May 28, 2011

Mitake Ravine Walk and Sawanoien

In the upper reaches of the Tama River, friends and I enjoyed walking along a ravine in verdancy.

We started at JR Mitake Station, walked across the Ome Kaido Street in front of the station, and took the path beside a ramen restaurant to go down and pass through under the Mitake Bridge. Then, we walked upstream along the walkway on the left side of the river.

Fresh greenery, sunshine and shade, bright dry riverbed, green pools, bubbling water in white, and dark shallows. The ravine in May is really full of beautiful things.

Anglers, kayak guys challenging the torrent hard, young people enjoying bouldering on huge rocks here and there on the shore, BBQ people, and a couple having a nap on a rock, all such people are having a good holiday. I think it is certainly true that humans should sometimes play with the nature to refresh both mind and body.

Well, we walked along the walkway for about 20 minutes and walked across the Kamiji Bridge to get to the opposite side of the river. The Kamiji Bridge, literally meaning a bridge of a god road, has been constructed on the way to the front gate of Mitake Shrine. Actually, you would see a big red torii gate of Mitake Shrine across the Yoshino Kaido Street, if you walked across this bridge and went up the slope connecting to the street. However, this time, we took a trail leading downstream just immediately after crossing the bridge. This was a narrow trail on the right bank of the river.

Unlike the walkway on the left bank, which was relatively flat and full of a lot of sunshine, the trail on the right bank went up and down somewhat like a mountain path, and was in the shade of trees on the whole. However, we once walked on the sandy ground on the riverbed at a point when we passed near the building of hydraulic power plant. We quickly walked across the sandy ground, which was heated by the direct sunlight, to take sanctuary in the shade, feeling relieved. Then, we went through under the Mitake Bridge again but on the opposite side of the river at this time, and passed in front of the Gyokudo Art Museum to get to the restaurant Imotoya for lunch.

I had Okutama-yamame-trout Sushi for lunch. The Okutama-yamae is a triploid female of the yamame-trout. This female fish, created by the use of biotechnology and raised at a fish farm, never spawns and it grows very big and tasty without consuming its energy in growing roes and spawning.

Probably having been seasoned by being sandwiched between kelp sheets, slightly pinkish Okutama-yamame fish was firm and elastic, and tasted very nice. When you have a chance to visit JR Mitake Station or its vicinity, I recommend you to have a try of Okutama-yamame sushi.

After leaving the restaurant, we walked across the Mitake-kobashi Bridge to the left bank again. If we want to, we could walk to Sawanoien run by Ozawa Syuzou, the brewery of Sawanoi sake, in about a 20-minute walk downstream from this bridge. And, of course, we wanted to go there. Actually, Sawanoien was, if anything, our original destination, and the walking was something like a lagniappe.

I had beer Sawabii, which was quite nice after sweating a bit from the walking.

And, after drinking this bottle of beer and taking a break for a while, we together enjoyed Sawanoi sake, Junmai Ginjo Soten Name (純米吟醸蒼天生酒) and Junmai Namazake Sawane (さわ音).


thesoulofjapan said...

Fantastic time you guys had. Great.
I envy you. So many 美人 were with you.

Ichibay said...

Ahahahaha. Yes, they are 美人 and nice ladies.