|Well, no one smothered me in
my sleep because of my snoring. I didn't even sense any
dirty looks this morning. So I guess sleeping in a dorm is
Before I left this morning,
I went out and took this shot of the beautiful Youth Hostel
Returning to Mikumo station
for the last time--site of my friendship with the bus driver--I
returned to yesterday's stopping point, closer to Minakuchi.
Walking toward Ishibe, past
Mikumo, the map indicates two tunnels that seem to go under
rivers. How could this be?
Well, here they are: viaducts. (Points off if you thought
of the Marx Brothers.) These "elevated rivers" seem to
be common in the area, as well as diked ponds that are well above
ground level. Perhaps this whole area is drained swamp, a
lowland? Then the rivers have to be kept at their high level
if they are to flow into Lake Biwa? Anyway, I can honestly
say that it's the first time on this trip that I have walked under
a river instead of over one.
Ishibe has some irony.
Somewhere, up on a mountain, there is allegedly a collection of
old houses and a Tokaido museum. But it was well off the
route, and I couldn't find how to get there, and I was in a bit of
a hurry (I covered a lot of ground today). So even though
Ishibe may have some of the best Edo-period things to see, I
couldn't find a single sight worth taking a picture in front of.
I did see this house, and some others; but there were walls
in front of them, so I couldn't get a shot with them.
So, as I did at Hara,
I faked my official shot. For the record, this is
Ishibe, station number 51 on the Old Tokaido. I think my
shot looks remarkably like Hiroshige's.
Ishibe, Station #51 on
the Old Tokaido
For many, this was the first night's stop when leaving Kyoto.
A small group are arriving at an inn.
These charming, very
old stone statues are outside of Ishibe, near Tehara station.
This not-so-old statue is
also near Tehara.
Along the way, I saw this
old thatched-roofed house. One also sees these houses with
the thatch sheathed in tin, as in the right-hand photo.
The walk into Kusatsu is
quiet and pleasant.
Then one reaches another oiwake--split in the road--and
the traffic never stops: walkers, bicycles, scooters, in an
It was tough to get this official shot for Kusatsu
without someone in front of me.
Remember the oiwake
at Yokkaichi? Here is another one, and this one had real
significance for me. Two major roads come together here: the
Nakasendo from the central mountains joins the Tokaido. A
little over a month ago--September 5th, to be exact--I stood at
another joining of these roads. As you may recall, Nihombashi--my
starting point--is also the starting point for the five major
highways of the Edo period, including the two that re-join here
for the first time. Since I expect to be in Kyoto tomorrow
or the next day, it was a good place to begin reflecting back over
Kusatsu, Station #52 on
the Old Tokaido
As a place where two major roads joined--and not far from
Kyoto--this was a busy place, with lots of transportation
professionals at work.
Front gate, with visitors
boasts a fine honjin, or official inn. I won't do
another Words and Pictures page about a honjin; you can see
the ones at Futagawa
But I will show you a few pictures here.
After the honjin,
I walked on through the village, and caught a train--the first
time I could jump directly on the Tokaido line in days.
Not much to add, except to show you the rather
unusual name of
the place where I had dinner.