Michi no eki Syukuba Machi Hirafuku was busy with trucks pulling in and out during the night. However, the truck parking is a little separate so no real problem.
In the morning we wander around Hirafuku. The town is set in a picturesque spot and has castle ruins, visible on the top of a hill.
The occasional ray of sunshine catches the autumn colours on the hillside, but it is a cold, grey morning for the most part. Our circuit of Hirafuku complete, we head off to Tsuyama.
In Tsuyama we walk around the Joto area with its preserved, traditional buildings. There is an old merchant’s house that is rather beautiful. It also has a small, attractive garden, but there was no water in the pond. I hope that is only temporary.
This small town was also the birthplace of an important doctor and intellectual from the late Edo period. He acted as an interpreter for Admiral Perry of Black Ships fame. There was a relatively large museum dedicated to this gentleman, as an “Archive of Western Learning”.
There was little else of interest in the street though some restoration work was in progress. I suspect the local authority is hoping to create a more well-known tourist pull but have some way to go.
Scenic drive in dappled sunlight
For the rest of the day we drive through light, hazy rain and sunshine alternating rapidly as the wind is strong. This changing play of light on the autumnal hillsides and, the rice stubble fields, greening over, makes a very pretty picture. The large farmhouses with their ornate, black tiled roofs and fancy, white plasterwork complete the picturesque making this a very enjoyable, scenic drive.
Toyohira Dongurimura michi no eki
Well after dark, we pull into one of the many car parks at Toyohira Dongurimura michi no eki to discover a very primitive toilet. Even the handicapped facility is basic. This place has a multitude of functions, sports fields gym etc. but as a michi no eki for shachuhaku, not recommended. Never mind, tomorrow we will be home.
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.