Today, as I finish walking the Tokaido Highway, I discovered a ceiling river between Minaguchi-juku and Ishibe-juku.
I found a Minaguchi stone that was used in a contest of strength! It is said to have appeared in an ukiyoe painting by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
I was suddenly curious about what kind of ukiyoe Hiroshige had painted in Minaguchi, so I looked it up.
I found that he had drawn the famous Kanpyo (dried gourd). Oops. I should have bought some kanpyo rolls at the supermarket where I went to buy dinner yesterday!
The restored Hayashiguchi Ichirizuka is the 113th ri of Ichirizuka.
Walking along the paddy field and wheat field road, I soon came to “Izumi Ichirizuka” (114 ri). This mound was also constructed as a monument.
The last “Goryo Iturizuka” on the Tokaido Highway is 124 ri, so in about 10 more ri, my journey on the Tokaido Highway will come to an end. I was starting to feel a little sad.
In the Edo period, the Yasu River was crossed by the Yokota Ferry. This is one of the 13 ferry crossings of the Tokaido. However, the ferry was used from March to September, and an earthen bridge was used from October to the following February. The Yokota no Ferry Park has the Yokota no Ferry Standing Night Lamp, said to be the largest in Japan.
After crossing the Yasu River, there is the Yokota Night Light. When I crossed the Yokota Bridge, I went out beyond this standing nightlight and went out of my way to take pictures of it, thinking that not many people would come back. It was built more than 50 years before the Great Standing Night Light.
As I entered Ishibe-juku, I saw many cars speeding down the narrow streets. There were students commuting to school, but they didn’t care. I was so busy trying to keep myself safe that I couldn’t take pictures as I wanted to.
In the middle of all this, there were two places where we passed through tunnels with massive arch rings. According to the guidebook, water runs through the tunnel, so I assumed it was for agricultural use.
But later I found out that these were tunnels through the ceiling river, the Osunagawa Tunnel and the Yurayagawa Tunnel.
So this is the ceiling river! I knew of its existence from textbooks, but this was the first time I had seen it.
After Ishibe Station, the Tokaido Highway divides into the Uemichi and the Shitamichi.
Since the Uemichi is the main road, I decided to take the Uemichi.
If you bypass the remains of the gold mine from the south, you can see Mikami-yama (Omi Fuji) in front of you. It is a well-balanced shape.
The nightingales are singing everywhere, and it is peaceful.
As I walked along the road along the Kusatsu Line tracks, I saw a pile of wooden cars in front of a house. Was it a hobby or a practical use? I don’t know what they are for, but I was strangely interested in them.
I was about to take a picture of the magnificent building of the old Wanchu-San Honpo, when a newspaper delivery lady or something came into my angle of view. If I had waited a little longer, she would have left the picture angle, but I was going to walk almost 60 kilometers today, so I didn’t want to miss a second, so I just took the picture.
This one was walking and the other one was delivering a bicycle, and our speeds were almost the same, so we were passing each other for a while.
“We found Rokujizo Ichirizuka (117 ri) and Megawa Ichirizuka (118 ri) one after the other! The time between the two was 47 minutes. I have to walk more than 50km today, so I have to keep a high pace.
I knew that the Kusatsu River is a ceiling river. As I crossed the Kusatsu River Bridge, I looked at the river with high expectations, but I was a bit disappointed to see that it was just a dry river, and the river bottom did not seem to be higher than the surrounding area.
Until I set foot in Kusatsu-juku, I had assumed that Kusatsu-juku and Kusatsu Onsen were the same thing. Actually, they are not. No wonder I couldn’t find any onsen.
There was the main camp. I really wanted to see the inside and say hello to Hosokawa Ecchu-no-kami, who was staying with us today, but I hurried on.
I found the ruins of Noji Ichirizuka (119 ri) and Tsukinowaike Ichirizuka (120 ri)! It took me 45 minutes to walk 1 ri between them, which is a pretty fast pace of 5.2 km/h.
Suddenly, I found myself at Setakarabashi Bridge. It was Lake Biwa all of a sudden.
I had a relatively clean image of Lake Biwa, but it was a bit smelly.
Perhaps because of its proximity to Kyoto, the way the house is built seems to be slightly different from what I have seen before. In particular, I did not understand the meaning of the object under this window.
The correct answer is “Inuyarai”. It is said to be a device to prevent the house from being damaged by the excrement of dogs and cats.
As I walked along, thinking that I had missed the monument to the Otsu Incident, the road gradually started to climb. This is Osaka.
There are three shrines dedicated to Semimaru, who is immensely popular in Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. This is the lower shrine. There is a railroad track running in front of the torii gate. I’ve seen roads before, but railroad tracks are rare.
The road from Otsu to Kyoto is narrow and National Route 1 is a lifeline.
The road leading to the Osaka barrier is narrow, so I understood the idea of leaving the barrier in place.
Yamashina Oiwake is the junction with the Osaka Road, which splits off to the left.
I looked for a signpost, but couldn’t find one. There was a sign saying that it had been destroyed by a car. But the real one is in Biwako Bunka Kaikan and seems to be safe.
Passing under the Tokaido Main Line, I look for the path to the old road from Route 1. Because of the kabuki gate, it is easy to assume that this is the old highway, but in fact, the old highway is one more path ahead. Isn’t there someone who makes a mistake?
I found the remains of the wedding hall of Sakamoto Ryoma and Oryo! The trip to Kagoshima that they took after their wedding here was the first honeymoon in Japan. But I’m sure they were there much earlier, just not recorded.
Sanjo Ohashi Bridge
At last we see the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge!
The name of the bridge is not attached to the main pillar. Is it really the Sanjo Bridge?
The surrounding signs say Sanjo Bridge, so I guess it must be. Yay!
I wanted to ask someone to take a commemorative photo, but there was no one stopping me.
There are a lot of people stopping to take pictures in Nihonbashi in Tokyo.
I had no choice but to ask a foreigner in English to take my picture.
Initially, I was planning to stay in Kyoto for one night and go sightseeing in Kyoto and Nara before returning home.
However, although there were famous shrines and temples along the way, I hardly visited any of them. Thinking that there was nothing special to see only the shrines and temples of Kyoto and Nara, I bought some five-colored beans and dried yatsuhashi and immediately got on the Shinkansen to go home.
It took me two hours and twenty minutes to get back, even though it took me fifteen days to walk.
Course: Minaguchi-juku → Ishibe-juku → Kusatsu-juku → Otsu-juku → Sanjo-ohashi
Expenses: 22,852 (including souvenir and Shinkansen fare)