Tracing Isabella Bird's tracks in Fukushima (Day 3), July 22, 2016 (イザベラ・バードの福島の足跡を追って(3日目) 2016年7月22日)

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The third day started from Ouchijuku and I headed to Aizubange Town, mostly passing through broad area of Aizumisato Town. In her book 'Unbeaten Tracks in Japan', she referred to 'magnificent pass of Ichikawa'. I believe this is today's Ichino Pass in Asahi-Ichihawa district of Aizumisato Town. Photo above shows a description board at Ichino Pass which says this was a track that Isabella Bird traveled. (The board says the height of the pass is 870m, but my GPS measured 880m.)

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After I left Ouchi-juku, I followed the old Nikko Kaido (=Highway) for a while as shown above. This should have been a way Isabella traveled, but this road today had a dead end. So I switched to a paved road instead.

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Soon after, I came to Ouchi Dam Lake as shown above. When Isabella traveled here, there was no such big lake. As she wrote '---passing the pretty little lake of Oyake---', there was actually only small Ouchi Pond. This was expanded to Ouchi Dam Lake afterward. Ouchi Dam is now being used as an upper reservoir for Shimogo Pumped-storage Hydroelectric Power Plant.

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From Ouchi Dam Lake at the height of 800m above sea level, I could see a magnificent view of mountainside on the other direction as shown above. You can overlook Ouchi-juku village on the small basin near the center. I imagine that this may be a similar view that Isabella experienced 138 years ago.

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Near the end of Ouchi Dam Lake, I came to a branch to a mountain road which Isabella Bird traveled. And there was even a sign pillar of her name as shown above.

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There were similar sign pillars with her name in other places as shown above. This mountain road passing Ichino Pass was really a hard one for both ascent and descent.

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Descending from Ichino Pass, I pedaled through a large plain of rice field as shown above and finally came to a town of Aizutakada. This is the center of Aizumisato Town. Isabella wrote, 'An avenue of crypromeria and two handsome and somewhat gilded Buddhist temples denoted the approach to a place of some importance, and such Takata is ---'. I am not sure which temples she meant, but I visited two temples along the way at Aizumisato Town as below.

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The first temple was Fukushoji Temple. The Kannondo Hall as shown above is a historic heritage and it is designated as a National Important Tangible Curtural Asset. It is also the 26th of 33 Aizu Kannons for Fudasho tour, which were designated as Japan Heritage.

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The second temple was Ryukoji Temple. Ukimi Kannon of this temple is also one of Aizu 33 Kannons for Fudasho tour, although it is an extra one.

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Lotus flowers were blooming at lotus garden of Ryukoji Temple as shown above. The bloom was in the latter half of the whole stage.

Tonight, I stayed at an inn in Aizubange Town. Isabella also stayed a night at Bange due to fatigue.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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You can play back the route and altitude on the map below. (Up: 5.4%, gained elevation: 330m, Distance: 36.5km)
下の地図で、ルート再生や標高を見ることができます。(上り5.4%、獲得標高330m、走行距離 36.5km)
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