That was about as far as my knowledge of Ottobatake extended prior to my arrival. I wasn’t unhappy about this; I felt that deliberately under-researching this stage of my journey across Japan would enable me to form zero expectations and go in fresh and fully receptive. All I knew was that, after more than a week of constant transit via planes, trains, boats and buses, I was more than ready to remain stationary for a while, and was looking forward to some peace and quiet in the countryside.It’s in a very rural place
It turns out I could not have picked a better spot to suit my needs. As Sachi switched off the car engine outside our destination, the only sounds were the trickling of a nearby stream, a far-off bird call and the lazy hissing of cicadas.
The views from where we sat were no less pacifying. Ottobatake is surrounded by greenery for as far as the eye can see, composed of almost luminescent, shivering rice paddies, swaying wheat fields, and dense woodland beyond that. This all boded very well indeed.