Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
Isabella L. Bird

Part 2 out of 6

or peony. A piazza, whose outer walls of twenty-one compartments
are enriched with magnificent carvings of birds, flowers, and
trees, runs right and left, and encloses on three of its sides
another court, the fourth side of which is a terminal stone wall
built against the side of the hill. On the right are two decorated
buildings, one of which contains a stage for the performance of the
sacred dances, and the other an altar for the burning of cedar wood
incense. On the left is a building for the reception of the three
sacred cars which were used during festivals. To pass from court
to court is to pass from splendour to splendour; one is almost glad
to feel that this is the last, and that the strain on one's
capacity for admiration is nearly over.

In the middle is the sacred enclosure, formed of gilded trellis-
work with painted borders above and below, forming a square of
which each side measures 150 feet, and which contains the haiden or
chapel. Underneath the trellis work are groups of birds, with
backgrounds of grass, very boldly carved in wood and richly gilded
and painted. From the imposing entrance through a double avenue of
cryptomeria, among courts, gates, temples, shrines, pagodas,
colossal bells of bronze, and lanterns inlaid with gold, you pass
through this final court bewildered by magnificence, through golden
gates, into the dimness of a golden temple, and there is--simply a
black lacquer table with a circular metal mirror upon it.

Within is a hall finely matted, 42 feet wide by 27 from front to
back, with lofty apartments on each side, one for the Shogun and
the other "for his Holiness the Abbot." Both, of course, are
empty. The roof of the hall is panelled and richly frescoed. The
Shogun's room contains some very fine fusuma, on which kirin
(fabulous monsters) are depicted on a dead gold ground, and four
oak panels, 8 feet by 6, finely carved, with the phoenix in low
relief variously treated. In the Abbot's room there are similar
panels adorned with hawks spiritedly executed. The only
ecclesiastical ornament among the dim splendours of the chapel is
the plain gold gohei. Steps at the back lead into a chapel paved
with stone, with a fine panelled ceiling representing dragons on a
dark blue ground. Beyond this some gilded doors lead into the
principal chapel, containing four rooms which are not accessible;
but if they correspond with the outside, which is of highly
polished black lacquer relieved by gold, they must be severely

But not in any one of these gorgeous shrines did Iyeyasu decree
that his dust should rest. Re-entering the last court, it is
necessary to leave the enclosures altogether by passing through a
covered gateway in the eastern piazza into a stone gallery, green
with mosses and hepaticae. Within, wealth and art have created a
fairyland of gold and colour; without, Nature, at her stateliest,
has surrounded the great Shogun's tomb with a pomp of mournful
splendour. A staircase of 240 stone steps leads to the top of the
hill, where, above and behind all the stateliness of the shrines
raised in his honour, the dust of Iyeyasu sleeps in an unadorned
but Cyclopean tomb of stone and bronze, surmounted by a bronze urn.
In front is a stone table decorated with a bronze incense-burner, a
vase with lotus blossoms and leaves in brass, and a bronze stork
bearing a bronze candlestick in its mouth. A lofty stone wall,
surmounted by a balustrade, surrounds the simple but stately
enclosure, and cryptomeria of large size growing up the back of the
hill create perpetual twilight round it. Slant rays of sunshine
alone pass through them, no flower blooms or bird sings, only
silence and mournfulness surround the grave of the ablest and
greatest man that Japan has produced.

Impressed as I had been with the glorious workmanship in wood,
bronze, and lacquer, I scarcely admired less the masonry of the
vast retaining walls, the stone gallery, the staircase and its
balustrade, all put together without mortar or cement, and so
accurately fitted that the joints are scarcely affected by the
rain, damp, and aggressive vegetation of 260 years. The steps of
the staircase are fine monoliths, and the coping at the side, the
massive balustrade, and the heavy rail at the top, are cut out of
solid blocks of stone from 10 to 18 feet in length. Nor is the
workmanship of the great granite cistern for holy water less
remarkable. It is so carefully adjusted on its bed that the water
brought from a neighbouring cascade rises and pours over each edge
in such carefully equalised columns that, as Mr. Satow says, "it
seems to be a solid block of water rather than a piece of stone."

The temples of Iyemitsu are close to those of Iyeyasu, and though
somewhat less magnificent are even more bewildering, as they are
still in Buddhist hands, and are crowded with the gods of the
Buddhist Pantheon and the splendid paraphernalia of Buddhist
worship, in striking contrast to the simplicity of the lonely
Shinto mirror in the midst of the blaze of gold and colour. In the
grand entrance gate are gigantic Ni-o, the Buddhist Gog and Magog,
vermilion coloured, and with draperies painted in imitation of
flowered silk. A second pair, painted red and green, removed from
Iyemitsu's temple, are in niches within the gate. A flight of
steps leads to another gate, in whose gorgeous niches stand hideous
monsters, in human form, representing the gods of wind and thunder.
Wind has crystal eyes and a half-jolly, half-demoniacal expression.
He is painted green, and carries a wind-bag on his back, a long
sack tied at each end, with the ends brought over his shoulders and
held in his hands. The god of thunder is painted red, with purple
hair on end, and stands on clouds holding thunderbolts in his hand.
More steps, and another gate containing the Tenno, or gods of the
four quarters, boldly carved and in strong action, with long eye-
teeth, and at last the principal temple is reached. An old priest
who took me over it on my first visit, on passing the gods of wind
and thunder said, "We used to believe in these things, but we don't
now," and his manner in speaking of the other deities was rather
contemptuous. He requested me, however, to take off my hat as well
as my shoes at the door of the temple. Within there was a gorgeous
shrine, and when an acolyte drew aside the curtain of cloth of gold
the interior was equally imposing, containing Buddha and two other
figures of gilded brass, seated cross-legged on lotus-flowers, with
rows of petals several times repeated, and with that look of
eternal repose on their faces which is reproduced in the commonest
road-side images. In front of the shrine several candles were
burning, the offerings of some people who were having prayers said
for them, and the whole was lighted by two lamps burning low. On a
step of the altar a much-contorted devil was crouching uneasily,
for he was subjugated and, by a grim irony, made to carry a massive
incense-burner on his shoulders. In this temple there were more
than a hundred idols standing in rows, many of them life-size, some
of them trampling devils under their feet, but all hideous, partly
from the bright greens, vermilions, and blues with which they are
painted. Remarkable muscular development characterises all, and
the figures or faces are all in vigorous action of some kind,
generally grossly exaggerated.

While we were crossing the court there were two shocks of
earthquake; all the golden wind-bells which fringe the roofs rang
softly, and a number of priests ran into the temple and beat
various kinds of drums for the space of half an hour. Iyemitsu's
tomb is reached by flights of steps on the right of the chapel. It
is in the same style as Iyeyasu's, but the gates in front are of
bronze, and are inscribed with large Sanskrit characters in bright
brass. One of the most beautiful of the many views is from the
uppermost gate of the temple. The sun shone on my second visit and
brightened the spring tints of the trees on Hotoke Iwa, which was
vignetted by a frame of dark cryptomeria.

Some of the buildings are roofed with sheet-copper, but most of
them are tiled. Tiling, however, has been raised almost to the
dignity of a fine art in Japan. The tiles themselves are a coppery
grey, with a suggestion of metallic lustre about it. They are
slightly concave, and the joints are covered by others quite
convex, which come down like massive tubes from the ridge pole, and
terminate at the eaves with discs on which the Tokugawa badge is
emblazoned in gold, as it is everywhere on these shrines where it
would not be quite out of keeping. The roofs are so massive that
they require all the strength of the heavy carved timbers below,
and, like all else, they gleam with gold, or that which simulates

The shrines are the most wonderful work of their kind in Japan. In
their stately setting of cryptomeria, few of which are less than 20
feet in girth at 3 feet from the ground, they take one prisoner by
their beauty, in defiance of all rules of western art, and compel
one to acknowledge the beauty of forms and combinations of colour
hitherto unknown, and that lacquered wood is capable of lending
itself to the expression of a very high idea in art. Gold has been
used in profusion, and black, dull red, and white, with a breadth
and lavishness quite unique. The bronze fret-work alone is a
study, and the wood-carving needs weeks of earnest work for the
mastery of its ideas and details. One screen or railing only has
sixty panels, each 4 feet long, carved with marvellous boldness and
depth in open work, representing peacocks, pheasants, storks,
lotuses, peonies, bamboos, and foliage. The fidelity to form and
colour in the birds, and the reproduction of the glory of motion,
could not be excelled.

