Posting to Facebook to record events of our trip has its limitations. I have so many thoughts and reflections, more than would fit in a Facebook post. And I risk boring family and friends with events that may only be important to me.
We have been in Japan for one week traveling to Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara. We have visited temples, shrines, and Japanese gardens. However the August heat, amplified by pavement and buildings, is overwhelming. So yesterday we decided to head to the mountains. This is certainly an advantage of having a JR Rail Pass, making impromptu decisions to travel. We took two trains – the Thunderbird (Yes, real name), and the Shinkensen to get to Toyama.
Previously we had looked for a hotel or AirBnB accommodation but did not have luck finding something suitable and in our price range, except for one post on AirBnB that looked like a hostel for 8 people in an out of the way place. There are disadvantages to traveling with an open itinary and this can be one of them – finding suitable accommodation. To get to this particular spot we needed to take one more train from Toyama on a small railway the Chitetsu-Tateyama line to Chigaki Station, however the lodging was several kilometers from the station. We emailed the owner and he offered to pick us up! So we stopped in Toyma to get groceries… Buying grocieries in Japan when you are not a Japanese speaker is a challenge and it is fun!
Success meant coming out of the store with 3 bags of grocieries, beer and a bottle of wine.
We were met at Chigaki station by Mitsuru who had 3 umbrellas in hand to save us from getting drenched as we loaded up his car with our luggage and groceries.
Mitsuru and his wife welcomed us warmly as they showed us around our ‘cabin’. The best part was that our son, Jonathan, used Google translate to communicate with him. We chuckled and shared jokes. Now that we are out of the usual tourist spots Google Translate is just what we needed.
As we were getting settled, Mitsuru came by with spices, soya sauce for cooking and best of all, coffee beans which he ground on the spot for us using this coffee grinder.
Such kindness and consideration. We feel so very blessed by our experiences here.
Whenever we travel I have a mixture of eager anticipation and mild apprehension as we near our accommodation. After all, you never know if the lodging will meet your expectations. Well this time I am sure we have booked ourselves a mansion in the mountains. It’s even more amazing to think that this is in Japan, a country of 127 million who live and work in compact spaces.