In addition to the fabulous spring festival, I stayed an extra night to enjoy the town. It is a beautiful and peaceful place, the old town and hillsides above it in particular.
The second morning I was there I walked through some of the hillside cemeteries, feeling cool breezes in amongst the damp cedars. Echoing from the Karakuri (marionette) performances in the town, I could hear some of the reedy Shinto music, which has an almost unearthly quality. Walking there brought to mind a poem that I have had posted on a board at home for years – a Japanese poem that had not come to mind in the lead up to my trip.
Morning and evening the clear air blows
Between heaven and earth my life exists
My lungs expand, my body functions at ease
If I think of other places nowhere attracts
If I think of this place, nowhere distracts
The moon waxes full, the pure winds blow