So I have to talk about toilets for a second. I’d heard toilet technology was rather advanced in the land of the rising sun but I didn’t realise quite how advanced. So yeah they have like a million different bidet settings including specific ones for the ladies, heated seats to keep your tush toasty, but get this. When you sit down on some of the toilets a sensor recognises that someone has sat down and a static, kind of “white noise” plays to avoid any awkwardness between yourself and other toilet goers. Genius! For a somewhat awkward Englishman like myself that’s perfect.
Anyway, enough of my potty mouth.
Our first short stop outside of Tokyo was at the Daio Wasabi farm. It was a beautiful place with field after field of wasabi growing in neat, naturally irrigated rows. I honestly didn’t know a thing about wasabi aside from it goes well with sushi so wandering around the farm definitely gave me a better appreciation of what’s involved in the production of this fiery little root vegetable.
Sleeping in a 400 year old traditional Japanese house
Our destination for the evening was Gokayama. A world UNESCO World heritage site since 1995 and it’s no wonder why! We were to spend the night in a 400 year old Japanese house with paper windows and thick wooden beams supporting the beautiful thatched roof.
Our host was a wonderful Japanese lady that spoke little english but prepared a wonderful dinner for us and even sang for us while demonstrating some local musical instruments.
Getting dressed up in traditional attire and heading off to a small local festival definitely got us a lot of attention but people were very welcoming. Going so far as to give me the last of the warm Sake and inviting us to join in the dance. Only one of us obliged though, and it wasn’t me…
We were really lucky to catch the end of the performance, the dancing and singing was in a traditional style with a lot of thought having obviously gone into the choreography. I’d like to have learned a little bit more about the reasons behind the festival and the lyrics of the songs. Next time.
We slept on the second floor of the building and I had a really restful sleep, it felt like being out on the trail.
Sleeping on the floor of a building surrounded by hiking friends, only to pack up that very morning and get on the road again. Being around these guys has been great, they’re riding on a kind of high after just completing the PCT and it’s pretty infectious. Click here for part 3