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Bon Dancing Travel 2000
August 14 "Shirotori Bon Dancing" #1
Travel on a local line (Nagaragawa Railway)
August 14, Monday
The first day of summer holidays
It's the start of "Bon Dancing Tour"
Ishimitsu and Yanagita have come to Nagoya on Tokaido Shinkansen "Kodama" from Odawara. We bought green tea and lunch and transferred to limited express train. We arrived to Minoh-ota station in the early afternoon.

Minoh-ota is the starting station of "Nagaragawa Railway" which is the semipublic enterprise. It is the actual starting point of our tour.

In the time of Japanese National Railway, Nagaragawa Railway had a tasteful name "Etsuminan-sen (Etsuminan Line)". In passing, the apparitional Etsuminan-sen was planned to put thorough to Fukui Prefecture. Even now, in Gujou Hachiman Station which is along the railroad line, there is a small railroad museum, and we can tour the railway goods that are the reminiscent of bygone days.
Etsuminan-sen which is loved by the local people is decently included in Bon Dancing Songs.

Sono minakamino Etsumisen
Gujouno Hachiman nanisiou
(Gujou Hachiman is a famous site along the Etsumisen (Etsumi Railway) that heads to the upstream of Nagara River)

(From the lyrics of "Matsusaka" of Gujo Dancing)

A picture taken from the wheel window. The outdoor must be hot.

A loungy rest at Gujo Hachiman Station
And now, we start out from Minoh-ota.
From here, we have a slow ride through the scenery of the countryside in the midafternoon on the Nagaragawa Railway which runs like a bus.

It was hot inside the train in midsummer as is always is the case, and we spent a long time absentmindedly. My body was in the rhythm of working hours until yesterday, and I had a stifling feeling because I couldn't get the rhythm of the summer holidays.
A picture taken from the wheel window. The outdoor must be hot.

As we pass Seki City and go for a while, deep green and beautiful Nagara River appears.
From here, the railroad heads north little by little while crossing and going parallel with the river.
The scenery we can see when we weave our way along the beautiful mountains and river along Gujo Hachiman Station is pretty much a different world. If you want to spend a "dead set summer holiday", I always think that this is the place.
Arrive to "Minoh-shirotori", the land of headstream
It's 3 PM.
Arrive to "Minoh-shirotori", the land of headstream
It's 3 PM.
The loungy Nagaragawa Railroad finally arrived to "Minoh-shirotori" which is close to the terminal point.

As we put our ticket in the collector's box, we could see the pleasant summer sky from the station plaza. We know that today is the day of Tetsuya (All-night) Dancing Festival since colorful streamers are waving in the wind.

"This must be the site of tonight's festival", I said, and we walked around Shirotori Station. It had a relaxing mood, and there were buildings that have the taste of long history everywhere.

We jumped into the local bookstore and quarried for materials about Shirotori Dancing.
I happened to hear a conversation of a pair that looked like university students; "Are you going to go dancing today?" "Hm, the dances of the youngsters are not my type." They could have been young people who came back to their hometown. Today is Tetsuya Dancing and the town seemed to be a little bit restless.

A loungy rest at Gujo Hachiman Station

The streamers are welcoming
We returned to the station in the evening twilight and headed for the lodging of tonight in a taxi. As we tried to draw Shirotori Dancing out from the driver, he readily started to teach us how to dance saying, "If you want to learn how to dance, you have to know how to move your feet." Just as you'd expected of a place of dancing.

"Private Hotel Iyoji" was a rather new lodge started by a young master near our age.

We had dinner in a buffet that doubles as a restaurant in the 1st floor of the main building. The master cooked and served us with delicious food.
The salle by the side was crowded with groups of students who walked in and persons with families. Everyone must have been in an excited condition before Tetsuya Dancing. Young employees were working busily all the time but the older ones looked rather tired and the master seemed to be having a hard time handling the customers.
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