Oze Hinoematamura michi-no-eki.
Michi-no-eki Oze Hinoematamura is very good for a restful night but even in mid-August it was cold. The morning temperature was 9 degrees and our thin sleeping bags not enough even with a blanket. Very early, we put the blankets inside the sleeping bags. This makes a world of difference and we sleep well until, at 8am. Then, sun forces us out of the oven.
Today is a driving day, as we plan to skirt round the Oze area to the other, Gunma prefecture, side. This route 252 is a wild ride, until we hit route 17 and the road becomes very dull. Climbing up to and around the Tagokura Dam, on the other hand, was a good drive.
＊michi-no-eki Oze Hinoematamura elevation ; 907m
We lunched inside a Seven Eleven for the first time. Perhaps not the coolest thing to do, except when the temperature is well over 30 degrees, when it is.
As it is Trip Advisor recommended, we drop into michi-no-eki Mitsumata. This has interesting outdoor gear shops, a funky restaurant and a fish pond. However, it didn’t look too good from a shachuhaku point of view.
＊michi-no-eki Mitsumata elevation ; 610m
For our overnight stay, we choose michi-no-eki Shirasawa. Here we find a large complex with kids play area, restaurant, farmer’s market and onsen. Plus, it has a viewing platform from which the surrounding mountains can be appreciated, presumably on clear days. The nearby scenery is more prosaic. To top it all, it is illuminated, but what it does not have is rubbish bins.
Arriving early, we sit on a bench and enjoy a beer after an exacting, if not lengthy, drive. Weather permitting, we plan to walk the Oze wetlands from this, the Gunma, side. As of now, the forecast is good.
＊michi-no-eki Shirasawa elevation; 530m.
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.