Suikoen Hotel entrance in Sumatakyo
The Missus and I finally found a couple of days off work to go to a favourite destination of ours: Hotsprings.
Shizuoka Prefecture is probably the most famous region in Japan for such a venue.
Hotels, Ryokans (inns) and Minshuku (Pensions) can wildly vary in prices, services and meals served, but my other half is a wizard (sorry, witch!) when it comes to find out the best deal out of the Internet.
She planned the whole trip as my experience has taught me it is better this way in spite of all the grumbling (why do I have to do everything?….).
The following three articles are a journal of the two days spent together (in bliss?) along the railway tracks and mountain lanes in search for simple pleasures!
Kanaya Railway Station, Oi River Railroad (minuscule!)
We left Shizuoka City (Higashi Shizuoka Station) at 09:56 and reached Kanaya Station at 10:34 using the Tokaido Railway Line.
Before buying our tickets, we checked with the small food stand at Kanaya Oi River Railroad Station (next to Kanaya Station) as they always sell good local ekiben/railway line bento!
Large signs across the track made sure you know your destination!
We ignored the SL train as we were planning to board it on our return and instead used the diesel-pulled train. No need to say that all trains along the Oi River Railroad track are crowded with train buffs on week-ends!
That railroad is mainly a single-track line except inside stations (and not all at that!).
My bento box!
I wrote an extensive article at Ekiben/Railway Station Lunch Boxes-Bento 8!
It even contained a postcard!
The food inside!
The bento chosen by the Missus!
The food inside!
Cute SL train-shaped soy sauce container!
Green tea rasks for dessert!
Kawane Green tea to washi it down. Don’t forget that Shizuoka Prefecture produces more than 45% of all green tea in Japan and the area we are going to cross on our way, Kawane, is the major green tea producing area!
Although the train runs along the Oi River between montains, thereis plenty of place for (tea) farming.
Tea fields everywhere!
This is the season and farmers are busy even on Sunday! You will find very few recreation spaces there as farmers are just too tired at the end of the day!
The Oi River has always been a major river in Japan! For once the weather was clement!
Wherever you go in Jpaan, you will discover ball parks where Elementary School kids are eager to show off their new uniforms!
We left Kanaya at 10:49 to reach Senzu Station, the last station for that particular train. Nice natural decoration!
A view of Senzu Station, which stands pretty high in the South Japanese Alps!
We had arrived at Senzu Station 12:04 and still had sometime before taking the bus to Sumatakyo at 13:30. We were getting a bit hungry. Luckily we noticed a gentleman grilling/bbq-ing large yamame!
Yamame (山女 or “Mountain Woman” in Japanese!) is a kind of trout, either called Japanese trout or Seema.
One can either eat wild ones or pond-raised ones. These fat samples are raised in local ponds fed with fresh mountain waters. Griiled with salt/shoyaki/塩焼き, they are succulent. You can eat the skin, too!
Almost “next door” to Senzu Station stands a very interesting museum dedicated to sound in their many form, natural or devised.
The place is called Otogi No Sato/Sound Village.
Check their (Japanese) HOMEPAGE.
I was particularly interested in the “percussion faces”.
Another one for a music-loving dentist?
Another one for hard hitting!
We finally reached our destination Suikoen Spa Hotel at 14:10.
Now, who is that lady?
Check the Hotel Homepage for more information (Japanese)!
I can assure you they will never lack water to turn that wheel!
Hotel lobby sitting room.
The lobby seen from the inside courtyard.
The same from another angle.
A small but scenic courtyard, indeed, with the nearby wooded mountains.
A small carp pond, naturally!
A traditional irori/囲炉裏 with a real charcoal fire!
As we still had plenty of time until dinner (served at 18:00, a bit early by Western standards!), we took the opportunity to visit the locality!
A traditonal minshuku/民宿 or pension.
Narrow streets with plenty of verdant nature!
Rivers and waterfalls running through the village!
Traditional Houses and shops.
And then it was time for dinner, but that is for Part 2!
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