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From Hodogaya to Totsuka
(Sun., Sep. 9, 2001)

 Sunday, September 9, 2001 (click to see all posts from this day)
  • Stations:
  • Other places visited: Hodogaya
  • "Prayed" at: Unnamed shrine, Totsuka
  • Stopped at: Totsuka
  • Slept: Tom and Yuka's, Kamakura
  • Kilometers covered: 8.8
  • Total kilometers so far: 41.0
  • Journal: Making Rain
  • Journal: Focus Points
 The Old Tokaido

A new resolve: Anything before 12:00 noon is not "a late start."

Hodogaya (where I stopped two days ago)

This dilapidated old building has quite a history. For the first time on this walk, I have seen a building that looks like an inn--on the site of an inn. The gate is original; the building is a reproduction of the honjin (official inn) that used to stand here. Historical exhibits are inside. (For other information on my visit to Hodogaya, see Friday's Logbook.)

The Hodogaya Station has a nice map posted of where the various establishments were located. Inns, teahouses, sake shops, and other businesses catering to travelers made up most of the stations.

So for Hodogaya's signature (failing the homeless guy yesterday) I went into a liquor shop and got the signature of this man, Mr. Kunihiko Morita. He's quite a character. Though he didn't really communicate in English, he pulled out words like "pilgrim." I hope he'll see this shot.

Now, When I heard that an ichi-ri-zuka (one ri mound, a ri being about 4 kilometers) was a mound of earth with a tree on it, I pictured a couple of feet of earth with a sapling.

THIS is an ichi-ri-zuka, the first I've seen (without a shrine on top). The modern road coming down Gontazaka (the first allegedly "Difficult" place on the road) had clearly been lowered as it passed in front of it (this view is from the back). But judging how far up I walked to see it, this thing is probably 3-4 meters high, and the crown is at least two meters across. It would have been unmistakable, especially since they usually came in pairs (the other is across from this, but there's no way to get a shot of both together in this hilly terrain.)

Unmistakable. I could have used some unmistakability, because I got thoroughly LOST today. I mean, I knew where I was, but I didn't know where the road was. I cast about for an hour, during which I thought, "Well, at least it isn't raining." This was like the cue to the stagehands to dump a bucket of water on my head as WHAM! the sky opened up and hit me. What could I do? I laughed.
who am I to blow
against the wind--when it rains
I just let it rain

Finally back on the route, I was making pretty good time when a voice came from behind: "Moshi moshi." A shop keeper had come out (on one of the quieter, side-road sections of the route) to chat about what I was doing. He insisted on taking my picture.

He told me that in the hills nearby was a well where, in the Kamakura period, samurai used to wash the heads of their opponents after they cut them off (like the one at Sengakuji). Later I saw that it was on my map, but off the beaten track.

In Hiroshige's day, the housemaids (and sometimes prostitutes) would come out of the teashops and inns and literally pull customers inside (see the print of Kanagawa). As I approached this gas station, the girl was out front beckoning customers. Times change, we don't.

A few other sights along the way:

I had heard there were cathouses on the Tokaido...

A typical house

This little guy lives at a temple on Gontazaka

A milestone between Totsuka (l) and Hodogaya (r)

You meet all kinds of pilgrims on the road...

Totsuka, Station #5 on the Old Tokaido

This bridge crosses the river into Totsuka. So did I--after 4:30! No chance to push on today, so I took a break near Totsuka station. The bridge has reproductions of Hiroshige's print on it. I can see the resemblance; can you? (But that may be the same hill out in the distance, to the left of the bridge.)

Hiroshige's Tokaido: Totsuka, Station #5 on the Old Tokaido

Travelers who left Edo in early morning spent the first night here in Totsuka. It's 41 kilometers! I guess they had more practice walking in what Ikku Jippensha called "footworn Yamato [Japan]."

Evening came. I went off to pray at a small shrine, located behind the honjin monument (see tomorrow). For the first time I have prayed at a Shinto shrine instead of a Buddhist temple. This has created a few changes:

I dispensed with the Buddhist prayers. Shinto is not a "theological" religion, and literary forms don't seem to apply. So I practiced silence before proceeding to pray the requests aloud.

There will be no book signed. Although some shrines provide this service, small house shrines like this one seldom do. I will, however, provide a poetic offering to you in place of a signature tomorrow.

This is my last night at Tom and Yuka's; I'm booked tomorrow at a business ryokan in Chigasaki.. I can't thank them enough for the breathing space they've provided.

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Posted September 24, 2019

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