Komoro – Castle, garden and town 小諸
Day 64, November 2016,
I awoke to the realization that Trump was not just a nightmare but, a hard reality, on this bitter morning.
The michi-no-eki ‘Raiden kurumi no sato‘ is surrounded by mountains but there is no significant snow on them.
We decide to start the day with a walk in the gardens of Komoro castle ruins ‘Komoro Kaikoen’. The momiji is very pretty and some white plaster buildings make it all very picturesque but, I can’t help feeling how excited I would have been 30 plus years ago. I still appreciate it but, it doesn’t excite.
There is not much of the castle to see only some walls and a couple of original gates, massive wooden beams and tiled roofs, unusual in the 1500’s. apparently. The castle does not stand on a promontory but the site is cut through with steep ravines which I suppose served the same purpose. There is so little left it’s difficult to visualize how it stood and gauge its actual size.
We wander through the town of Komoro which is a mix of decay and local efforts to encourage tourism; the loan rickshaw walla who, as far as I could judge, gave no rides during the whole time of our visit.
Having missed out on a bath the previous night, we decide to go to the onsen and have lunch there. The onsen ‘Aguri no yu Komoro’ is very busy, given that it is a Thursday lunchtime, but, once inside the place is so big, it does not seem crowded at all. There are two baths inside, the smaller hotter one, at 42 degrees, really warms you up.
The rotenburo (outside bath) provides a good view of Mt. Asamayama so, the overall impression is very favourable. The lunch is reasonably priced and not bad though D. clearly enjoyed her choice more than I mine. It dawns on us slowly that the whole facility is run by JA.
＊Komoro Kaikoen ; 500 yen/adult
＊Aguri no yu Komoro ; 500 yen/adult
Way to Tokyo
After lunch, we set a course for Tokyo, crossing through the mountains at Karuizawa. I have seen these jagged mountains before but, they always demand respect. After Mt. Myogi, the drive deteriorates into a single file procession through Gumma into Saitama. We pass through Honjo where D. spent the summers of her childhood. In the intervening years it has morphed from rice fields into used car lots, pachinko parlours, ramen joints and Aeon.
We stop at michi-no-eki Okabe for the night. I can see D. is uneasy about the place but, to me it is no different from the others, just bigger and more urban. After checking various blogs, she seems to settle whatever worries she had.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.