Yet the flowers please me even better. Truly the artist has
revelled in his work, and has carved and painted with joy. The
lotus leaf retains its dewy bloom, the peony its shades of creamy
white, the bamboo leaf still trembles on its graceful stem, in
contrast to the rigid needles of the pine, and countless corollas,
in all the perfect colouring of passionate life, unfold themselves
amidst the leafage of the gorgeous tracery. These carvings are
from 10 to 15 inches deep, and single feathers in the tails of the
pheasants stand out fully 6 inches in front of peonies nearly as

The details fade from my memory daily as I leave the shrines, and
in their place are picturesque masses of black and red lacquer and
gold, gilded doors opening without noise, halls laid with matting
so soft that not a footfall sounds, across whose twilight the
sunbeams fall aslant on richly arabesqued walls and panels carved
with birds and flowers, and on ceilings panelled and wrought with
elaborate art, of inner shrines of gold, and golden lilies six feet
high, and curtains of gold brocade, and incense fumes, and colossal
bells and golden ridge poles; of the mythical fauna, kirin, dragon,
and howo, of elephants, apes, and tigers, strangely mingled with
flowers and trees, and golden tracery, and diaper work on a gold
ground, and lacquer screens, and pagodas, and groves of bronze
lanterns, and shaven priests in gold brocade, and Shinto attendants
in black lacquer caps, and gleams of sunlit gold here and there,
and simple monumental urns, and a mountain-side covered with a
cryptomeria forest, with rose azaleas lighting up its solemn shade.
I. L. B.


A Japanese Pack-Horse and Pack-Saddle--Yadoya and Attendant--A
Native Watering-Place--The Sulphur Baths--A "Squeeze."

June 22.

To-day I have made an experimental journey on horseback, have done
fifteen miles in eight hours of continuous travelling, and have
encountered for the first time the Japanese pack-horse--an animal
of which many unpleasing stories are told, and which has hitherto
been as mythical to me as the kirin, or dragon. I have neither
been kicked, bitten, nor pitched off, however, for mares are used
exclusively in this district, gentle creatures about fourteen hands
high, with weak hind-quarters, and heads nearly concealed by shaggy
manes and forelocks. They are led by a rope round the nose, and go
barefoot, except on stony ground, when the mago, or man who leads
them, ties straw sandals on their feet. The pack-saddle is
composed of two packs of straw eight inches thick, faced with red,
and connected before and behind by strong oak arches gaily painted
or lacquered. There is for a girth a rope loosely tied under the
body, and the security of the load depends on a crupper, usually a
piece of bamboo attached to the saddle by ropes strung with wooden
counters, and another rope round the neck, into which you put your
foot as you scramble over the high front upon the top of the
erection. The load must be carefully balanced or it comes to
grief, and the mago handles it all over first, and, if an accurate
division of weight is impossible, adds a stone to one side or the
other. Here, women who wear enormous rain hats and gird their
kimonos over tight blue trousers, both load the horses and lead
them. I dropped upon my loaded horse from the top of a wall, the
ridges, bars, tags, and knotted rigging of the saddle being
smoothed over by a folded futon, or wadded cotton quilt, and I was
then fourteen inches above the animal's back, with my feet hanging
over his neck. You must balance yourself carefully, or you bring
the whole erection over; but balancing soon becomes a matter of
habit. If the horse does not stumble, the pack-saddle is tolerable
on level ground, but most severe on the spine in going up hill, and
so intolerable in going down that I was relieved when I found that
I had slid over the horse's head into a mud-hole; and you are quite
helpless, as he does not understand a bridle, if you have one, and
blindly follows his leader, who trudges on six feet in front of

The hard day's journey ended in an exquisite yadoya, beautiful
within and without, and more fit for fairies than for travel-soiled
mortals. The fusuma are light planed wood with a sweet scent, the
matting nearly white, the balconies polished pine. On entering, a
smiling girl brought me some plum-flower tea with a delicate almond
flavour, a sweetmeat made of beans and sugar, and a lacquer bowl of
frozen snow. After making a difficult meal from a fowl of much
experience, I spent the evening out of doors, as a Japanese
watering-place is an interesting novelty.

There is scarcely room between the lake and the mountains for the
picturesque village with its trim neat houses, one above another,
built of reddish cedar newly planed. The snow lies ten feet deep
here in winter, and on October 10 the people wrap their beautiful
dwellings up in coarse matting, not even leaving the roofs
uncovered, and go to the low country till May 10, leaving one man
in charge, who is relieved once a week. Were the houses mine I
should be tempted to wrap them up on every rainy day! I did quite
the wrong thing in riding here. It is proper to be carried up in a
kago, or covered basket.

The village consists of two short streets, 8 feet wide composed
entirely of yadoyas of various grades, with a picturesquely varied
frontage of deep eaves, graceful balconies, rows of Chinese
lanterns, and open lower fronts. The place is full of people, and
the four bathing-sheds were crowded. Some energetic invalids bathe
twelve times a day! Every one who was walking about carried a blue
towel over his arm, and the rails of the balconies were covered
with blue towels hanging to dry. There can be very little
amusement. The mountains rise at once from the village, and are so
covered with jungle that one can only walk in the short streets or
along the track by which I came. There is one covered boat for
excursions on the lake, and a few geishas were playing the samisen;
but, as gaming is illegal, and there is no place of public resort
except the bathing-sheds, people must spend nearly all their time
in bathing, sleeping, smoking, and eating. The great spring is
beyond the village, in a square tank in a mound. It bubbles up
with much strength, giving off fetid fumes. There are broad boards
laid at intervals across it, and people crippled with rheumatism go
and lie for hours upon them for the advantage of the sulphurous
steam. The temperature of the spring is 130 degrees F.; but after
the water has travelled to the village, along an open wooden pipe,
it is only 84 degrees. Yumoto is over 4000 feet high, and very

IRIMICHI.--Before leaving Yumoto I saw the modus operandi of a
"squeeze." I asked for the bill, when, instead of giving it to me,
the host ran upstairs and asked Ito how much it should be, the two
dividing the overcharge. Your servant gets a "squeeze" on
everything you buy, and on your hotel expenses, and, as it is
managed very adroitly, and you cannot prevent it, it is best not to
worry about it so long as it keeps within reasonable limits. I. L.


Peaceful Monotony--A Japanese School--A Dismal Ditty--Punishment--A
Children's Party--A Juvenile Belle--Female Names--A Juvenile Drama-
-Needlework--Calligraphy--Arranging Flowers--Kanaya--Daily Routine-
-An Evening's Entertainment--Planning Routes--The God-shelf.

IRIMICHI, Nikko, June 23.

My peacefully monotonous life here is nearly at an end. The people
are so quiet and kindly, though almost too still, and I have
learned to know something of the externals of village life, and
have become quite fond of the place.

The village of Irimichi, which epitomises for me at present the
village life of Japan, consists of about three hundred houses built
along three roads, across which steps in fours and threes are
placed at intervals. Down the middle of each a rapid stream runs
in a stone channel, and this gives endless amusement to the
children, specially to the boys, who devise many ingenious models
and mechanical toys, which are put in motion by water-wheels. But
at 7 a.m. a drum beats to summon the children to a school whose
buildings would not discredit any school-board at home. Too much
Europeanised I thought it, and the children looked very
uncomfortable sitting on high benches in front of desks, instead of
squatting, native fashion. The school apparatus is very good, and
there are fine maps on the walls. The teacher, a man about twenty-
five, made very free use of the black-board, and questioned his
pupils with much rapidity. The best answer moved its giver to the
head of the class, as with us. Obedience is the foundation of the
Japanese social order, and with children accustomed to
unquestioning obedience at home the teacher has no trouble in
securing quietness, attention, and docility. There was almost a
painful earnestness in the old-fashioned faces which pored over the
school-books; even such a rare event as the entrance of a foreigner
failed to distract these childish students. The younger pupils
were taught chiefly by object lessons, and the older were exercised
in reading geographical and historical books aloud, a very high key
being adopted, and a most disagreeable tone, both with the Chinese
and Japanese pronunciation. Arithmetic and the elements of some of
the branches of natural philosophy are also taught. The children
recited a verse of poetry which I understood contained the whole of
the simple syllabary. It has been translated thus:-

"Colour and perfume vanish away.
What can be lasting in this world?
To-day disappears in the abyss of nothingness;
It is but the passing image of a dream, and causes only a slight

It is the echo of the wearied sensualist's cry, "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity," and indicates the singular Oriental
distaste for life, but is a dismal ditty for young children to
learn. The Chinese classics, formerly the basis of Japanese
education, are now mainly taught as a vehicle for conveying a
knowledge of the Chinese character, in acquiring even a moderate
acquaintance with which the children undergo a great deal of
useless toil.

The penalties for bad conduct used to be a few blows with a switch
on the front of the leg, or a slight burn with the moxa on the
forefinger--still a common punishment in households; but I
understood the teacher to say that detention in the school-house is
the only punishment now resorted to, and he expressed great
disapprobation of our plan of imposing an added task. When twelve
o'clock came the children marched in orderly fashion out of the
school grounds, the boys in one division and the girls in another,
after which they quietly dispersed.

On going home the children dine, and in the evening in nearly every
house you hear the monotonous hum of the preparation of lessons.
After dinner they are liberated for play, but the girls often hang
about the house with babies on their backs the whole afternoon
nursing dolls. One evening I met a procession of sixty boys and
girls, all carrying white flags with black balls, except the
leader, who carried a white flag with a gilded ball, and they sang,
or rather howled, as they walked; but the other amusements have
been of a most sedentary kind. The mechanical toys, worked by
water-wheels in the stream, are most fascinating.

Formal children's parties have been given in this house, for which
formal invitations, in the name of the house-child, a girl of
twelve, are sent out. About 3 p.m. the guests arrive, frequently
attended by servants; and this child, Haru, receives them at the
top of the stone steps, and conducts each into the reception room,
where they are arranged according to some well-understood rules of
precedence. Haru's hair is drawn back, raised in front, and
gathered into a double loop, in which some scarlet crepe is
twisted. Her face and throat are much whitened, the paint
terminating in three points at the back of the neck, from which all
the short hair has been carefully extracted with pincers. Her lips
are slightly touched with red paint, and her face looks like that
of a cheap doll. She wears a blue, flowered silk kimono, with
sleeves touching the ground, a blue girdle lined with scarlet, and
a fold of scarlet crepe lies between her painted neck and her
kimono. On her little feet she wears white tabi, socks of cotton
cloth, with a separate place for the great toe, so as to allow the
scarlet-covered thongs of the finely lacquered clogs, which she
puts on when she stands on the stone steps to receive her guests,
to pass between it and the smaller toes. All the other little
ladies were dressed in the same style, and all looked like ill-
executed dolls. She met them with very formal but graceful bows.

When they were all assembled, she and her very graceful mother,
squatting before each, presented tea and sweetmeats on lacquer
trays, and then they played at very quiet and polite games till
dusk. They addressed each other by their names with the honorific
prefix O, only used in the case of women, and the respectful affix
San; thus Haru becomes O-Haru-San, which is equivalent to "Miss."
A mistress of a house is addressed as O-Kami-San, and O-Kusuma--
something like "my lady"--is used to married ladies. Women have no
surnames; thus you do not speak of Mrs. Saguchi, but of the wife of
Saguchi San; and you would address her as O-Kusuma. Among the
children's names were Haru, Spring; Yuki, Snow; Hana, Blossom;
Kiku, Chrysanthemum; Gin, Silver.

One of their games was most amusing, and was played with some
spirit and much dignity. It consisted in one child feigning
sickness and another playing the doctor, and the pompousness and
gravity of the latter, and the distress and weakness of the former,
were most successfully imitated. Unfortunately the doctor killed
his patient, who counterfeited the death-sleep very effectively
with her whitened face; and then followed the funeral and the
mourning. They dramatise thus weddings, dinner-parties, and many
other of the events of life. The dignity and self-possession of
these children are wonderful. The fact is that their initiation
into all that is required by the rules of Japanese etiquette begins
as soon as they can speak, so that by the time they are ten years
old they know exactly what to do and avoid under all possible
circumstances. Before they went away tea and sweetmeats were again
handed round, and, as it is neither etiquette to refuse them or to
leave anything behind that you have once taken, several of the
small ladies slipped the residue into their capacious sleeves. On
departing the same formal courtesies were used as on arriving.

Yuki, Haru's mother, speaks, acts, and moves with a charming
gracefulness. Except at night, and when friends drop in to
afternoon tea, as they often do, she is always either at domestic
avocations, such as cleaning, sewing, or cooking, or planting
vegetables, or weeding them. All Japanese girls learn to sew and
to make their own clothes, but there are none of the mysteries and
difficulties which make the sewing lesson a thing of dread with us.
The kimono, haori, and girdle, and even the long hanging sleeves,
have only parallel seams, and these are only tacked or basted, as
the garments, when washed, are taken to pieces, and each piece,
after being very slightly stiffened, is stretched upon a board to
dry. There is no underclothing, with its bands, frills, gussets,
and button-holes; the poorer women wear none, and those above them
wear, like Yuki, an under-dress of a frothy-looking silk crepe, as
simply made as the upper one. There are circulating libraries
here, as in most villages, and in the evening both Yuki and Haru
read love stories, or accounts of ancient heroes and heroines,
dressed up to suit the popular taste, written in the easiest
possible style. Ito has about ten volumes of novels in his room,
and spends half the night in reading them.

Yuki's son, a lad of thirteen, often comes to my room to display
his skill in writing the Chinese character. He is a very bright
boy, and shows considerable talent for drawing. Indeed, it is only
a short step from writing to drawing. Giotto's O hardly involved
more breadth and vigour of touch than some of these characters.
They are written with a camel's-hair brush dipped in Indian ink,
instead of a pen, and this boy, with two or three vigorous touches,
produces characters a foot long, such as are mounted and hung as
tablets outside the different shops. Yuki plays the samisen, which
may be regarded as the national female instrument, and Haru goes to
a teacher daily for lessons on the same.

The art of arranging flowers is taught in manuals, the study of
which forms part of a girl's education, and there is scarcely a day
in which my room is not newly decorated. It is an education to me;
I am beginning to appreciate the extreme beauty of solitude in
decoration. In the alcove hangs a kakemono of exquisite beauty, a
single blossoming branch of the cherry. On one panel of a folding
screen there is a single iris. The vases which hang so gracefully
on the polished posts contain each a single peony, a single iris, a
single azalea, stalk, leaves, and corolla--all displayed in their
full beauty. Can anything be more grotesque and barbarous than our
"florists' bouquets," a series of concentric rings of flowers of
divers colours, bordered by maidenhair and a piece of stiff lace
paper, in which stems, leaves, and even petals are brutally
crushed, and the grace and individuality of each flower
systematically destroyed?

Kanaya is the chief man in this village, besides being the leader
of the dissonant squeaks and discords which represent music at the
Shinto festivals, and in some mysterious back region he compounds
and sells drugs. Since I have been here the beautification of his
garden has been his chief object, and he has made a very
respectable waterfall, a rushing stream, a small lake, a rustic
bamboo bridge, and several grass banks, and has transplanted
several large trees. He kindly goes out with me a good deal, and,
as he is very intelligent, and Ito is proving an excellent, and, I
think, a faithful interpreter, I find it very pleasant to be here.

They rise at daylight, fold up the wadded quilts or futons on and
under which they have slept, and put them and the wooden pillows,
much like stereoscopes in shape, with little rolls of paper or
wadding on the top, into a press with a sliding door, sweep the
mats carefully, dust all the woodwork and the verandahs, open the
amado--wooden shutters which, by sliding in a groove along the edge
of the verandah, box in the whole house at night, and retire into
an ornamental projection in the day--and throw the paper windows
back. Breakfast follows, then domestic avocations, dinner at one,
and sewing, gardening, and visiting till six, when they take the
evening meal.

Visitors usually arrive soon afterwards, and stay till eleven or
twelve. Japanese chess, story-telling, and the samisen fill up the
early part of the evening, but later, an agonising performance,
which they call singing, begins, which sounds like the very essence
of heathenishness, and consists mainly in a prolonged vibrating
"No." As soon as I hear it I feel as if I were among savages.
Sake, or rice beer, is always passed round before the visitors
leave, in little cups with the gods of luck at the bottom of them.
Sake, when heated, mounts readily to the head, and a single small
cup excites the half-witted man-servant to some very foolish
musical performances. I am sorry to write it, but his master and
mistress take great pleasure in seeing him make a fool of himself,
and Ito, who is from policy a total abstainer, goes into
convulsions of laughter.

One evening I was invited to join the family, and they entertained
me by showing me picture and guide books. Most Japanese provinces
have their guide-books, illustrated by wood-cuts of the most
striking objects, and giving itineraries, names of yadoyas, and
other local information. One volume of pictures, very finely
executed on silk, was more than a century old. Old gold lacquer
and china, and some pieces of antique embroidered silk, were also
produced for my benefit, and some musical instruments of great
beauty, said to be more than two centuries old. None of these
treasures are kept in the house, but in the kura, or fireproof
storehouse, close by. The rooms are not encumbered by ornaments; a
single kakemono, or fine piece of lacquer or china, appears for a
few days and then makes way for something else; so they have
variety as well as simplicity, and each object is enjoyed in its
turn without distraction.

Kanaya and his sister often pay me an evening visit, and, with
Brunton's map on the floor, we project astonishing routes to
Niigata, which are usually abruptly abandoned on finding a
mountain-chain in the way with never a road over it. The life of
these people seems to pass easily enough, but Kanaya deplores the
want of money; he would like to be rich, and intends to build a
hotel for foreigners.

The only vestige of religion in his house is the kamidana, or god-
shelf, on which stands a wooden shrine like a Shinto temple, which
contains the memorial tablets to deceased relations. Each morning
a sprig of evergreen and a little rice and sake are placed before
it, and every evening a lighted lamp.

LETTER X--(Continued)

Darkness visible--Nikko Shops--Girls and Matrons--Night and Sleep--
Parental Love--Childish Docility--Hair-dressing--Skin Diseases.

I don't wonder that the Japanese rise early, for their evenings are
cheerless, owing to the dismal illumination. In this and other
houses the lamp consists of a square or circular lacquer stand,
with four uprights, 2.5 feet high, and panes of white paper. A
flatted iron dish is suspended in this full of oil, with the pith
of a rush with a weight in the centre laid across it, and one of
the projecting ends is lighted. This wretched apparatus is called
an andon, and round its wretched "darkness visible" the family
huddles--the children to play games and learn lessons, and the
women to sew; for the Japanese daylight is short and the houses are
dark. Almost more deplorable is a candlestick of the same height
as the andon, with a spike at the top which fits into a hole at the
bottom of a "farthing candle" of vegetable wax, with a thick wick
made of rolled paper, which requires constant snuffing, and, after
giving for a short time a dim and jerky light, expires with a bad
smell. Lamps, burning mineral oils, native and imported, are being
manufactured on a large scale, but, apart from the peril connected
with them, the carriage of oil into country districts is very
expensive. No Japanese would think of sleeping without having an
andon burning all night in his room.

These villages are full of shops. There is scarcely a house which
does not sell something. Where the buyers come from, and how a
profit can be made, is a mystery. Many of the things are eatables,
such as dried fishes, 1.5 inch long, impaled on sticks; cakes,
sweetmeats composed of rice, flour, and very little sugar; circular
lumps of rice dough, called mochi; roots boiled in brine; a white
jelly made from beans; and ropes, straw shoes for men and horses,
straw cloaks, paper umbrellas, paper waterproofs, hair-pins, tooth-
picks, tobacco pipes, paper mouchoirs, and numbers of other trifles
made of bamboo, straw, grass, and wood. These goods are on stands,
and in the room behind, open to the street, all the domestic
avocations are going on, and the housewife is usually to be seen
boiling water or sewing with a baby tucked into the back of her
dress. A lucifer factory has recently been put up, and in many
house fronts men are cutting up wood into lengths for matches. In
others they are husking rice, a very laborious process, in which
the grain is pounded in a mortar sunk in the floor by a flat-ended
wooden pestle attached to a long horizontal lever, which is worked
by the feet of a man, invariably naked, who stands at the other

In some women are weaving, in others spinning cotton. Usually
there are three or four together--the mother, the eldest son's
wife, and one or two unmarried girls. The girls marry at sixteen,
and shortly these comely, rosy, wholesome-looking creatures pass
into haggard, middle-aged women with vacant faces, owing to the
blackening of the teeth and removal of the eyebrows, which, if they
do not follow betrothal, are resorted to on the birth of the first
child. In other houses women are at their toilet, blackening their
teeth before circular metal mirrors placed in folding stands on the
mats, or performing ablutions, unclothed to the waist. Early the
village is very silent, while the children are at school; their
return enlivens it a little, but they are quiet even at play; at
sunset the men return, and things are a little livelier; you hear a
good deal of splashing in baths, and after that they carry about
and play with their younger children, while the older ones prepare
lessons for the following day by reciting them in a high,
monotonous twang. At dark the paper windows are drawn, the amado,
or external wooden shutters, are closed, the lamp is lighted before
the family shrine, supper is eaten, the children play at quiet
games round the andon; and about ten the quilts and wooden pillows
are produced from the press, the amado are bolted, and the family
lies down to sleep in one room. Small trays of food and the
tabako-bon are always within reach of adult sleepers, and one grows
quite accustomed to hear the sound of ashes being knocked out of
the pipe at intervals during the night. The children sit up as
late as their parents, and are included in all their conversation.

I never saw people take so much delight in their offspring,
carrying them about, or holding their hands in walking, watching
and entering into their games, supplying them constantly with new
toys, taking them to picnics and festivals, never being content to
be without them, and treating other people's children also with a
suitable measure of affection and attention. Both fathers and
mothers take a pride in their children. It is most amusing about
six every morning to see twelve or fourteen men sitting on a low
wall, each with a child under two years in his arms, fondling and
playing with it, and showing off its physique and intelligence. To
judge from appearances, the children form the chief topic at this
morning gathering. At night, after the houses are shut up, looking
through the long fringe of rope or rattan which conceals the
sliding door, you see the father, who wears nothing but a maro in
"the bosom of his family," bending his ugly, kindly face over a
gentle-looking baby, and the mother, who more often than not has
dropped the kimono from her shoulders, enfolding two children
destitute of clothing in her arms. For some reasons they prefer
boys, but certainly girls are equally petted and loved. The
children, though for our ideas too gentle and formal, are very
prepossessing in looks and behaviour. They are so perfectly docile
and obedient, so ready to help their parents, so good to the little
ones, and, in the many hours which I have spent in watching them at
play, I have never heard an angry word or seen a sour look or act.
But they are little men and women rather than children, and their
old-fashioned appearance is greatly aided by their dress, which, as
I have remarked before, is the same as that of adults.

There are, however, various styles of dressing the hair of girls,
by which you can form a pretty accurate estimate of any girl's age
up to her marriage, when the coiffure undergoes a definite change.
The boys all look top-heavy and their heads of an abnormal size,
partly from a hideous practice of shaving the head altogether for
the first three years. After this the hair is allowed to grow in
three tufts, one over each ear, and the other at the back of the
neck; as often, however, a tuft is grown at the top of the back of
the head. At ten the crown alone is shaved and a forelock is worn,
and at fifteen, when the boy assumes the responsibilities of
manhood, his hair is allowed to grow like that of a man. The grave
dignity of these boys, with the grotesque patterns on their big
heads, is most amusing.

Would that these much-exposed skulls were always smooth and clean!
It is painful to see the prevalence of such repulsive maladies as
scabies, scald-head, ringworm, sore eyes, and unwholesome-looking
eruptions, and fully 30 per cent of the village people are badly
seamed with smallpox.

LETTER X--(Completed)

Shops and Shopping--The Barber's Shop--A Paper Waterproof--Ito's
Vanity--Preparations for the Journey--Transport and Prices--Money
and Measurements.

I have had to do a little shopping in Hachiishi for my journey.
The shop-fronts, you must understand, are all open, and at the
height of the floor, about two feet from the ground, there is a
broad ledge of polished wood on which you sit down. A woman
everlastingly boiling water on a bronze hibachi, or brazier,
shifting the embers about deftly with brass tongs like chopsticks,
and with a baby looking calmly over her shoulders, is the
shopwoman; but she remains indifferent till she imagines that you
have a definite purpose of buying, when she comes forward bowing to
the ground, and I politely rise and bow too. Then I or Ito ask the
price of a thing, and she names it, very likely asking 4s. for what
ought to sell at 6d. You say 3s., she laughs and says 3s. 6d.; you
say 2s., she laughs again and says 3s., offering you the tabako-
bon. Eventually the matter is compromised by your giving her 1s.,
at which she appears quite delighted. With a profusion of bows and
"sayo naras" on each side, you go away with the pleasant feeling of
having given an industrious woman twice as much as the thing was
worth to her, and less than what it is worth to you!

There are several barbers' shops, and the evening seems a very busy
time with them. This operation partakes of the general want of
privacy of the life of the village, and is performed in the raised
open front of the shop. Soap is not used, and the process is a
painful one. The victims let their garments fall to their waists,
and each holds in his left hand a lacquered tray to receive the
croppings. The ugly Japanese face at this time wears a most
grotesque expression of stolid resignation as it is held and pulled
about by the operator, who turns it in all directions, that he may
judge of the effect that he is producing. The shaving the face
till it is smooth and shiny, and the cutting, waxing, and tying of
the queue with twine made of paper, are among the evening sights of

Lacquer and things curiously carved in wood are the great
attractions of the shops, but they interest me far less than the
objects of utility in Japanese daily life, with their ingenuity of
contrivance and perfection of adaptation and workmanship. A seed
shop, where seeds are truly idealised, attracts me daily. Thirty
varieties are offered for sale, as various in form as they are in
colour, and arranged most artistically on stands, while some are
put up in packages decorated with what one may call a facsimile of
the root, leaves, and flower, in water-colours. A lad usually lies
on the mat behind executing these very creditable pictures--for
such they are--with a few bold and apparently careless strokes with
his brush. He gladly sold me a peony as a scrap for a screen for 3
sen. My purchases, with this exception, were necessaries only--a
paper waterproof cloak, "a circular," black outside and yellow
inside, made of square sheets of oiled paper cemented together, and
some large sheets of the same for covering my baggage; and I
succeeded in getting Ito out of his obnoxious black wide-awake into
a basin-shaped hat like mine, for, ugly as I think him, he has a
large share of personal vanity, whitens his teeth, and powders his
face carefully before a mirror, and is in great dread of sunburn.
He powders his hands too, and polishes his nails, and never goes
out without gloves.

To-morrow I leave luxury behind and plunge into the interior,
hoping to emerge somehow upon the Sea of Japan. No information can
be got here except about the route to Niigata, which I have decided
not to take, so, after much study of Brunton's map, I have fixed
upon one place, and have said positively, "I go to Tajima." If I
reach it I can get farther, but all I can learn is, "It's a very
bad road, it's all among the mountains." Ito, who has a great
regard for his own comforts, tries to dissuade me from going by
saying that I shall lose mine, but, as these kind people have
ingeniously repaired my bed by doubling the canvas and lacing it
into holes in the side poles, {9} and as I have lived for the last
three days on rice, eggs, and coarse vermicelli about the thickness
and colour of earth-worms, this prospect does not appal me! In
Japan there is a Land Transport Company, called Riku-un-kaisha,
with a head-office in Tokiyo, and branches in various towns and
villages. It arranges for the transport of travellers and
merchandise by pack-horses and coolies at certain fixed rates, and
gives receipts in due form. It hires the horses from the farmers,
and makes a moderate profit on each transaction, but saves the
traveller from difficulties, delays, and extortions. The prices
vary considerably in different districts, and are regulated by the
price of forage, the state of the roads, and the number of hireable
horses. For a ri, nearly 2.5 miles, they charge from 6 to 10 sen
for a horse and the man who leads it, for a kuruma with one man
from 4 to 9 sen for the same distance, and for baggage coolies
about the same. [This Transport Company is admirably organised. I
employed it in journeys of over 1200 miles, and always found it
efficient and reliable.] I intend to make use of it always, much
against Ito's wishes, who reckoned on many a prospective "squeeze"
in dealings with the farmers.

My journey will now be entirely over "unbeaten tracks," and will
lead through what may be called "Old Japan;" and as it will be
natural to use Japanese words for money and distances, for which
there are no English terms, I give them here. A yen is a note
representing a dollar, or about 3s. 7d. of our money; a sen is
something less than a halfpenny; a rin is a thin round coin of iron
or bronze, with a square hole in the middle, of which 10 make a
sen, and 1000 a yen; and a tempo is a handsome oval bronze coin
with a hole in the centre, of which 5 make 4 sen. Distances are
measured by ri, cho, and ken. Six feet make one ken, sixty ken one
cho, and thirty-six cho one ri, or nearly 2.5 English miles. When
I write of a road I mean a bridle-path from four to eight feet
wide, kuruma roads being specified as such. I. L. B.


Comfort disappears--Fine Scenery--An Alarm--A Farm-house--An
unusual Costume--Bridling a Horse--Female Dress and Ugliness--
Babies--My Mago--Beauties of the Kinugawa--Fujihara--My Servant--
Horse-shoes--An absurd Mistake.

FUJIHARA, June 24.

Ito's informants were right. Comfort was left behind at Nikko!

A little woman brought two depressed-looking mares at six this
morning; my saddle and bridle were put on one, and Ito and the
baggage on the other; my hosts and I exchanged cordial good wishes
and obeisances, and, with the women dragging my sorry mare by a
rope round her nose, we left the glorious shrines and solemn
cryptomeria groves of Nikko behind, passed down its long, clean
street, and where the In Memoriam avenue is densest and darkest
turned off to the left by a path like the bed of a brook, which
afterwards, as a most atrocious trail, wound about among the rough
boulders of the Daiya, which it crosses often on temporary bridges
of timbers covered with branches and soil. After crossing one of
the low spurs of the Nikkosan mountains, we wound among ravines
whose steep sides are clothed with maple, oak, magnolia, elm, pine,
and cryptomeria, linked together by festoons of the redundant
Wistaria chinensis, and brightened by azalea and syringa clusters.
Every vista was blocked by some grand mountain, waterfalls
thundered, bright streams glanced through the trees, and in the
glorious sunshine of June the country looked most beautiful.

We travelled less than a ri an hour, as it was a mere flounder
either among rocks or in deep mud, the woman in her girt-up dress
and straw sandals trudging bravely along, till she suddenly flung
away the rope, cried out, and ran backwards, perfectly scared by a
big grey snake, with red spots, much embarrassed by a large frog
which he would not let go, though, like most of his kind, he was
alarmed by human approach, and made desperate efforts to swallow
his victim and wriggle into the bushes. After crawling for three
hours we dismounted at the mountain farm of Kohiaku, on the edge of
a rice valley, and the woman counted her packages to see that they
were all right, and without waiting for a gratuity turned homewards
with her horses. I pitched my chair in the verandah of a house
near a few poor dwellings inhabited by peasants with large
families, the house being in the barn-yard of a rich sake maker. I
waited an hour, grew famished, got some weak tea and boiled barley,
waited another hour, and yet another, for all the horses were
eating leaves on the mountains. There was a little stir. Men
carried sheaves of barley home on their backs, and stacked them
under the eaves. Children, with barely the rudiments of clothing,
stood and watched me hour after hour, and adults were not ashamed
to join the group, for they had never seen a foreign woman, a fork,
or a spoon. Do you remember a sentence in Dr. Macgregor's last
sermon? "What strange sights some of you will see!" Could there
be a stranger one than a decent-looking middle-aged man lying on
his chest in the verandah, raised on his elbows, and intently
reading a book, clothed only in a pair of spectacles? Besides that
curious piece of still life, women frequently drew water from a
well by the primitive contrivance of a beam suspended across an
upright, with the bucket at one end and a stone at the other.

When the horses arrived the men said they could not put on the
bridle, but, after much talk, it was managed by two of them
violently forcing open the jaws of the animal, while a third seized
a propitious moment for slipping the bit into her mouth. At the
next change a bridle was a thing unheard of, and when I suggested
that the creature would open her mouth voluntarily if the bit were
pressed close to her teeth, the standers-by mockingly said, "No
horse ever opens his mouth except to eat or to bite," and were only
convinced after I had put on the bridle myself. The new horses had
a rocking gait like camels, and I was glad to dispense with them at
Kisagoi, a small upland hamlet, a very poor place, with poverty-
stricken houses, children very dirty and sorely afflicted by skin
maladies, and women with complexions and features hardened by
severe work and much wood smoke into positive ugliness, and with
figures anything but statuesque.

I write the truth as I see it, and if my accounts conflict with
those of tourists who write of the Tokaido and Nakasendo, of Lake
Biwa and Hakone, it does not follow that either is inaccurate. But
truly this is a new Japan to me, of which no books have given me
any idea, and it is not fairyland. The men may be said to wear
nothing. Few of the women wear anything but a short petticoat
wound tightly round them, or blue cotton trousers very tight in the
legs and baggy at the top, with a blue cotton garment open to the
waist tucked into the band, and a blue cotton handkerchief knotted
round the head. From the dress no notion of the sex of the wearer
could be gained, nor from the faces, if it were not for the shaven
eyebrows and black teeth. The short petticoat is truly barbarous-
looking, and when a woman has a nude baby on her back or in her
arms, and stands staring vacantly at the foreigner, I can hardly
believe myself in "civilised" Japan. A good-sized child, strong
enough to hold up his head, sees the world right cheerfully looking
over his mother's shoulders, but it is a constant distress to me to
see small children of six and seven years old lugging on their
backs gristly babies, whose shorn heads are frizzling in the sun
and "wobbling" about as though they must drop off, their eyes, as
nurses say, "looking over their heads." A number of silk-worms are
kept in this region, and in the open barns groups of men in
nature's costume, and women unclothed to their waists, were busy
stripping mulberry branches. The houses were all poor, and the
people dirty both in their clothing and persons. Some of the
younger women might possibly have been comely, if soap and water
had been plentifully applied to their faces; but soap is not used,
and such washing as the garments get is only the rubbing them a
little with sand in a running stream. I will give you an amusing
instance of the way in which one may make absurd mistakes. I heard
many stories of the viciousness and aggressiveness of pack-horses,
and was told that they were muzzled to prevent them from pasturing
upon the haunches of their companions and making vicious snatches
at men. Now, I find that the muzzle is only to prevent them from
eating as they travel. Mares are used exclusively in this region,
and they are the gentlest of their race. If you have the weight of
baggage reckoned at one horse-load, though it should turn out that
the weight is too great for a weakly animal, and the Transport
agent distributes it among two or even three horses, you only pay
for one; and though our cortege on leaving Kisagoi consisted of
four small, shock-headed mares who could hardly see through their
bushy forelocks, with three active foals, and one woman and three
girls to lead them, I only paid for two horses at 7 sen a ri.

My mago, with her toil-hardened, thoroughly good-natured face
rendered hideous by black teeth, wore straw sandals, blue cotton
trousers with a vest tucked into them, as poor and worn as they
could be, and a blue cotton towel knotted round her head. As the
sky looked threatening she carried a straw rain-cloak, a thatch of
two connected capes, one fastening at the neck, the other at the
waist, and a flat hat of flags, 2.5 feet in diameter, hung at her
back like a shield. Up and down, over rocks and through deep mud,
she trudged with a steady stride, turning her kind, ugly face at
intervals to see if the girls were following. I like the firm
hardy gait which this unbecoming costume permits better than the
painful shuffle imposed upon the more civilised women by their
tight skirts and high clogs.

From Kohiaku the road passed through an irregular grassy valley
between densely-wooded hills, the valley itself timbered with park-
like clumps of pine and Spanish chestnuts; but on leaving Kisagoi
the scenery changed. A steep rocky tract brought us to the
Kinugawa, a clear rushing river, which has cut its way deeply
through coloured rock, and is crossed at a considerable height by a
bridge with an alarmingly steep curve, from which there is a fine
view of high mountains, and among them Futarayama, to which some of
the most ancient Shinto legends are attached. We rode for some
time within hearing of the Kinugawa, catching magnificent glimpses
of it frequently--turbulent and locked in by walls of porphyry, or
widening and calming and spreading its aquamarine waters over great
slabs of pink and green rock, lighted fitfully by the sun, or
spanned by rainbows, or pausing to rest in deep shady pools, but
always beautiful. The mountains through which it forces its way on
the other side are precipitous and wooded to their summits with
coniferae, while the less abrupt side, along which the tract is
carried, curves into green knolls in its lower slopes, sprinkled
with grand Spanish chestnuts scarcely yet in blossom, with maples
which have not yet lost the scarlet which they wear in spring as
well as autumn, and with many flowering trees and shrubs which are
new to me, and with an undergrowth of red azaleas, syringa, blue
hydrangea--the very blue of heaven--yellow raspberries, ferns,
clematis, white and yellow lilies, blue irises, and fifty other
trees and shrubs entangled and festooned by the wistaria, whose
beautiful foliage is as common as is that of the bramble with us.
The redundancy of the vegetation was truly tropical, and the
brilliancy and variety of its living greens, dripping with recent
rain, were enhanced by the slant rays of the afternoon sun.

The few hamlets we passed are of farm-houses only, the deep-eaved
roofs covering in one sweep dwelling-house, barn, and stable. In
every barn unclothed people were pursuing various industries. We
met strings of pack-mares, tied head and tail, loaded with rice and
sake, and men and women carrying large creels full of mulberry
leaves. The ravine grew more and more beautiful, and an ascent
through a dark wood of arrowy cryptomeria brought us to this
village exquisitely situated, where a number of miniature ravines,
industriously terraced for rice, come down upon the great chasm of
the Kinugawa. Eleven hours of travelling have brought me eighteen

IKARI, June 25.--Fujihara has forty-six farm-houses and a yadoya--
all dark, damp, dirty, and draughty, a combination of dwelling-
house, barn, and stable. The yadoya consisted of a daidokoro, or
open kitchen, and stable below, and a small loft above, capable of
division, and I found on returning from a walk six Japanese in
extreme deshabille occupying the part through which I had to pass.
On this being remedied I sat down to write, but was soon driven
upon the balcony, under the eaves, by myriads of fleas, which
hopped out of the mats as sandhoppers do out of the sea sand, and
even in the balcony, hopped over my letter. There were two outer
walls of hairy mud with living creatures crawling in the cracks;
cobwebs hung from the uncovered rafters. The mats were brown with
age and dirt, the rice was musty, and only partially cleaned, the
eggs had seen better days, and the tea was musty.

I saw everything out of doors with Ito--the patient industry, the
exquisitely situated village, the evening avocations, the quiet
dulness--and then contemplated it all from my balcony and read the
sentence (from a paper in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society)
which had led me to devise this journey, "There is a most
exquisitely picturesque, but difficult, route up the course of the
Kinugawa, which seems almost as unknown to Japanese as to
foreigners." There was a pure lemon-coloured sky above, and slush
a foot deep below. A road, at this time a quagmire, intersected by
a rapid stream, crossed in many places by planks, runs through the
village. This stream is at once "lavatory" and "drinking
fountain." People come back from their work, sit on the planks,
take off their muddy clothes and wring them out, and bathe their
feet in the current. On either side are the dwellings, in front of
which are much-decayed manure heaps, and the women were engaged in
breaking them up and treading them into a pulp with their bare
feet. All wear the vest and trousers at their work, but only the
short petticoats in their houses, and I saw several respectable
mothers of families cross the road and pay visits in this garment
only, without any sense of impropriety. The younger children wear
nothing but a string and an amulet. The persons, clothing, and
houses are alive with vermin, and if the word squalor can be
applied to independent and industrious people, they were squalid.
Beetles, spiders, and wood-lice held a carnival in my room after
dark, and the presence of horses in the same house brought a number
of horseflies. I sprinkled my stretcher with insect powder, but my
blanket had been on the floor for one minute, and fleas rendered
sleep impossible. The night was very long. The andon went out,
leaving a strong smell of rancid oil. The primitive Japanese dog--
a cream-coloured wolfish-looking animal, the size of a collie, very
noisy and aggressive, but as cowardly as bullies usually are--was
in great force in Fujihara, and the barking, growling, and
quarrelling of these useless curs continued at intervals until
daylight; and when they were not quarrelling, they were howling.
Torrents of rain fell, obliging me to move my bed from place to
place to get out of the drip. At five Ito came and entreated me to
leave, whimpering, "I've had no sleep; there are thousands and
thousands of fleas!" He has travelled by another route to the
Tsugaru Strait through the interior, and says that he would not
have believed that there was such a place in Japan, and that people
in Yokohama will not believe it when he tells them of it and of the
costume of the women. He is "ashamed for a foreigner to see such a
place," he says. His cleverness in travelling and his singular
intelligence surprise me daily. He is very anxious to speak GOOD
English, as distinguished from "common" English, and to get new
words, with their correct pronunciation and spelling. Each day he
puts down in his note-book all the words that I use that he does
not quite understand, and in the evening brings them to me and puts
down their meaning and spelling with their Japanese equivalents.
He speaks English already far better than many professional
interpreters, but would be more pleasing if he had not picked up
some American vulgarisms and free-and-easy ways. It is so
important to me to have a good interpreter, or I should not have
engaged so young and inexperienced a servant; but he is so clever
that he is now able to be cook, laundryman, and general attendant,
as well as courier and interpreter, and I think it is far easier
for me than if he were an older man. I am trying to manage him,
because I saw that he meant to manage me, specially in the matter
of "squeezes." He is intensely Japanese, his patriotism has all
the weakness and strength of personal vanity, and he thinks
everything inferior that is foreign. Our manners, eyes, and modes
of eating appear simply odious to him. He delights in retailing
stories of the bad manners of Englishmen, describes them as
"roaring out ohio to every one on the road," frightening the tea-
house nymphs, kicking or slapping their coolies, stamping over
white mats in muddy boots, acting generally like ill-bred Satyrs,
exciting an ill-concealed hatred in simple country districts, and
bringing themselves and their country into contempt and ridicule.
{10} He is very anxious about my good behaviour, and as I am
equally anxious to be courteous everywhere in Japanese fashion, and
not to violate the general rules of Japanese etiquette, I take his
suggestions as to what I ought to do and avoid in very good part,
and my bows are growing more profound every day! The people are so
kind and courteous, that it is truly brutal in foreigners not to be
kind and courteous to them. You will observe that I am entirely
dependent on Ito, not only for travelling arrangements, but for
making inquiries, gaining information, and even for companionship,
such as it is; and our being mutually embarked on a hard and
adventurous journey will, I hope, make us mutually kind and
considerate. Nominally, he is a Shintoist, which means nothing.
At Nikko I read to him the earlier chapters of St. Luke, and when I
came to the story of the Prodigal Son I was interrupted by a
somewhat scornful laugh and the remark, "Why, all this is our
Buddha over again!"

To-day's journey, though very rough, has been rather pleasant. The
rain moderated at noon, and I left Fujihara on foot, wearing my
American "mountain dress" and Wellington boots,--the only costume
in which ladies can enjoy pedestrian or pack-horse travelling in
this country,--with a light straw mat--the waterproof of the
region--hanging over my shoulders, and so we plodded on with two
baggage horses through the ankle-deep mud, till the rain cleared
off, the mountains looked through the mist, the augmented Kinugawa
thundered below, and enjoyment became possible, even in my half-fed
condition. Eventually I mounted a pack-saddle, and we crossed a
spur of Takadayama at a height of 2100 feet on a well-devised
series of zigzags, eight of which in one place could be seen one
below another. The forest there is not so dense as usual, and the
lower mountain slopes are sprinkled with noble Spanish chestnuts.
The descent was steep and slippery, the horse had tender feet, and,
after stumbling badly, eventually came down, and I went over his
head, to the great distress of the kindly female mago. The straw
shoes tied with wisps round the pasterns are a great nuisance. The
"shoe strings" are always coming untied, and the shoes only wear
about two ri on soft ground, and less than one on hard. They keep
the feet so soft and spongy that the horses can't walk without them
at all, and as soon as they get thin your horse begins to stumble,
the mago gets uneasy, and presently you stop; four shoes, which are
hanging from the saddle, are soaked in water and are tied on with
much coaxing, raising the animal fully an inch above the ground.
Anything more temporary and clumsy could not be devised. The
bridle paths are strewn with them, and the children collect them in
heaps to decay for manure. They cost 3 or 4 sen the set, and in
every village men spend their leisure time in making them.

At the next stage, called Takahara, we got one horse for the
baggage, crossed the river and the ravine, and by a steep climb
reached a solitary yadoya with the usual open front and irori,
round which a number of people, old and young, were sitting. When
I arrived a whole bevy of nice-looking girls took to flight, but
were soon recalled by a word from Ito to their elders. Lady
Parkes, on a side-saddle and in a riding-habit, has been taken for
a man till the people saw her hair, and a young friend of mine, who
is very pretty and has a beautiful complexion, when travelling
lately with her husband, was supposed to be a man who had shaven
off his beard. I wear a hat, which is a thing only worn by women
in the fields as a protection from sun and rain, my eyebrows are
unshaven, and my teeth are unblackened, so these girls supposed me
to be a foreign man. Ito in explanation said, "They haven't seen
any, but everybody brings them tales how rude foreigners are to
girls, and they are awful scared." There was nothing eatable but
rice and eggs, and I ate them under the concentrated stare of
eighteen pairs of dark eyes. The hot springs, to which many people
afflicted with sores resort, are by the river, at the bottom of a
rude flight of steps, in an open shed, but I could not ascertain
their temperature, as a number of men and women were sitting in the
water. They bathe four times a day, and remain for an hour at a

We left for the five miles' walk to Ikari in a torrent of rain by a
newly-made path completely shut in with the cascading Kinugawa, and
carried along sometimes low, sometimes high, on props projecting
over it from the face of the rock. I do not expect to see anything
lovelier in Japan.

The river, always crystal-blue or crystal-green, largely increased
in volume by the rains, forces itself through gates of brightly-
coloured rock, by which its progress is repeatedly arrested, and
rarely lingers for rest in all its sparkling, rushing course. It
is walled in by high mountains, gloriously wooded and cleft by dark
ravines, down which torrents were tumbling in great drifts of foam,
crashing and booming, boom and crash multiplied by many an echo,
and every ravine afforded glimpses far back of more mountains,
clefts, and waterfalls, and such over-abundant vegetation that I
welcomed the sight of a gray cliff or bare face of rock. Along the
path there were fascinating details, composed of the manifold
greenery which revels in damp heat, ferns, mosses, confervae,
fungi, trailers, shading tiny rills which dropped down into
grottoes feathery with the exquisite Trichomanes radicans, or
drooped over the rustic path and hung into the river, and overhead
the finely incised and almost feathery foliage of several varieties
of maple admitted the light only as a green mist. The spring tints
have not yet darkened into the monotone of summer, rose azaleas
still light the hillsides, and masses of cryptomeria give depth and
shadow. Still, beautiful as it all is, one sighs for something
which shall satisfy one's craving for startling individuality and
grace of form, as in the coco-palm and banana of the tropics. The
featheriness of the maple, and the arrowy straightness and
pyramidal form of the cryptomeria, please me better than all else;
but why criticise? Ten minutes of sunshine would transform the
whole into fairyland.

