Japan Tour 2018 – Day 6 – This is a hot springs area and we have one night in a ryokan which is a Japanese inn. I am sitting on my futon on the floor covered with tatami mats making my daily post. I love the smell of the tatami and think I will sleep well tonight (which is Saturday night). One of our Japanese friends joined us today which was great help getting around.
We took a local bus to Sekikawa a small village in the country side to a see shinafu which is weaving with bark fiber. Bark from tall Japanese linden trees which are cut down are processed by many steps down to fibers about 30 meters long. That’s the length of the bark stripped from the felled tree. This is men’s work we learned from an excellent video all in Japanese (our friend Takako translated details). Then women do all the processing. One of the last steps is to join the lengths of fibers to form yarn for the warp and weft. The join is made with some twisting. It was demonstrated but too much for me to catch. However when looking at the “yarns” you can see the 1/2” or so twisted spots here and there. The photo shows the steps starting with the bark. There were interesting thing on display and many small things to but of the woven cloth and fibers.
This is the road into the village showing mountains and verdant country.
Here is a farmer beginning to plant rice. We finally got a chance to see the tractor up close. We were really in the country. We snatched sandwiches at the train station at Tsuruoka which was good because there were no places to get food let alone coffee. We ate our lunches overlooking the rice farmer while listening to the frogs croaking softly. Peaceful is was.
Here’s the posture for gardening by hand. The woman is spreading out some plants to dry them. One woman spread out hers to dry on the road going into the village—in the left lane of the two lane road. Our bus had to swerve around her. This shows how small the village is.
Along the river in the town (still no place to get a coffee) of Atsumi Onsen where our hotel is there are hot springs around town for soaking your feet. Here is one by the river along side of the sidewalk outside our hotel. A lot of hikers visit the area and come back to soak their tired feet. It was charming and the hot water really felt good. There were towels in a basket to dry our feet.
We had dinner at a little sushi place then headed black to the hotel and a soak in the public bath in the hotel. We put on our cotton kimonos provided and came back after our bath in them, all warm and comfortable.