Recently I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis. It is quite painful first thing in the morning when I tend to set off for a walk. Today I decided to go for a walk despite the pain. Some days I just can’t stay in, it seems such a waste of a day.
Anyway, I decided to complete the one furthest away and get it done and dusted, but mainly so I could use my car to visit the locations. Another reason I decided to use my car… frankly this walk is pants and not really worth the effort. Though as you will see, I was quite lucky on the day I chose to complete it.
Here is the map.
I went to location 5 first, Suwa Bairin. This stop is a plum grove with a small stream or river. Some people were taking the chance to cool down and play when I arrived. There were car parking spaces along the road and in a carpark, there was also a toilet block. On the other side of the road from the river were more plum trees and a large monument. When I pulled into the parking space, a police car also did at the same time. The policemen got out, said hello, then ran down the road, excitement…I am not sure what it was all about, but it wasn’t me.
To reach this location I had to drive passed locations 3 and 4. I saw the carpark there was full, it seemed quite busy for a small shrine. So I decided to walk down to the shrine as it was only about 1km.
As I got closer I started to hear some drumming sounds, it got louder as got closer. It must have been coming from the shrine and be the reason for the busy carpark.
As you can see there was a festival of some sort happening. There seemed to be new torii gate and the small shrine for the seven gods shrine was open.
Taiko drumming and traditional dress galore. I felt a bit of an intruder in a local celebration, but everyone was very kind.
It was a lovely little shrine and I was lucky to see the festival.
At the bottom of the steps and across the road, back towards my car was the next location. It was a house that seemed to be in the middle of restoration. It had a scraggly thatched roof. I just took a photo and walked back to my car.
I drove to stop 6, stayed less than 2 minutes before moving on to the last two locations. I mean seriously…a big rock and a tree.
Apparently, there was a battle in 1562 where an important person died and this was put up as a memorial. It might be connected to the Soma Clan. I am sure there are some people who are really interested in it all, but I moved on to locations 1 and 2.
I found making the map for this walk really tricky as some of the locations are not marked on Google maps and the book maps are rubbish. Location 1 also was not marked on Google, but another shrine next to it was. So I parked in the nearest Family Mart, which had a large carpark and walked around until I found it. Now, the location marker is in the right place and it is a lovely little shrine, with very interesting animal statues at the entrance. The book says there is a gingko tree that is 550 years old. I hadn’t read that beforehand, so I missed it at the shrine but I can see it in the photos at the back.
The last shrine photo is at the side of the one suggested, go out of the top gate and you should see it.
The last stop was also a bit tricky to find, but due to telephone work happening. The road I wanted to take was closed to traffic. I could walk it though, it turned out to be another slightly run down old building.
And another walk is done. I don’t recommend this one at all. Apart from the coincidence of the festival, it was all a bit ordinary. If you are in the area, then fair enough. But it is certainly not worth a drive or train ride to do this route…unless you have a desire to complete all routes in the book.