Day 6

Breakfast was served in the dining hall where we had our own little booth right opposite the buffet. They had our table already setup with an assortment of little dishes. The main attractions were a skewered horse mackerel and the nikujaga, a casserole in a tomato sauce base.

We decided to go for a walk into town and check out a couple of shrines and a cherry blossom park. We arrived at the shrine but weren’t sure where the cherry blossom park was so went past the shrine and up a path that wasn’t well defined into shrubbery. We decided to come down as it wasn’t the right place.

When we came down we bumped into a old Japanese lady and she asked us where we were going. I told her we were looking for the park and she told me we were going the wrong way and took us back to the shrine and pointed the way to get there, through the cemetery in the shrine. She showed us some wild plants along the way she uses to make tempura and she also gave us a quick history of the shrine. She was very cute.

We followed the old lady’s instructions but as we went further there was a gate closing us off from a path further up. We decided to open the gate and it took us to a mini shrine with tori gates. You could see some of the cherry blossoms from the park in the background but we still weren’t at the actual park because we could see the walking path higher up in the distance but didn’t know how to get to it!

We went back down to the road and followed it a bit further and saw another entrance. It was all closed too but the sign said it was only closed for wildlife and we were allowed in. The path up here had an amazing view! The pink cherry blossoms were really bright and stood out from the rest of the landscape. We basically had the park to ourselves too which made for a nice stroll in this sleepy town.

From the park we walked a little further into town and stopped by the visitor centre, we were planning on hiring bicycles from there and going down to a waterfall tomorrow but the lady there said it’s better to walk rather than ride so then we headed back to the ryokan.

We got back, changed in to our yukata and tried another one of the private baths. It’s so nice to relax here with the sound of the running river in the background after a long walk!

After a short rest in our room, we headed to dinner by the river. This time because it was a cold night they prepared overcoats for us to wear while having dinner. Again the warm kotatsu was on so we were very comfortable! There was sashimi, octopus and spring onions, bbq veggies, chicken nabe, steamed egg, rice boiled in broth where we also add a raw egg in, plus other small dishes. Dessert was a glutinous rice skin wrapped around bean paste and a strawberry. This was one of the winners of the night plus the rice broth and of course the sashimi which was sourced from the river. Leaving with full bellies they also gave us onigiri to take to our rooms for a snack later 😍.