(Ancient Cedar Tree in Princess Mononoke Forest)
Day 4: March 11th
We had kept the “hard work” for last day, that is more than 3 hours of trekking up in the mountains to visit the most famous forest in Japan, “Mononoke Hime no Mori/Princess Mononoke Forest” which inspired a great manga/cartoon/animated film of the same name.
It is located in a place called Shiratani Usuikyo/白谷雲水峰, up very high in the mountains and a good hour by bus from the hotel (did you notice the sea turtle on the bus stop?)
(if you want larger pics, I’ll mail them to you!)
The owners at Tsuwanoya had given us sandwiches and nigiri/rice balls without being asked. Greats service which proved fortuitous as a part of a refuge and foutain half way up, there is no shop in the vicinity, although the forest and mountain are beautifully serviced and equipped by the local government.
Take good shoes, an extra sweater and and be careful. This is a hard climb, and an even harder descent, but so much worth it! Expect wild deer (and monkeys) coming out of the blue (green) in the most unlikely spots!
If you happen to do it too, you will understand how famished and thirsty we were back at the inn!
Luckily, Tsuwanoya had an enormous Japanese dinner ready for us!
Including another plate of succulent sashimi: Mizu Ika/Aori Ika=cuttlefish and Kampachi/Albacore.
And a succulent (half) Asahi Crab!
Itook care of the last day to sample the three shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, the only truly “native” Brewery in th Island!
MItake/”the Three Peaks”
Aroma: Clean, discreet, elegant
Taste: Soft attack, clean. Shortish tail.
Dry. Dry roasted nuts, coffee beans.
Stands well to food with a sweetish undertone.
Comments: Pleasant refined shochu.
Like all shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, best drunk with ice only.
Aroma: Very dry, clean, strong.
Taste: Soft attack. Clean taste. Nicely warming up back of the palate.
Dry. Shortish tail. Memories of coffee beans and nuts.
Comments: Great with sashimi.
Turns sweetish and deeper with food with memories of brown sugar.
Alcohol: 35%. Genshu/no pure water added. Unaltered.
Aroma: Fine and discreet.
Taste: Clean, deep taste. Fruity: brown sugar. Almost sweet.
Keeps well with food. Turns drier with food. Shortish tail.
Comments: A fine, elegant shochu, which can be enjoyed for its sake or with food. A very high-level shochu!
Well, that was it for our second trip to Yakushima. Of course the day after was busy with buying tons of souvenirs for the friends back home!