Day 24 – Walking The Nakasendō, Japan – A cool and wet day of sightseeing in Inuyama
Today light rain started early in the morning, and intensified later in the day.
We had booked a two night stay in the Meitetsu Inuyama Hot Spring Hotel, and had planned to walk without our backpacks today.
But as the rain became more intense, and the weather got colder, Inuyama has a lovely castle and an old row of shops and eateries, so we decided to take it easy today.
Since we had made such good progress in walking yesterday, it is clear now that we will finish the pilgrimage on time, perhaps even a few days early.
So we had a late breakfast, dressed up in rain clothes, and went out to see the town.
The Inuyama Castle is located right above our hotel by the river.
The buses of tourists that come to visit the Castle park at our hotel, and the people have tea and lunch there.
The entrance to the castle is through a nice shrine, and we walked up through the shrine to the garden outside the castle.
The Inuyama Castle is a national treasure which dates back to the 1600s.
The entry ticket included a tour of the interior of the castle.
We climbed up two sets of extremely steep wooden stairs, to the first level.
From there, there are four more sets of steep stairs to the top level of the castle.
The castle, like all Japanese castles, was constructed from stone, wood and rammed earth plastered walls, with a bamboo woven pattern inside the walls to adhere the clay plaster.
The wooden beams were massive and beautiful.
The rooms included the Lord’s private meeting room, and behind it, there was a room in which the soldiers used to hide, when the lord was having fits of anger and rage.
As I toured the castle, I realized that there were no family rooms, no royal suites and nothing to indicate that the royal or lord’s family lived there.
Then I read that Japanese castles (城 Shiro), were designed as fortresses, not as royal residences.
Despite their glorious exteriors, castles in Japan were built to guard important or strategic sites, such as ports, river crossings, or crossroads, and almost always incorporated the landscape into their defenses.
From the castle in Inuyama, there is a long stretch of old shops that sell souvenirs, food, drink, pickles, sweets, rice crackers and crafts.
We walked along the castle district streets and, in Showa Alley, we had a grilled Gohei mochi and handmade strawberry sherbet.
It was a relaxed day, but very rainy.
Our shoes and pants got soaked just walking on the streets.
We took the train to a new Starbucks located inside a Tsutaya bookstore, and sat and worked on more planning and log entries for the rest of the day.
We returned to the hotel to soak in the hot springs and have another lavish dinner.
Because we stayed there for two nights, they had changed the tasting menu so we would not be bored with the food tonight.
We put newspapers in our wet shoes, showered, scrubbed and soaked in the hot springs and then retired to bed early.
It seems like the difficult part of the pilgrimage is behind us.
Now we will try to enjoy the regions we are passing through, taking it slow and easy….
With love and cheers,
Tali and Jules
Day 24 Stats:
Steps – 11,568
Kilometers walked – 8.62 (not added to the Nakasendo total count)
Active walking time – 2.5 hours