November 17, 2019 (Day 4), we pedaled from Omi-Hachiman 近江八幡 to Sekigahara 関ヶ原.
Morning at Kolmio cafe
We ate breakfast at Kolmio cafe, which was a renovated old house(古民家）near the inn we stayed.
I enjoyed the lovely space and a simple and delicious meal.
The architectures designed by William Merrill Vories
William Merrell Vories (1880 -1964) was an American educator, missionary, architect, and entrepreneur. He came to Japan in 1905 as a high school English teacher and designed over 1000 buildings in Japan.
He mainly lived in this area, and several old American-style buildings he designed still exists in harmony with the traditional town landscape in harmony and add the charm of the town.
Bike Tour in the east side of Biwako lake
8:00AM, We reunion Itomaki-san and visited the house of Okumura (奥村家住宅）, which was built in the 19th century.
Itomaki-san gave a bike tour around the east side of Biwako lake.
First, we pedaled around the central area of Omi-Hachiman and enjoyed the traditional buildings and landscape.
Shinmachi-Dori Street (新町通り）
Omi-Hachiman prospered as the merchant town from the 16th century, and they traveled from Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan, to South Asia. There are many old houses preserved, and we can understand their wealth and power.
The traditional houses of wealthy merchants have been lining along Shinmachi street (新町通り）from the late 18th century.
MIkoshi-no-Matsu, pine trees
Each garden has a special pine tree appearing over the walls. The pine tree is called “Mikoshino-Matsu”(見越しの松）, which tells to pay attention to the social trends.
Biwako Yoshibue Road and Gokaso Town
We pedaled on a bike path named “Biwako Yoshibue Road” (びわ湖よし笛ロード” on a lake and passed Azuchi castle ruins and back to Nakasendo.
Then We rode to Gokaso town, which has strong links to Omi-Shonin merchants.
We stopped at Omi-Shonin (Merchant) Museum (近江商人博物館）for using the restroom.
I love these bamboo lanterns, especially one with a carving of a cat wearing traditional traveling cloth, which was a typical traveling style of Omi-Shonin. They walked all over Japan carrying products on a pole.
Japanese Traditional confectionery
We rode along Nakasendo and stopped Echigawa-juku, station, and ate in Shirohei Rouho, a Japanese confectionery, which started in 1865.
There were lots of Japanese sweets, and we could not select only one piece.
I love Nerikiri, one of the traditional Japanese sweets, made of white sweet bean paste with sugar, mountain potatoes, and finely ground flour.
This white bean paste is given color by natural ingredients and is delicately crafted to resemble the plants and seasonal features of the four seasons, and is often used for celebrations and tea ceremony.
Toyosato Elementary school
We stopped at the old Toyosato Elementary school.
Toyosato Elementary school was also designed by William Merrell Vories. The building was constructed in 1937 with a donation by a wealthy Omi-Shonin merchant.
In 2004, the elementary school moved to a new school building, and the old building was renovated as multi-functional buildings such as the town library.
On the railing of the main staircases,the curving of Tortoise and the Hare are decorated.
The building became famous as the location place of Japanese anime K-On!
In the music room, we saw many letters from the anime fan on the blackboard, and visitors can dress several costumes. I wore a Junior high school student uniform. Kimrin wore a maid uniform.
Lunch at Samegai-juku
Then we rode along Nakasendo and had lunch at Miyuki in Samegai-juku 醒ヶ井宿 area.
After lunch, we visited “Isame no Shimizu” 居醒の清水, the natural spring. Clearwater gushing out of the ground of Kamo Shrine and flow to Biwako lake along Nakasendo road. There are some legends here, including Yamato-Takeru, the legendary prince of the Yamato dynasty, son of Emperor Keikō, washed away his poison when he fell ill with fever. In the river, there were many water buttercup or Baikamo 梅花藻.
We crossed a path to Sekigahara 関ケ原 in Gifu prefecture 岐阜県.
Sekigahara 関ケ原 is famous for the battlefield,There was a decisive battle in 1600.
In the battle, many daimyos, feudal lords were separated and joined to either Eastern Army 東軍 or Western Army 西軍. Finally, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the leader of the Eastern Army, led 100,000 warriors the battle and established the Tokugawa Shogunate. The warring States had gone.
If you are interested in the Sekigahara battle, this YouTube video would be helpful.
There are many ruins of battlefields and camps of lords, but we did not enough time to visit them.
Tarui Station 垂井駅
At Tarui station, we finished cycling and fold and put bikes in the Rinko bags. Ruthy stayed here to keep going to east on Nakasendo road, and Itomaki san went back to Shiga, Kimurin and my family got on Tokaido line and transferred Tokaido Shinkansen at Nagoya station and went back to Tokyo.
My son is getting used to assemble and disassemble his road bike.
Distance 68.1 km Elevation: 396 m