupting one of the said meditation sessions. The proprietor was a little confused by my request and concerned about his class, so he sent me off to come back in thirty minutes.

Wandered to the cable car station, bought a cold coffee from a machine and wandered back.

On the road to the Cable car station

He was waiting with some dates, both of us were now a little confused, until I explained that I was not after accommodation, that I was staying elsewhere till Friday and all I wanted from him was the Takigyo.

He looked relieved.

Meet him here tomorrow at three o’clock he said, no problem, bring a towel.

We parted, both of us happy.

So I may yet get my waterfall meditation. Nothing is real except for the moment it is actually happening. So we shall see. But it looks more likely today, than it did yesterday.

Set off to do the rock garden walk, which is a forest walk leading to a small valley and along a very beautiful creek. At the entrance to the walk is a small off track leading to a lookout, just before reaching this, a Japanese tourist approached me on their way back, saying there are doubutsu ahead.

Sure enough, there were two creatures, which Zoe has subsequently described as a cross between a deer and a wolf, munching on the foliage. Though aware of my presence, they were not overly concerned.

Further research revealed that they were probably, Kamoshika, “coarse pelt deer”, a Japanese goat-antelope.

The rest of the walk was very relaxing and stunningly beautiful. The light kept changing, the cedars were amazing, steep, steep slopes covered in light brown, perfectly vertical, often enormous, trunks. Crow calls and caws always in the background, but never to be seen. It is tengu country.

Saw the famed Tengu Rock

Tengu Rock

Atop Tengu Rock

and passed by the waterfall site of tomorrow’s misogi.

Eventually came back to the lookout deviation.

There is a small shack set up here selling an odd variety of alcohol and coffee. Had a beer rather than a Bordeaux while watching the rain move in.

The souvenir shops in the souvenir street were selling a variety of wasabi products. Wasabi is one of the local produce. At the Mitake train station there was a woman with a street stall selling it fresh. But everything in the shops here had some form of bonito added to it.

Off to the cable car station where I was able to get vegan steam buns yesterday.

None for sale today.

Bought some wasabi flavoured broad beans to help stave off hunger pains later.

Rain and cold becoming increasingly severe, so time to head back to the shukubo.

Found a path that paralleled the main one, but high above it, with no one else on it. Very nice.

View from above the cable car station

Back in my room trying to get warm, drinking over priced beer and texting with Tanwyn.

Soon it will be bath time.

Outside it is white with wind, cloud and rain.

View from room window

Kai Cho

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