Thursday, 23 September 2010

Day 6: Kofu - Tsuruse

Distance covered: 28.9km
Weather: Rain

Conscious that I had a long day ahead, I got up at 6am with the aim of leaving my hotel at 7am. Seeing as I was staying at the same hotel that night (I intended to catch the train back to Kofu at the end of the day's walk), I didn't even need to pack, but for some reason I was late getting away and didn't hit the road until 7.15am.

Rain was forecast but for the first couple of hours it was dry and the road flat. I'd left my pack at the hotel and had with me just by bum bag. With no room for my rain jacket and pants, I'd be relying on my folding umbrella if it did rain. After days of having at least one hand free, it felt a bit awkward carrying my water bottle in a plastic bag in one hand and the walking map in the other. Things got really awkward when it did start to rain and I had to hold the umbrella as well. I eventually thought I'd sorted everything out, but then I realized I was missing something: the map! I looked back and saw it on the road about 20m behind me. Luckily I was able to run back and pick it up before it blew away or was run over by a truck.

The vineyards of Katsunuma

I spent the entire day in the Kofu basin, which is famous as a fruit-growing region. Grapes are an especially popular crop, having been grown here for some 800 years ago. Wine production only started in 1890, although today Yamanashi is the number one wine-producing region in the country. The area around Katsunuma in particular is full of vineyards where you can stop to pick your own grapes for eating or taste the local wine. I also saw many excellent kura, including a rare three-storied one and one converted into a wine shop.

After Katsunuma the road started to climb as it approached the Sasago pass, which I'd be walking over the next day. I reached my goal of Tsuruse at 1.30pm and bought lunch at a convenience store before heading to Kai-Yamato station to catch the train back to Kofu. I had to wait 25 minutes for the next train, which to make matters worse was five minutes late (a rarity in Japan). Although the temperature was in the mid-twenties for most of the day, I felt quite cold as I waited on the station platform in the wind and rain. I just hoped the weather would be better the next day, when I'd be making my first foray into the mountains.

No comments: