Kaga City - The Hot Spring Resort Area.
Let's start why this place was one of my most memorable and craziest part of my journey. First thing first, a google map screenshot. The entire plan was, take the very first train from Sendai, Tohoku all the way down to Shinanoomachi station at Nagano, do the Tateyama Alpine Route and then to my hotel at Kaga City. (I thought this was a good plan and I didn't realise how crazy I was!).
If you look below, yes from that right side of the map to the left side of the map. That was essentially my 1 day trip that I suppose to make. Who on the right mind will take it right! I did! Thank goodness for Japan shinkansen! I was suppose to enjoy half the day via Tateyama Alpine Route. Check that post if you have yet to read it!
Once I finished with Tateyama that's another 3 hours to Kaga and I honestly thought there will be public transport carrying me to Kaga from the nearest train station. Oh how wrong I was! By the time I reach Tateyama and re-checked for my journey, there wasn't anything else near to Kaga.
So that brought me to this situation. The nearest one was Iburishashi at the bottom part of the picture. I have to find my way somewhere towards my hotel on the upper left. At first I thought yeah okay I will just take a taxi then from Iburishashi. The bleak sad truth was, that station was so small and in the middle of nowhere, there wasn't even a train personnel that manned the station!! That instant FML and TIFU (Today I F*c**d Up for those wondering what it stands for) moment. So the only thing I could do was to walk. Pretty insane now that I think about it. (The distance was roughly 6 or so km from memory). The worst part was I was carrying my huge backpack and my full camera bag which weigh around 40 to 50kg in total and I was totally tired.
The entire walk was pure darkness and the only light source was the moon. There was only 1 to 2 cars passing by for every 30 mins. I even try to hitch hike but I guess who will trust a stranger in the middle of the night lugging around 2 backpacks right.
When I was walking at night, I thought it was just a flat field and I got to hear the sound of frog and some insects. That was the longest and most tiring walk I've ever done so far and I was just so fortunate that I made it to the hotel after 1.5 to 2 hours walk.
The next morning, I decided to walk back to take a look at where I was the previous night. No where in my wildest dream that it was actually rows after rows of rice field. The picture below was roughly the path where I walked previously. Just imagine when it is night time. Oh man!
So now this is all about Kaga. It is a hot spring resort resort in a very small city. There are hotels everywhere and its a very local place which mean that they are very few foreign tourist here. From my experience I'm probably the only one in town on those few days.
What you see below is the source of hot spring. All the hotels get their hot spring from this particular building. The water there stays warm / hot all year round. Pretty cool eh? No one take bathing more seriously than the Japanese.
The city was just empty, closer to ghost town really. I was walking around in the day and there is not much movement. Most of the people stay inside their hotel to enjoy everything.
No car, nothing. It was extremely peaceful and enjoyable. Really different from the bustling Tokyo. Its pretty surreal isn't it?
This small shrine was out in the lake. Pretty awesome place. I really do miss it.