The Hayato Otaki Waterfall with the height of 50 m is in the upstream of the Hayato River in Tukui-cho Toya, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The Hayato River, which springs out of the northeastern part of Tanzawa Mountains, collects water in the mountains of Hirugatake (1673 m) through Tanzawa Mitsumine and flows down into Lake Miyagase.
Though the waterfall is selected as one of Japan’s 100 fine Waterfalls, it is not known to people living in the areas even around Tokyo. As the waterfall is composed of the two parts; the 40 m upper fall and the 10 m lower fall, and a huge rock is protruding in the midst of the upper fall, the whole part of the waterfall cannot be seen. Also there is no arranged trail leading to the waterfall, so it is very hard to get close to it. For these reasons, the Hayato Waterfall is called “the Visionary Waterfall,” which is rarely visited by people.
Cape Gorota is a rocky cape located in Funadomari-mura, Rebun-cho on the Northern part of Rebun Island in Hokkaido. In the Ainu language, it is called “Kamui Kotan (the place where the god lives),” which is usually given to dangerous places along rivers and coasts. The cape located at 176 m above sea level consists of the cliff protruding to the westward. You can command a panoramic view of Todo Island, Lake Kushu, Mt. Rebun and Mt. Rishiri (Rishiri-Fuji). The cape looks like a dinosaur lying along the coast. Walking down the promenade to the south, you will get to Gorota Beach and Teppu Beach farther away. Here at Cape Gorota you will encounter the beautiful sky, sea, flowers and winds and fully enjoy the natural beauty.
Wadajuku Honjin was honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) of Wadajuku post station on the Nakasendo Road. Located at the entrance to the Wada Pass, which was the hardest chokepoint on the Nakasendo Road at the time, most travelers stayed at this post town before climbing up to Wada Pass.
Wadajuku honjin was constructed in 1861, but destroyed by fire in the same year. In this year, however, the procession of Princess Kazunomiya was to stay at Wadajuku on her journey to Edo, where she was going to be married to the 14th Tokugawa Shogun. Consequently, money was lent from the Shogunate and the honjin was reconstructed in as short a time as four months.
After the Meiji Restoration, the system of honjin was abolished, but the building had been used as the town hall until 1984, when the town office moved to another place and the building was to be dismantled. However, its historical and architectural values were acknowledged and the building was rebuilt after dismantling. Presently, only the residence of the proprietor has been restored and preserved. Wadajuku is one of the few post stations where such a large-scale honjin remains to the present day.
Sakashita-juku was the 47th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). It was located in the western part of present Kameyama City in Mie Prefecture and at the eastern foot of Suzuka Pass, which was in the border of present Mie and Shiga Prefectures and was a famous choke point of the Tokaido Road, being ranked with Hakone Pass.
The post town was originally located near Katayama Shrine right at the foot of the pass. However, as the town was destroyed by the avalanche of rocks and earth caused by the flood of 1650, it was moved to the present place. With a large inns including the honjin (exclusive to daimyo and nobilities) and the sub-honjin lining along the road, the town was so thriving as to be sung in a magouta (packhorse driver’s song), which meant “Otakeya, the honjin, is too prestigious for us, commoners, but I wish I could stay at Kotakeya, the sub-honjin, at least.”
Once, Ando Hiroshige, a famous Ukiyoe painter in the Edo period, painted a picture of the town after the relocation. In this picture, Hiroshige successfully expressed the steepness of Mt. Fudesuteyama (literally meaning “giving up a paint brush mountain”), which had been named after the episode that a master painter of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Kano Motonobu, threw away his painting brush because he could not express the beauty of the mountain.
Tsuchiyama-juku was the 43rd of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road. It is now ex-Tsuchiyama-cho in Koga City, Shiga Prefecture. The post station was located at the western foot of Suzuka Pass, which was a famous choke point of the Tokaido Road. As was sung in an old popular song, there was high rainfall in this area. Ando Hiroshige, a famous Ukiyoe painter in the Edo period (1603-186), also painted a picture “Spring Rain in Tsuchiyama,” in which a line of travelers are walking hurriedly in a pouring rain with their heads keeping down. Today, there are several historical spots such as the ruins of the honjin (the lodging for daimyo and nobilities) and other inns, an ancient milestone of the Tokaido Road, and a row of pine trees.
Seki-juku, with “seki” meaning checkpoint, was a post town with a checkpoint as the name suggests. However, it was not a checkpoint in Edo period, but was built in 672 at the time of Jinshin War. It was known as Suzuka no Seki at that time and was referred to as one of Three Great Checkpoints in ancient Japan, along with Arachi in Echizen and Fuwa in Minou. The checkpoints were abolished in 789.
During the Middle Ages, under the control of Seki Clan, the town developed around Jizou-in Temple first as a temple town and later prospered as a post town.
In 1601 (Edo period), Tokugawa government brought back the checkpoint system and Seki-juku became the 47th post town starting from Shinagawa-juku, covering the present areas of Kizaki, Nakamachi and Shinjo in Seki Town, Kameyama, Mie Prefecture. The area is the only post town along Fifty-three Sations of the Toukaidou where stores and houses from ancient times still remain intact. Since it was designated as an Important Cultural Buildings Preservation District in 1984, the town has been reinventing itself utilizing and preserving unique local historical assets.
Seki-juku post town consist of four boroughs each with unique characteristics; Kizaki, where a line of low rise housing exists: Nakamachi with “honjin” (inns for lords and samurai) , “hatago” (inns for general people) and wholesalers gathered: Shinjo, an area in front of Jizou-in Temple: Kitaura where there are many temples and shrines.
Nomugi Pass is where many girls aged around 13 climbed over in the heavy snow at the risk of their lives to work in silk mills in the Shinshu region such as the towns of Okaya and Suwa. Having taken a rest at the tea house called “Otasuke Jaya (Saving Tea House),” the girls went down through the bushes of tall groundcover bamboo and headed for the Shinshu and Hida regions.
Now from the top of the pass, you can command a panoramic view of Mt. Norikura in the north and Mt. Ontakesan in the south. The bamboo (Sasa veitchii) growing in this pass was called “Nomugi (wild oats)” because it comes into ear once every 10 years, and it looks like a wheatear, from which the name of the pass was derived.
Of the 69 stops along the old Nakasendo highway, Otajuku is the 51st post town, counting from the Itabashi end. Otajuku prospered because of its strategic location right before the Otanowatashi, one of the three most gruelling sections of the highway. It was also sited before the highway forked into the Hida and Gujo highways.
Otajuku spreads 680m east to west along the highway, and preserves much of its historic architecture and scenery, allowing visitors to enjoy the old atmosphere while strolling the streets. After walking past the Matsugata and entering the Former Nakasendo Highway village, the remains of the Honjin Gate are to the left, while on the right is a side building open to the public.
In the vicinity is Yusen-ji Temple, famous for its Waterfall Kannon legend, the grave of Banryu-Shonin, and monuments commemorating the poems of Shoyo Tsubochi, Hakushu Kitahara and Matsuo Basho. In the old days, travellers leaving Otajuku would cross the Kiso River at Otanowatashi, and head for Fushimi and Mitake.