Itoigawa - the final leg
A small stone carving for a good marriage.
I met THE Thomas Koehler at Hotel Kunitomi Suisenkaku yesterday! It was great to be able to finally meet the man who started it all, in person. We had dinner together before retiring for the night.
With Thomas and Markus.
Today marks the end of the tour with many activities lined up for both Karolina and I. I started my walk on the Salt Road with many of the tour’s supporters and organisers. The view along the way was absolutely gorgeous, thanks to the perfect weather conditions. We were also able to see Yake-yama, an active volcano. We were taking so many pictures, that at one point, we were lagging behind, and were almost going to be late in meeting Karolina! We managed to make up for lost time by having a quick soba lunch. Soon, we arrived at the Fossa Magna Park where I was able to see Karolina again after a month. I was definitely happy to see her again and it was a sweet reunion.
The salt road marker.
Yake-yama with snow on the top.
On my route, we had one guide whose family carried salt along the salt route. He definitely looked the seasoned professional and was very knowledgeable about the fauna on the route. He and other staff from Itoigawa Geopark were pointing out edible fruit and mushrooms, picking them for us to try (the fruit were delicious but I didn’t try the mushrooms.)
He made a boat from a leaf!
There was a short ceremony at the Fossa Magna Park, and a speech by the Mayor of Itoigawa. We also posed for what felt like 33,037 pictures (a million would be an exaggeration) at the ceremony. There was also a taiko performance at the ceremony which was very impressive to watch and listen, easily my favourite part of the ceremony.
The taiko performance was very cool.
We then headed to our final hotel, Hotel Kunitomi Annex. There was a reception at the hotel to wrap up the Tour. It was great to see most of the people we met at the Kick Off Ceremony at the Swiss Embassy once more here in Itoigawa. Things have come a complete circle!
Posing with our darumas.
My graduation cert!
I’m glad that Karolina and I successfully completed the Tour. This month has flown by for me, and I’ll treasure the friendship with all the people I’ve met, the different experiences and memories. If given another chance, I’d would love to be able to do this again.
With the Itoigawa mascots.
With the AJRA representatives.
I don't know how to read a shamisen score.
Group photo at the Fossa Magna Park
The white jagged line behind us is where east meets west.
The power lines look like cows to me.
Camera crew following us in a taxi (I didn't think we were walking that fast..)
Kiwi no moto.
Mata tabi, named because they give you enough energy to travel (tabi) again (mata)
The group walking the old salt route.
The view is just gorgeous.
All aboard the party bus to the start point.
Thanks for all the kindness, friendship, and memories. I love Japan!