One of the most memorable places we visited was Uchiko City or rather it's historical quarter known as Yokaichi Old Town. The elegant merchant houses lining this street were exactly as they were more than a century ago and the place gave us an inkling what life must have been like in the past. Although it was drizzling all the time we were there, our spirits were not dampened...
A memory shared by Soon Kuan...
"It was such a wet day. We braved the rain to walk through the charming old town of Uchiko with well preserved houses. After lunch we decided to rest our feet and set out to find a cafe to have coffee. We stumbled upon a small cafe run by a lady. She painstakingly brewed each a cup of coffee and a cup of hot chocolate for me. It was such a treat because each cup was made with tender loving care."
|Uma gets ready to take a photograph|
|Notice the splendid garden in the background...|
|A store selling hand-made bags made of bamboo. The traditional handicrafts|
were expansive. We learnt later that the cheap stuff were made in China and
actual Japanese handicrafts were expansive.
|Streams and rivers flow through the town, unimpeded|
|Mother's Cafe served a fusion French-Japanese cuisine|
|Gladys had Japanese food at another home-run restaurant|
After Uchiko, our next destination was the Dogo Onsen, located in the city of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture. This bath house is legendary and is said to be over a thousand years old. Dogo Onsen is mentioned in the Man'yoshu (literally 'a thousand leaves'), reputedly the oldest collection of Japanese Poetry, compiled sometime after 759 AD. Ancient princes and poets are said to partake of this hot spring for inspiration and to ease the burdens of the day. A part of the onsen on the top floor, is reserved exclusively for the Imperial family.
|The legendary Dogo Onsen.|
When I saw the the main building of Dogo Onsen it reminded of the bath house/inn depicted in the famous anime, Spirited Away, by Hayao Miyazaki. My suspicion was confirmed by Wikipedia.
|The tea house/onsen in Spirited Away|
|A shop in the arcade which sold merchandise based on Miyazaki's movies|
|Many of the shops sold traditional Japanese handicrafts|