Day 5: Merchants and Samurai. An ironic juxtaposition of the old and new. The cherry blossoms will be in full bloom late April in this historic town - Kakunodate - nestled in mountains between Akita and Morioka so we were all alone as tourists in the winter chill.
Those samurai really knew how to live the good life and the wide ambling boulevard lined with wooden fence says it all. Attempts to imagine an unpaved road and walking slowly and intentionally in kimono met with s
Day 3: rainy days and Sundays.... a transportation day with a short hour peaceful diversion through Utsunomiya before Shinkansen to next pitstop in Sendai. A peaceful morning at the shrine and found the Buddha with three beans standing strong from the encroachment of urbanism. We are on our way from Kanuma to Sendai catching the Shinkansen in Utsonomiya. This little map shows the Nikko line from that main hub. It's a rainy day with damp glistening streets. One of the things t
Day 2: I would walk 500 miles…. ahem…. I would climb 12 steps.. 20 steps.. 41 steps.. 147 steps to be with you… departed Tokyo on the Shinkansen to Utsunomiya to Nikko. For 600 yen, we stowed our packs for the trek uphill then downhill to explore the Toshogu shrine. A multi-sensory experience in the day. Hum and low whistle of Shinkansen. Gravel crunching. A bird whistle toy clear and distinct through the rustle of wind in cedars. Water dripping from bamboo faucet and splat