though I didn't hit the trail 'til after 11 a.m., I did a full
20 kilometers today. That's more like it!
Leaving Futagawa, I was
expecting a nasty slope. It was actually a gentle one, and
led to a plateau that I stayed on most of the day.
However, it was one of those days where for the first couple of
hours there was no reason to take the camera out of the bag.
I did, though, when I saw this
vending machine. I've seen a few before, but they're
becoming rare on the route, so I thought I better catch this
one. It's a vending machine for eggs!
you think that's weird: This place was called "Mamushi,"
which is the name of one of Japan's poisonous snakes. (I
actually saw a young one in Chichibu last July.) Anyway, I
don't know what kind of store it is, but they had dead snakes
and mummified frogs in the window! (Probably a
walked past this temple (the name of which I couldn't
read) and was attracted by the gate. Drawn inside, I was
disappointed by the drab architecture. However, a three-story
pagoda (sanjunoto) is under construction, so it may
become more interesting. It was after seeing this that I noticed
that all of the stonework on the gate and the surrounding wall
is new. I don't know if it's a "new" temple (the
age of the main hall was hard to judge) or a remodel.
is a sign for a beauty shop. I wonder how many
women go in and say, "Make me look like the babe on the
thinking that way too many Americans have recently become
members. (A bar in Toyohashi. Remember, this was
written on September 29, 2001.)
Yoshida station was situated on the Toyokawa, or Toyo River.
Somehow, the town secured permission to build a bridge across
the river (see Hiroshige's print below). So old Yoshida
("Lucky Rice Field") has become modern Toyohashi
("Toyo Bridge"). I'm standing in front of a
modern bridge near the site of the old ferry crossing for my official
shot of Yoshida, station number 34 on the Old Tokaido.
Tokaido: Yoshida, Station
the Old Tokaido
Hiroshige shows Yoshida Castle
under repair, with the bridge in the distance. To be
honest, I didn't seek out the castle; what's there is a
reconstruction anyway (like most castles in Japan). I will
look for Okazaki Castle tomorrow, though; Ieyasu Tokugawa was
I have a lot to say about this shop.
First, it's across from an ichirizuka
monument, which is numbered "74." That means I
was exactly 288.6 kilometers from Nihonbashi when I took this
picture (the ri is actually 3.9 kilometers, though we
usually call it 4. I'm just past Yoshida shuku,
which is at 287.3 kilometers.)
Now, the marker for the ichirizuka
is the usual 2-1/2-foot-high stele. As I was shooting the
picture--practically straddling the marker--a woman came up and
said, "Oh, there it is! It's small!" I
said yeah, they were keeping it a secret, and she moved on.
Finally, why was I shooting
this restaurant? Because there's a long slogan on the
front. (Many Japanese businesses seem to use
paragraph-sized statements for slogans.) This one was
apropos for a man who was approaching the 300-kilometer point on
a walk from home. Here it is in full:
new day has begun.
is a wonderful day.
sun is shining and
breeze feels good.
fill our hearts
What more can be
it's a long, featureless stretch from Yoshida (Toyohashi) to
Goyu. The only interesting things are tons of old houses
and businesses, and one place where the old road is completely
gone, and Highway 1 has to be used as a substitute. (You
may remember this happened in Shizuoka City as well.)
However, a reprieve was sent.
For the first time on this trip, I walked with a companion for a
while. The woman I spoke to at the ichirizuka and I
had been playing leapfrog--or tortoise-and-hare--along the road,
and finally decided to walk together.
This is Mieko Totani.
She's a radio and TV announcer in Nagoya. We walked
together for well over an hour, conversing in my minimal
Japanese. (I think she understands more English than she
let on!) She was very kind, giving me a set of the
well-marked JR (Japan Railways) maps that I've seen others using
along the way.
When we reached Goyu shuku (station),
we parted, since I was heading into Torinji to say today's
is nothing special to look at, but I found it a touching place
nonetheless. You see, the post towns of Yoshida, Goyu, and
Akasaka were famous for their prostitutes, as you'll see in
Hiroshige's prints below. Tokuriki gives a poem with no
it not for the pleasures
Of Akasaka, Goyu, and Yoshida,
would ever entice one
make the trip to Edo?
And Torinji is where these
women are buried. After offering up your prayers, I said
one for them.
By the way, I'm not sure which
graves are theirs, so I took a picture of the oldest-looking
pile of gravestones in the place. If you see your
grannies' here, don't get mad at me!
cast off bodies--
had served so long--are dust
spirits live on
I couldn't find any women to pose with me, I went for Goyu's
other claim to fame for my official shot. The namiki
(tree-lined avenue) of Goyu is so beautiful that there's a
museum in the town called "The Goyu Pine Avenue
Museum." (I skipped it.) By the way, it was
tough getting this shot. Both the tripod and I had to be
in the middle of the narrow road, and it was rush hour!
Tokaido: Goyu, Station
the Old Tokaido
Since he wasn't using a camera,
Hiroshige could put as many women in his picture as his
imagination (or experience) could conjure up. Here he
shows a Tokaido traveler practicing his sales resistance.
little shrine past the end of the namiki is pretty, but
nothing special. However, look at the size of the tree
next to it! It seemed almost as wide as the main building.
and Goyu are famous not only for the pines between them, but for
the short distance--1.7 kilometers, or just barely over a mile.
The great haiku poet Basho
wrote of this: "Watching the summer moon rise at Goyu, here
we are at Akasaka already."
Even knowing what to expect, I
was surprised at how quickly I arrived.
For my official picture of
Akasaka, I'm standing in front of Ohashiya.
Unfortunately closed when I arrived, it is a traditional inn
from the early Edo period that's still in operation.
Tokaido: Akasaka, Station
the Old Tokaido
Hiroshige shows the interior of
such an inn. Some women are serving customers; others are
doing their make-up. I read that the cycad tree shown in
the picture has been moved from the inn where it was located to
Josenji temple. Since I arrived at near-dark, I didn't
have a chance to hunt it down. (I'll do it next
time I walk the Tokaido!)
pushed on a coupe of kilometers past Akasaka to Nagasawa train
station. This is one of those places with just a couple of
platforms: no gate, no staff. You pay on the train.
It was no real problem getting "home." I took
three trains, and arrived about an hour and 20 minutes after
However, it's going to be a huge
problem in the morning. You see, I'm moving my base to
Nagoya tomorrow, so I have to take my big bag with me. And
no station means no lockers; I have to figure out where to stash
the bag. Moving back and forth on this train line is
tough; it's not the Tokaido main line, but the smaller Nagoya
Line. Trains come twice an hour, and there's a whole,
confusing timetable of expresses, limited expresses, etc., with
unpredictable waits, transfers, etc.
I'll let you know tomorrow how