Aizu-Wakamatsu to Nikko
The gorgeous view from Morihime Noen yesterday evening
I was really sad to leave Morihime Noen and Chie-san this morning. I really had a lovely time time there. The food was delicious - freshly picked from her organic veggie patch, the house was beautiful, and the evenings very entertaining. Yesterday evening she went to get her kimonos and dressed me up in them - I felt like a little doll (or a very tall doll actually!).
This morning I set off for Nikko, drivng along little mountain roads through beautiful untouched landscapes. I stopped for lunch at Ouchijiku, a former post town along the road that used to link Edo (modern day Tokyo) to the Tohoku region (Aizu being its gateway). Travelers along the road would stop at Ouchijiku for lunch along the way.
The village was restored to its Edo period glory, complete with thatch roofs and (how delightful!) no visible electrical wires dangling around and spoiling the landscapes like almost everywhere else in Japan.
One of the local specialties is negi soba - soba noodles that you eat using a leek instead of chopsticks. Why you do so is something I really didn’t understand. But why you also only use one leek instead of two... even more of a mystery. A lot of fun though! Although whoever first said that mangoes should be eaten naked in the bath should add negi soba to the list - I managed to get stains on my jeans, top and scarf...
Negi soba and its solitary chop stick
After that I drove the rest of the way to Nikko, where I am staying in a very nice little place, Turtle Inn. More about that tomorrow!
Naturally drying rice at Morihime Noen