As expected Myogi RS. turned out to be hot and steamy. There was also some revving of engines and high speed comings and goings. So D. told me. I confess, I slept through most of it. We learn later that Myogi is something of a Mecca for Bosozoku so perhaps it is not such a good place for shachuhaku(sleep in a car) even if handy for Tokyo.
The michi-no-eki itself is fine, overhung by the rock massif of Mt. Myogi. Halfway up, on a crag, there is a clear white kanji ‘Dai’. This, I am told, denotes a shrine; which I am disinclined to visit.
We set off for Tokyo, avoiding major roads but heading for Chichibu. Here there is a shrine we do intend to visit, famous for its fire festival. It is midday when we arrive and very hot.
The office and retail area of the shrine, where D. has her book stamped, (Goshuin), has a system spraying a very fine mist over all. This cooling is most welcome.
The shrine has some interesting plaster work all around the upper walls. These plaques depict various animals plus sumo wrestlers and more. There are some strangely shaped ichou (ginkgo) trees.
There is a pilgrimage route around the town and there are some people, clearly part of this tradition, both in the shrine and the surrounding streets.
The other aspect of Chichibu, which is unmissable, is the large mountain which dominates the town and is being, very obviously, systematically, dismantled by Chichibu Taiheiyo Cement.
We lunch at an udon chain where we are confused by the system. First you get your bowl of noodles, then, shuffling along in the queue, you help yourself to whatever extras you want. The total being calculated on arrival at the cash register. It is efficient, and works smoothly when you understand what the hell you are supposed to do. Very good value too, if not exactly sophisticated dining.
We make Tokyo a little before 4pm. after crawling in traffic here and there. We sleep in a bed, for the first time in almost a month, which is as well as a typhoon passes during the night.
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.