As I told you last time, it’s time to slow down the pace since the programme of today fully illustrates what the “slow life” or sweetness of life is… Japanese version!
During or japanese road-trip, we left Matsuyama toward the prefecture of Kōchi and the district of Nagafuchi in the small town of Ōtoyo. The idea was to cut the road between Matsuyama and Takamatsu and what a wonderful step it was!
Small detour by Imabari
Before our arrival, I’ll let you admire some pictures taken on the way to Ōtoyo. At the beginning, we thought we would spend several days riding around Shimanami Kaido by bike (=a bike path that connects the town of Imabari to Onomichi, near Hiroshima).
But laziness makes things well, change of program! Instead, we were going to discover this hundred-year-old house in which we spent a night and which finally turned out to be one of my best memories of this road-trip.
However, we still made the detour to admire the bridge over the Seto Sea. If you have more time (and motivation than us) the crossing by bike can be planned in 1 or 2 days (depending on your physical performance) and it seems that the islands, villages and fishing ports crossed on the way are worth a look.
The guest house in the mountains
Once again, I would like to thank my SO who is at the origin of this find lost in the mountains… so lost that we had a lot of trouble finding the house, even with the GPS. But a call to the owners and with a nice neighbor coming to meet us, we finally arrived safely.
Welcomed by the smiles of Yumiko and her husband Daisuke, we immediately felt that we were going to have a good time.
The time to leave our things on the big tatami in the room, Daisuke showed us the house, which is more than 100 years old, decorated in a very simple and minimalist way but in which reigns a cosy atmosphere.
The view of the gorge is probably the main reason for this, not to mention the quietness of the place, but it is also disturbed by a (very) early morning crowing of the rooster.
The couple, who’d lived a few years ago in Tokyo, wanted to escape the stress of the city to reconnect with nature in order to raise their two boys in the most serene conditions possible.
Upon our arrival, the two boys, who soon returned from school, frolicked in the garden and settled down to do their homework on the living room table, not at all disturbed by the noise of our discussions.
Daisuke showed us the bathroom and toilets located in a small hut outside the main building. I have to admit that I begged my bladder not to get up at night (I already imagined myself stumbling on the small, dimly lit, gravel path half asleep) and my prayers were fortunately heard.
We also visited the surrounding fields: rice and tea cultivated in these heights. Everything that is consumed by the inhabitants is produced nearby: it could not be more local!
Yumiko invited us into her kitchen when she was preparing dinner. On the menu, tonkatsu breaded pork (pork from the neighboring farm) accompanied by rice, soup (Pink potato soup if my memories are good) and vegetables and herbs from the garden. Her husband was in charge of watching the rice cooking in a pot.
Watching Yumiko delicately carve vegetables and lemon, we talked and exchanged about our very different daily life, to the sound of the pork frying and the carrots and corn frying in the pan. As Yumiko speaks very good English, we didn’t have to use our hands or google translate.
It was then time to go to the dining table, sitting on the tatami. Itadakimasu! I still remember the crispy melting of the tonkatsu as well as the crunch of the vegetables, with that nice little fresh air that came to tickle us through the sliding door, as the sun was starting to decline outside.
We continued to talk about everything and nothing: kintsugi classes that Yumiko regularly practices (the art of repairing broken dishes with delicate dripping gold threads), their life in the countryside, Instagram…
Yumiko regularly posts selected pieces of her daily life on her account, which I find very pleasant to follow, since we can see the seasons just by looking at her photos of fruits and vegetables and the dishes she likes to prepare.
After enjoying a caramel flan (always homemade), it was time to take our futons to spend a sweet night. In the morning, the rooster committed to cancel any plans to sleep late, gave us a nice vocal demonstration, but it was not so bad since we had to get back on the road.
Before leaving, a salty breakfast with grilled salmon, miso soup and small vegetables, always so delicious!
A few souvenir pictures together, it was then the moment to say goodbye by warmly thanking Yumiko and Daisuke for their hospitality and for this so comforting evening.
The stage of the day was a little less touristy and stirring than in my previous tickets but staying in this guest house remains one of our most beautiful travel memories by the simplicity and sympathy that came out of it.
We continue to keep in touch and to follow each other via instagram and coincidence, we even met the next day in Naoshima since the whole family had decided to spend a few days in Takamatsu as well. See you then at the next step of the road-trip: Direction Takamatsu and Naoshima Island! (English translation by Quiterie)