Hina no Sato Katsuura michi no eki
A very quiet night at Hina no Sato Katsuura michi no eki. Ours was the only vehicle in a very large car park and the road, after the evening rush, was largely devoid of traffic. The facilities are reasonable but during the morning busy period prove to be rather too small. This is because the adjoining JA vegetable market is very popular.
This area of Shikoku we have explored on previous trips, so after filling up with fuel, (for some reason I cannot fathom, Tokushima-ken has significantly cheaper fuel than most other places) we head out on the highway across Awaji-shima to Horyuji.
We have crossed Awajishima on the regular roads before and, having time constraints, on this trip take the highway.
Uzushio michi no eki and Onaruto Bridge
We do make a point of stopping at Uzushio michi no eki on the Shikoku end of Awaji-shima. This place is all onions, late 50’s early 60’s pop music and wonderful views of Onaruto Bridge and its famous whirlpools. The shop has a remarkable array of onion products on display, most of which are available for tasting.
It may be a good spot for an overnight, but we have never tried it. For a quiet night, it is possibly to close to Kobe and Osaka. However, it is well worth making the effort to stop here, even if it is just to look at the bridge view and say you had an onion soft cream (fried onion in butter Flavour).
＊onion soft cream ; 330 yen
After weaving our way through the highway systems of Kobe and Osaka we arrive at Horyuji.
This is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in Japan, dating from the 7th. century. The western area of the temple complex boasts the oldest wooden buildings in the world. The scale of the place is a massive hint of the strong Chinese influence on temple architecture. The many statues of the numerous deities are different from later Japanese works and, to my untutored eye, seem less sophisticated. The pagoda is more squat and the roof sections flatter than usual. Whatever, it is a large complex with a lot to see.
＊Horyuji ; 1500 yen / adult
Nara Kenko Land
From the temple we go to Nara Kenko land for a bath. This is a large, commercial enterprise that, in addition to the bath, has restaurants, a pool and I’m sure many other attractions I have no interest in. It is an excellent place to get clean. It is a bit pricey but, fortunately, senior citizens are half price on weekdays.
＊Nara Kenko Land bath ; 1650 yen / adult
Resuty Karako・ Kagi michi no eki
Scrubbed, we crawl through Friday night traffic to Resuty Karako・ Kagi michi no eki. This excellent place we have stayed at twice before. It is modern, clean, quiet and flat. On Friday night of a 3-day weekend, there are at least half a dozen other over-nighters when we arrive at around 7.30. By round 2 am the number is closer to 30.
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.