Ota - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

September 7, 2018

Ota

After breakfast with Teisuke, we were ready to hit the road towards Kakunodate, a town known for its Samurai heritage.  To make the visit to the town even more attractive, it just happened to the weekend on which the annual Matsuri festival takes place.  The festival involves the various communities building floats which they bash into their rivals'.  Apparantly it can get out of hand at times with at least one death being recorded.  It's being going on for more than 350 years. 

A quick pose before leaving Teisuke's lovely house.
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Teisuke suggested we take the route 11 out of town before turning off onto route 46 which would lead us into Kakunodate. 

The route was pretty hilly, although there were no big nor steep climbs.  However, the two days of struggling into the wind made it seem tougher than it actually was.  Once in Kakunodate, we had some lunch and headed for the two main museums , Aoyagi House and Ishiguro House which is still occupied by the Ishiguro family, one of whom gave us a brief tour.

It's difficult not to get drawn into posing with a Samurai helmet on.
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Then it was time to head to our chosen camping site in a park at Ota about fourteen kilometers away.  On the way we were waylaid by a number of the oyamabayashi gearing up for the festival.

"Kakunodate-matsuri (角館祭り) is a Japanese festival celebrated from 7 to 9 September in Kakunodate, Akita. Its rites centre on Shinmei-sha shrine. As well as a procession and traditional dances, it is celebrated for the oyamabayashi in which the floats collide into each other. "(from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakunodate_Matsuri)

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The park at Ota doesn't appear to be an official campsite and a Japanese cycle tourist we found there was waiting nervously for the manager to leave before setting up camp.  So we headed off to a nearby onsen first.  After our scrub and soak we picked up some food at a konbini and setup camp in a lovely covered area.  Let's see how the manager reacts tomorrow because we would like to have a rest day here - both of us need it after eleven cycling days without a break.

Today's ride: 74 km (46 miles)
Total: 1,641 km (1,019 miles)

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