Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Our first two days in Shonai - part 1

Yesterday, we left our friends in Yamagata city and headed for Shonai, first to Sakata and then Yuza.  The first part of our trip was by the Tsubasa Shinkansen.

Emily and Hiroko at Yamagata station.

We had about 20 minutes to change trains at Shinjo, so I nipped out through the barriers to take a photo of one of the Shinjo Matsuri festival floats displayed in the station lobby.

The colour of the countryside is so different from May, so many shades of green and the rice fields are a lovely golden green colour.

This is the Sanno Club in Sakata, where Yuza Sashiko Guild's exhibition is running until September 30th.

It is a Meiji era restaurant where the local geisha entertained.  There are many beautiful smaller rooms as well as the large room with a stage (originally for dance performances?) where the sashiko exhibition is located.

Yumeji Takahisa visited the Sanno Club in its heyday.

It was quite hot but we walked from the club to Kyu Abumiuya, a late Edo era merchants house rebuilt after the great fire in Sakata in 1845.

On the way, we passed Maruhon, an art shop/stationers where I used to shop, and Shimizuya department store.  The middle of Sakata felt a bit quiet and Shimizuya didn't feel as glamorous as it used to.  I think the city centre is suffering a bit from out of town shopping centres now.

Emily with Keiko Ishikawa at Kyu Abumiya.

The house was used as a location for the recent movie version of Oshin.

We continued to the Former Honma Family Residence, a house which combines samurai and merchant styles.  No photos allowed inside unfortunately, so I can't show you much about it. 

Mount Chokai looked splendid on our drive to Yuza.

This morning, we returned to Sakata to make our reservations for the Max Toki Shinkansen on Saturday.

Then we went to Mount Haguro.  I wondered if we were a bit crazy to attempt the climb, after our visit to Yamadera on Saturday, when it was quite hot, but it wasn't anything like as hot at Haguro.   Plus most of the climb is shaded by the cedar trees.  There are 2446 steps, more than double the number at Yamadera (Wikipedia gives the wrong number).



Last time I climbed the mountain, in 2006, they were painting the bridge - see the photo below. I wondered if that was the last time it was done? At least it wasn't raining today!  Glyn climbed the mountain last time we were here.


The tea shop just over half way up is very welcome and there's a great view of Shonai.  We got our certificates for climbing the steps there too.

Two hours and 2446 steps and a lot of photos after our start, we were at the top!

I'll add the other part tomorrow - feeling rather tired from the climb now...

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