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Bon Dancing Travel 2000
August 16 "Niino Bon Dancing" #1
Reporters without a car
And now, today is August 16.
Today, we will participate in the biggest highlight (Niino Bon Dancing) during this tour.
However, it was a challenge to reach to Niino.
If you go by car, it takes only a few hours from Gujo Hachiman by going over the mountain. But the fact that "both of us don't have a car", became a rather big handicap.
The only way to get there is: Once we return to Minoh Ota on Nagaragawa Railway, and go through Gifu, Nagoya, and Toyohashi, and then, go north along the Tenryu River on the famous local line "Iida Railway".
Ishimitsu came to realize the naivety of Yanagita that believed "We can get there as long as it is connected by the rail line." The timetable that was composed after drawing fully upon the strength of train guide was;
"Leave Gujo Hachiman on AM 8:30 and get to Niino on PM 6:00."
It took a whole day literally, and it was quite a trip on the local line.
And the bus services to Niino ends at 5 PM while there are two hours of waiting time at the way station of Iida Line. Therefore, we can't reach Niino before the day is over if we fail any transfer of transportation.

It would be a very tough schedule for the two of us, who had 2 consecutive days of Tetsuya Dancing (All night dancing).
We lost no time in having our breakfast and visited the town of Gujo once again.

It is silent around Sougi-sui in the morning.
We returned the yukata for dancing which we wore last night to Ishiyama Kimono Shop.
It was a busy morning, but we'd like to see the "Sougi-sui (brand-name spring water)" as far as we came to Gujo. There were few people around the Sougi-sui in the morning, and the cool water appeared breezy.
We returned to Gujo Hachiman Station and got on an inbound train of Nagaragawa Railroad. Of course we went into sleep as soon as we got on the train and kept sleeping during the ride.
To the valley of traditional arts!
To the valley of traditional arts!

We got off the train at Toyohashi Station and headed to the plat home of "Iida Line".
The train was unoccupied and we got a box seat without any difficulty. It became a good atmosphere when we took train lunch and some cans of beer aboard. It seems that we can enjoy a trip on the local line. The train that departed Toyohashi Station went up north along the Toyo River and headed straight to Tenryu River.

"The valley of traditional arts"
The whole district along the Tenryu River which we are heading to is sometimes called "The valley of traditional arts".
The place is called "San-en-shin (Mikawa, Tohtoumi, Shinano) region", and various traditional arts and culture remain. It is sometimes called the drift of folk arts.

We moved from Nagara River to Tenryu River. The traditional culture area of the two different river systems is also different. What kind of amazing Bon Dancing is waiting for us at our destination? We started anticipating as we drank beer.
A profound history of Nagashino

Today, the place is a quiet farm village, but this is where the "Battle of Nagashino" took place. It was a war between Katsuyori Takeda vs. the coalition of Nobunaga Oda and Ieyasu Tokugawa, and it greatly changed the history of Japan. Therefore, a lot of folk arts and oral traditions related to this war are handed down in this place. There is "The Nagashino Castle Museum" run by Houraiji Town near the station. We had enough time and we couldn't miss it. It was ten minutes walk, but we really felt the strong afternoon sunlight. Inside the museum was literally an enormous collection of historical data of the "war". The air stagnated heavily, and the armors and weapons that were set out made the climate even more stifling.
What was shocking was the graphic of "Sune-emon Torii" crucified, the hero of the preceding fight of the War of Nagashino. Sune-emon succeeded in making contact with the Tokugawas by breaking out the encirclement of Nagashino Castle by the Takeda army, but unfortunately, he was captured by the Takeda side on his way back. He was crucified by the angry Takedas for he deceived the Takedas and he informed the partisans that the reinforcements will come. The picture painting him with violent colors or in other words vivid colors carries down the fact that the war at that time was very gruesome and thereby made people think of the necessity to repose the soul of the people who died at war.
The Tenryu River: The marvelous nature
We returned to Hon-Nagashino Station again, and made connections of the local trains. The laid-back time passed by. The Iida Line weaves it's way through the mountains. In the course of time, a scenery came into view from the window in our left side.
It's Tenryu River.
Its aspect was splendid meandering sedately the sheer cliffs. Inadvertently I approached the train window and released the shutter. We could enjoy the magnificent scenery from the train window around this place, and it became a wonderful trip.
The train passed places like Mizukubo and Sakuma which are famous for folk arts, and it was already 4:00 PM when the train finally reached the station called "Nukuta" which is our destination.
We were the only ones who got off the train. We found out it to be a lonely ghost station after the train went away.
We had to wait for another hour until the last bus for Niino came.
We were very tired after a long journey, and both of us sat absentmindedly in the waiting room.
Just at that moment, a big insect suddenly appeared into our sight near the entrance of the station.
It hovered the place for a while and it went in in a flank speed. It hit the glass over our heads, and fell on the floor after a faint.
We were surprised and took a look at it. We found out it to be a giant dragonfly that has a wingspan of 20cm.


@

Ishimitsu explained that "Giants dragonflys fly so fast that even if you could catch them with a ring net, its wings become tattered."
Ishimitsu's dream was to get an giant dragonfly alive, but it came true unexpectedly without apparent difficulty. We took a commemorative photo and let it go.
If you go out of the waiting room and walk for a while, the Tenryu River spreads out just in front of you.
If we look around from over the bridge, countless dragonflys fly over the surface of the river in the light of the early-evening.
That's like the nature of Tenryu River. It's splendid.

Giant dragonfly of Tenryu River
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