Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Day 1: Utsunomiya

Distance covered: 2 km
Weather: Cloudy

I arrived in Utsunomiya on the bullet train from Tokyo just before 2pm. After wandering around the voluminous JR station building for a while (I had not ventured inside it during my only previous visit to the city, in 2014 when I walked the Nikko Kaido), I walked to my hotel and checked in. The weather forecast for the next day said it was going to rain, so with several hours of daylight left I decided to walk the first couple of kilometres of the Oshu Kaido that afternoon, thereby reducing slightly the distance I would have to cover the next day.

After borrowing an umbrella from reception (it was meant to drizzle later in the afternoon), I set off down the main road to the starting point of my walk, the point where the Nikko Kaido and Oshu Kaido deviate. I then ambled back towards my hotel via the Oshu Kaido, which took me off the main road and through a covered shopping arcade for part of the way. I used both my paper map and the Oshu Kaido app I'd bought for my iPhone to guide me, the latter proving useful for identifying my exact location and ensuring I didn't miss any turns.

The drizzle had held off, and so after reaching the intersection of Uekawahara-dori and Route 125 I left the Oshu Kaido and followed the Ta River as far as Ishu no Kura, an old stone storehouse that has been converted into a cafe and restaurant. I'd read about it on the internet just the day before and had considered having a coffee there, but in the end I just had a good look around (a friendly waitress even showed me some of the private rooms that had been set up for intimate dinners that evening) before retracing my steps back to my hotel. I had dinner at a soba restaurant inside the station building before hitting the sack at around 8.30pm, filled with nervous excitement about the following day when my walk was set to begin in earnest.

Ishi no Kura

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In earnest? I thought you were in Japan.