Japan 2019

Day 8: Hashimoto to Hongu

Today was a transport and rest day. I slept well and was up at 7.30 and on the road by 8.45 after a standard hotel breakfast.

I walked the 20 mins to the station, stopped off at the baker to buy some lunch and took the 9.30 train from Hashimoto, for four stops to Gojo. The train departed on time, which meant I had 40 mins in Gojo to wait for the 301 bus to take me back to Hongu.

The 301 is the longest bus route in Japan from Yamata to Shingu, leaving Yamata at 9.15 and arriving in Shingu at 15.47 – it is a bus route because a bus is used not a coach. During Golden week two buses run instead of one to make sure there is room for everybody.

There were some magnificent views on the way, plus many stops and starts to let cars pass by, and as we got deeper into the countryside, the bus even had to back on occassions so traffic in the opposite direction could pass.

There was a 20 min break for the drivers at Tanize, the site of Japans longest suspension bridge. It is just enough time to walk across and back. But not today, being Golden Week there was a 40 min queue to get onto the bridge – they restrict the number of people on the bridge at any time.

I spoke to a Japanese lady who was on her way to Totsukawa Onsen, where I spent day 3. She had left Tokyo at 2.00 to get to Totsukawa by 13.00. She had read music in Germany and Austria and played a traditional Japanese instrument she always carried with her. She asked how long I would be in Japan, and told me that she had never held 3 weeks vacation at one time.

At Totsukawa, the bus I was on terminated and I had to get on the other bus that continued all the way to Hongu. The driver announced the sites on the way and drove slowly past a dam and waterfall so we passengers could see them. A lady gave the driver her lunch box which she hadn’t eaten as she got off the bus.

I arrived at Hongu in beautiful weather, 22 degrees and sunny. I spoke to the information office for information of the Ise to Shingu route I will be starting on Monday, and they gave me the info the had. Next up was the worlds largest Torii gate.

The gate is 33.9 meters tall and 42 meters wide and is the formal entrance to the Hongu Taisha Shrine. This Torii is called Otorii, O means “big”. It was erected in the year 2000 and is made of steel. It took 6 months to build and 6 months to errect.

The next bus to Kawaga Onsen, where Minshuku Tateishi is situated, was over one hour away, so I decided to walk up the many steps to the shrine. If I hadn’t understood before, then now it was obvious that the Japanese are on vacation. The queue to visit the shrine went half way down the stairs – 3 times longer than on the picture – it reminded me of being at Disney! I didn’t bother queueing, but sat in the sun at the bus stop.


I was first in line, but by the time the bus came, the queue was 50m long. How everybody got on the bus I have no idea – but I do know that it was difficult to get off the bus when it was my stop.

There was a queue for the bath, so they gave me a ticket for the public onsen next door. This was by far the hottest water in an onsen I have ever experienced! The flags from the Japanese Football Association below, were in the Wakayama regional museum in Hongu, together with 8 or so signed footballs. Odd that they are in a museum, but they attracted a lot of attention.

Dinner here was excellent, I would say the best I have experienced so far. And I had a pleasant conversation with an Australian couple on their way to London to meet their son.

Despite it being a rest day I managed to walk a leisurely 7 km, but my watch isn’t happy and complaining that I need to do more.

2 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Kim B says:

    Wauw, I thought that I had already seen quite a few extraordinary large torii gates. But they must be slightly smaller than the one in Hongu 😉

    Maybe your next project should be a cook book? You have a lot of the photos in place al ready.

    Enjoy the golden week!



  2. Steven Bloom says:

    Hi Kim, but then I would need to learn how to cook like the Japanese, so probably best to leave it to them. But a good idea to bring home!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *