The morning in Nishi Inaba Kirari is overcast with the sun trying to break through the clouds but it has abandoned the project by 9am.
We had planned to hike on Daisen, but the rain is forecast to begin before we reach the mountain, so we wander around Kurayoshi. This has an area of preserved houses and white plaster walled warehouses (Kura).
These run along a shallow canal crossed by stone slab bridges. It is not as picturesque as Hida Furukawa nor as interesting a place in itself but pleasant enough for a wander.
By the time we leave Kurayoshi and head towards Daisen, the weather is closing in and the snow-capped summit of Daisen is enveloped in cloud. Soon the rain begins in earnest and the whole region is lost in the mist.
We have lunch at michi no eki Inubasari. This would be a fine place for an overnight stay were the toilets a little more modern and extensive. It is, though, a possible choice for shachuhaku the large parking area away form the main road and views over the surrounding mountains.
In the now serious rain, we keep moving, over Eshima Ohashi bridge to Daikonj-ima island on our way to an onsen. This bridge is quite remarkable in its size and steepness though very difficult to photograph.
In the famous Tamatsukuri onsen which is one of the oldest onsen in Japan, (It is said to make the skin beautiful) we selected the Kokusai Tamatsukuri Hotel. This was purely a matter of price.
We find it also serves as a day care centre. The bath is pleasant with a view over Lake Shinji. It is rather small though not crowded. The outside bath has a deep section for walking. A straightforward functional bath but the washing area in the men’s side did stink of drains, a serious downside.
From the onsen we dawdle in rush hour traffic to michi no eki Kirara Taki where we arrive in pouring rain. We have stayed here before. Excellent toilets. A view of the sea from the main building. It is on what is clearly a popular swimming beach in summer. A good place.
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.