Asuka

It’s another sunny day, another great day to walk around outside. I hop on the train to check out Asuka, a small town recommended by the Osaka hostel receptionist. On the same train route, there’s another town known for it’s historical buildings still in use today. And some sake. In other words, it’s an awesome day.

Cool, first stop is Imaicho and I don’t get very far. There’s a bakery right outside the station. I mean, look. Can you pass this up?

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After inhaling the first two, yes, omg there’s a doughnut too, I down hot coffee from a vending machine. Couple blocks away starts the historical district. At first I follow the map but frequent map checks are not enjoyable when there’s nothing in particular I want to see. I start walking down whatever street looks interesting.

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I end up passing a guy. And then him again. He stops me this time and asks if I’m interested in old buildings, Japanese architecture. Yes. He leads me to a home which is doubling as a sake brewery and museum. The owner doesn’t speak much English but has index cards that someone wrote for her about the home. The man I met uses some English to explain that this is her family’s home. She also lets me sample sake. It was really good but I didn’t want to carry any bottles all day. I recall Himeji. I thank them both and continue on.  Untitled

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Back on the train, I go a few more stops to Asuka. There’s two bike rental shops nearby. It’s already the afternoon so I skip the rental and start walking. A bike would be faster but faster isn’t always what I want. There’s more hills too so walking is more enjoyable.

Little town,
It’s a quiet village
Ev’ry day
Like the one before
Little town
Full of little people
Waking up to say…

Ohayou!

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I didn’t get far before a woman working her small farm stopped me to ask where I’m from. I guess this isn’t a place Westerners typically go.

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I continue walking and reach a high point over looking the section of town near the train station. There’s a man here playing an instrument. I clap softly when he finishes the song in appreciation, hopefully without interrupting too much. His wife (?) nods politely while he begins his next peace. I leave them be, following another path. Asuka has rock forms, tombs and of course, shrines.

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Here’s one of the tombs in the distance. That mound there. There’s also a reporter here. I wonder if there’s an event coming up or maybe they’re trying to draw tourists. Tis the season after all.

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I walk through two tiny patches of bamboo, stopping for an obscene amount of time to take photos. IMG_9648

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I end up back in a section with more homes. I’m a little lost. I thought I was going the right way but not really.

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I back track and see some people eating ice cream so naturally I too want ice cream. On my way I stop and take a photo for a family in front of the turtle rock. The shop is next door where I get kiwi ice cream.

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Feeling better with a snack, I spy a temple on the side of Mount Okayama. It’s yet, another but I’m compelled to go. It can’t be that far. (Spoiler alert: I have learned nothing.) IMG_9659

On my way, I stop by Tachibanadera Temple. I’m curious but don’t feel like spending the yen. On one side, the wall is short so I take a quick peek. There’s also some shrine or graves here.

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I move on toward the hillside. IMG_9665

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Upon arrival at Okadera Temple, it just occurs to me that maybe I’m late, that these places do close. I’m allowed in and try to move quickly. Later another family arrives and figure, well, if they’re taking their time, I can too.

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The grounds vary and I’m glad I didn’t skip out on this. The main building has lovely statues and artifacts but of course no photos allowed. IMG_9689

Pass the main building there’s a path that leads into a wooden area with small shrines.

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it has horror movie vibes but I still crawled inside to take a look

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It leads to the highest point with a three story pagoda. IMG_9693

The sunset is lovely… I want to stay and watch but this means it is late. I’d like to get to the train station before dark.

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I stay a little longer and head back.

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It’s dark by the time I reach the train station. (Told you I learned nothing.) I have to wait for the train back to Nara and the waiting room has cute pillows. Untitled

I’m hungry. I found a restaurant in Nara that has takeout. The takeout is pretty much what you’d order in the restaurant but almost half the price. The first time because yes, multiple times, I ordered what the translation said to be chicken. The chef special is really a mix but since it’s breaded and fried you can’t tell until you bit into it. There’s three pieces- pork, potato, ground meat…? and once a shrimp type. It’s good though and comes with rice and shredded cabbage. Downside is there’s no nearby public space to sit and eat it plus the hostel isn’t that close for it to stay hot on the way. So, I ate it outside the train station like a bum. Ha. Worth it though. I ate there like three times.

I really need to get some rest. Walking all day was probably not the best idea since I’m getting ready for my three day hike on the Kumano Kodo trail! 🙂

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