Monday, August 10, 2009

Adventures in the Noto Penninsula: Senmaida & The Miraculous Petrol Station

Senmaida rice paddies near Wajima

As we headed up the coast towards Senmaida from Wajima I realised we were running out of fuel. Using our trusty Japanese sat nav I located our nearest petrol station. (ok I didn’t understand the words but could see the petrol stations and onsen icons so quite handy!) Got there and it was shut, crap! Mum was starting to get wound up as the petrol light had come on. Went to the next station and it was also shut. Ah it was Sunday. Note to self: don’t run out of petrol in rural Japan on a Sunday...

We decided to head back to the B&B, feeling defeated and quietly sulking. After 5 miles nothing, another 5 miles nothing. Now we're starting to panic that we might not actually make it back. eeeek.....but never fear....

The mighty lord shined upon us and giveth an OPEN petrol station another mile down the road (it had to be him, or some miraculous intervention as it wasn’t on the sat nav) So the lovely lady filled up our tank, even practiced some English with us and we were back on our Noto tour. Next stop Senmaida Rice Fields, having done a 20 mile detour...

"Senmaida" literally means "a thousand rice paddies". Apparently in the past, tiered rice paddies like this were a common site all along the Sea of Japan coast. This is one of the most famous existing seaside rice paddies in Japan and it didn’t disappoint. Small terraced rice paddies on the dramatically steep hillsides tiered down to the sea.

Although it was raining we still took the extremely steep (and fairly dangerous when wet) path down to the sea. NB Don’t take the path parallel to the sea because it leads to nowhere! We loved Senmaida and as usual stopped for a “softo” (aka Mr Whippy ice cream) and enjoyed the view from the top.

See my other post about the wedding that took place at Senmaida as well as me helping out the locals with their rice harvest. Amazing!

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