Wet night and a wet morning. We leave michi-no-eki Nishiyama Koen, which is very new and clean and head for Tsuruga, Mikata-goko (five lakes) and three nuclear power stations. The Rainbow Skyline toll road did not provide a rainbow due no doubt to the total absence of sunshine. For some reason, the toll road is half price perhaps because of the typhoon the effects which are everywhere evident. It is a pleasant drive with good views and we eat lunch looking out over the sea, high on a headland, in a deserted car park.
At our next stop to admire the scenery, we spot a large flock of Bramblings. Invisible at first in the undergrowth but, as they take to the air, it is as if they appear by magic. Birds just materializing in front of you, before they fly off. We also spot a woodpecker, probably a greater spotted, and a couple of monkeys. Later, down by the lakes, we see coots, a pair of common sandpipers and a little grebe.
As we drive on we note several places where landslides have occurred. Occasionally, the road is restricted to one lane as debris is cleared away. We reach Ine in Tango Peninsula at dusk. The michi-no-eki Ine is in an excellent location with a wonderful view over the bay and the village of Ine down below across the harbour. We are admiring this peaceful scene in the dying light of the day, the elusive sun just a smudge of red in the banks of dark cloud when a thrashing in the trees just to our right, and surprise, reveals another monkey.
Although the elevated situation gives the michi-no-eki a splendid view, unfortunately the toilet is not so good. In fact a bit naff, with lavender wall tiles and sky-blue floor – soo Showa. There is some construction under way and I suspect the RS will be very good with brand new toilets in a few weeks.
A beautiful morning in michi no eki Ine with a fine view over Ine. We start with a walk through the village. This now has no through traffic which must be a boon to the residents. We used to ride our motorcycle through here regularly in the summers of 35 years ago.
Ine is an interesting place. The houses on the seaward side of the road have boat houses open to the sea under the residential part of the house. The whole village is a preservation area and a few buildings date from the late Edo period though most are early Showa. I think the village featured in some TV drama as it has become much more famous in recent years.
Tango Peninsula, Kyoto by the sea
After Ine we drive R.178 around Tango Peninsula which has many new roads and tunnels but we try to follow the old road as much as possible. This is difficult in places but affords us some spectacular scenery of a rugged volcanic coastline that differs from the Noto Peninsula. At one point we spot a small American military base that was definitely not there last year when we passed this way. We suspect it has to do with tension on the Korean peninsula. We have lunch overlooking the water at Kumihama and very peaceful it is in the rare sunshine. An Ou (Cormorant) and a red necked Grebe are diving.
Michi-no-eki Kinanse Iwami
We check the michi-no-eki Kinanse Iwami. This is very new but not conducive to staying. It has a convenience store and there is a supermarket next door but the parking is limited. It is also in the middle of town and too open to feel comfortable for the night. On the other hand, there has never been a problem wherever we have stayed.
Tottori Poka Poka Onsen
In the event we press on to Tottori and go to Tottori Poka Poka Onsen. This is much better than the name might suggest. It is large, new and has a variety of different baths. It is a city onsen so the rotenburo has no view. I was felling pressed for time so did not sample all there was but a very good place for a very necessary wash.
＊Tottori Pokapoka onsen ; 700 yen / adult
Michi-no-eki Shinwa no Sato Shiro Usagi
Leaving Tottori city, we head out on Route 9 stopping at Shinwa no Sato Shiro Usagi. This is a large michi-no-eki on R.9 but with the building between the road and the parking so a little quieter than one might expect. It was well after dark when we arrived so the surroundings were uncertain. I suspect the sea is across the other side of R.9. Not a very pleasant place, but there are other people staying here.
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.