There were no houses and no people. Leaving this beautiful river
we crossed a spur of a hill, where all the trees were matted
together by a very fragrant white honeysuckle, and came down upon
an open valley where a quiet stream joins the loud-tongued
Kinugawa, and another mile brought us to this beautifully-situated
hamlet of twenty-five houses, surrounded by mountains, and close to
a mountain stream called the Okawa. The names of Japanese rivers
give one very little geographical information from their want of
continuity. A river changes its name several times in a course of
thirty or forty miles, according to the districts through which it
passes. This is my old friend the Kinugawa, up which I have been
travelling for two days. Want of space is a great aid to the
picturesque. Ikari is crowded together on a hill slope, and its
short, primitive-looking street, with its warm browns and greys, is
quite attractive in "the clear shining after rain." My halting-
place is at the express office at the top of the hill--a place like
a big barn, with horses at one end and a living-room at the other,
and in the centre much produce awaiting transport, and a group of
people stripping mulberry branches. The nearest daimiyo used to
halt here on his way to Tokiyo, so there are two rooms for
travellers, called daimiyos' rooms, fifteen feet high, handsomely
ceiled in dark wood, the shoji of such fine work as to merit the
name of fret-work, the fusuma artistically decorated, the mats
clean and fine, and in the alcove a sword-rack of old gold lacquer.
Mine is the inner room, and Ito and four travellers occupy the
outer one. Though very dark, it is luxury after last night. The
rest of the house is given up to the rearing of silk-worms. The
house-masters here and at Fujihara are not used to passports, and
Ito, who is posing as a town-bred youth, has explained and copied
mine, all the village men assembling to hear it read aloud. He
does not know the word used for "scientific investigation," but, in
the idea of increasing his own importance by exaggerating mine, I
hear him telling the people that I am gakusha, i.e. learned! There
is no police-station here, but every month policemen pay
domiciliary visits to these outlying yadoyas and examine the
register of visitors.

This is a much neater place than the last, but the people look
stupid and apathetic, and I wonder what they think of the men who
have abolished the daimiyo and the feudal regime, have raised the
eta to citizenship, and are hurrying the empire forward on the
tracks of western civilisation!

Since shingle has given place to thatch there is much to admire in
the villages, with their steep roofs, deep eaves and balconies, the
warm russet of roofs and walls, the quaint confusion of the
farmhouses, the hedges of camellia and pomegranate, the bamboo
clumps and persimmon orchards, and (in spite of dirt and bad
smells) the generally satisfied look of the peasant proprietors.

No food can be got here except rice and eggs, and I am haunted by
memories of the fowls and fish of Nikko, to say nothing of the
"flesh pots" of the Legation, and

"--a sorrow's crown of sorrow
Is remembering happier things!"

The mercury falls to 70 degrees at night, and I generally awake
from cold at 3 a.m., for my blankets are only summer ones, and I
dare not supplement them with a quilt, either for sleeping on or
under, because of the fleas which it contains. I usually retire
about 7.30, for there is almost no twilight, and very little
inducement for sitting up by the dimness of candle or andon, and I
have found these days of riding on slow, rolling, stumbling horses
very severe, and if I were anything of a walker, should certainly
prefer pedestrianism. I. L. B.


A Fantastic Jumble--The "Quiver" of Poverty--The Water-shed--From
Bad to Worse--The Rice Planter's Holiday--A Diseased Crowd--Amateur
Doctoring--Want of Cleanliness--Rapid Eating--Premature Old Age.


After the hard travelling of six days the rest of Sunday in a quiet
place at a high elevation is truly delightful! Mountains and
passes, valleys and rice swamps, forests and rice swamps, villages
and rice swamps; poverty, industry, dirt, ruinous temples,
prostrate Buddhas, strings of straw-shod pack-horses; long, grey,
featureless streets, and quiet, staring crowds, are all jumbled up
fantastically in my memory. Fine weather accompanied me through
beautiful scenery from Ikari to Yokokawa, where I ate my lunch in
the street to avoid the innumerable fleas of the tea-house, with a
circle round me of nearly all the inhabitants. At first the
children, both old and young, were so frightened that they ran
away, but by degrees they timidly came back, clinging to the skirts
of their parents (skirts, in this case, being a metaphorical
expression), running away again as often as I looked at them. The
crowd was filthy and squalid beyond description. Why should the
"quiver" of poverty be so very full? one asks as one looks at the
swarms of gentle, naked, old-fashioned children, born to a heritage
of hard toil, to be, like their parents, devoured by vermin, and
pressed hard for taxes. A horse kicked off my saddle before it was
girthed, the crowd scattered right and left, and work, which had
been suspended for two hours to stare at the foreigner, began

A long ascent took us to the top of a pass 2500 feet in height, a
projecting spur not 30 feet wide, with a grand view of mountains
and ravines, and a maze of involved streams, which unite in a
vigorous torrent, whose course we followed for some hours, till it
expanded into a quiet river, lounging lazily through a rice swamp
of considerable extent. The map is blank in this region, but I
judged, as I afterwards found rightly, that at that pass we had
crossed the water-shed, and that the streams thenceforward no
longer fall into the Pacific, but into the Sea of Japan. At
Itosawa the horses produced stumbled so intolerably that I walked
the last stage, and reached Kayashima, a miserable village of
fifty-seven houses, so exhausted that I could not go farther, and
was obliged to put up with worse accommodation even than at
Fujihara, with less strength for its hardships.

The yadoya was simply awful. The daidokoro had a large wood fire
burning in a trench, filling the whole place with stinging smoke,
from which my room, which was merely screened off by some
dilapidated shoji, was not exempt. The rafters were black and
shiny with soot and moisture. The house-master, who knelt
persistently on the floor of my room till he was dislodged by Ito,
apologised for the dirt of his house, as well he might. Stifling,
dark, and smoky, as my room was, I had to close the paper windows,
owing to the crowd which assembled in the street. There was
neither rice nor soy, and Ito, who values his own comfort, began to
speak to the house-master and servants loudly and roughly, and to
throw my things about--a style of acting which I promptly
terminated, for nothing could be more hurtful to a foreigner, or
more unkind to the people, than for a servant to be rude and
bullying; and the man was most polite, and never approached me but
on bended knees. When I gave him my passport, as the custom is, he
touched his forehead with it, and then touched the earth with his

I found nothing that I could eat except black beans and boiled
cucumbers. The room was dark, dirty, vile, noisy, and poisoned by
sewage odours, as rooms unfortunately are very apt to be. At the
end of the rice planting there is a holiday for two days, when many
offerings are made to Inari, the god of rice farmers; and the
holiday-makers kept up their revel all night, and drums, stationary
and peripatetic, were constantly beaten in such a way as to prevent

A little boy, the house-master's son, was suffering from a very bad
cough, and a few drops of chlorodyne which I gave him allayed it so
completely that the cure was noised abroad in the earliest hours of
the next morning, and by five o'clock nearly the whole population
was assembled outside my room, with much whispering and shuffling
of shoeless feet, and applications of eyes to the many holes in the
paper windows. When I drew aside the shoji I was disconcerted by
the painful sight which presented itself, for the people were
pressing one upon another, fathers and mothers holding naked
children covered with skin-disease, or with scald-head, or
ringworm, daughters leading mothers nearly blind, men exhibiting
painful sores, children blinking with eyes infested by flies and
nearly closed with ophthalmia; and all, sick and well, in truly
"vile raiment," lamentably dirty and swarming with vermin, the sick
asking for medicine, and the well either bringing the sick or
gratifying an apathetic curiosity. Sadly I told them that I did
not understand their manifold "diseases and torments," and that, if
I did, I had no stock of medicines, and that in my own country the
constant washing of clothes, and the constant application of water
to the skin, accompanied by friction with clean cloths, would be
much relied upon by doctors for the cure and prevention of similar
cutaneous diseases. To pacify them I made some ointment of animal
fat and flowers of sulphur, extracted with difficulty from some
man's hoard, and told them how to apply it to some of the worst
cases. The horse, being unused to a girth, became fidgety as it
was being saddled, creating a STAMPEDE among the crowd, and the
mago would not touch it again. They are as much afraid of their
gentle mares as if they were panthers. All the children followed
me for a considerable distance, and a good many of the adults made
an excuse for going in the same direction.

These people wear no linen, and their clothes, which are seldom
washed, are constantly worn, night and day, as long as they will
hold together. They seal up their houses as hermetically as they
can at night, and herd together in numbers in one sleeping-room,
with its atmosphere vitiated, to begin with, by charcoal and
tobacco fumes, huddled up in their dirty garments in wadded quilts,
which are kept during the day in close cupboards, and are seldom
washed from one year's end to another. The tatami, beneath a
tolerably fair exterior, swarm with insect life, and are
receptacles of dust, organic matters, etc. The hair, which is
loaded with oil and bandoline, is dressed once a week, or less
often in these districts, and it is unnecessary to enter into any
details regarding the distressing results, and much besides may be
left to the imagination. The persons of the people, especially of
the children, are infested with vermin, and one fruitful source of
skin sores is the irritation arising from this cause. The floors
of houses, being concealed by mats, are laid down carelessly with
gaps between the boards, and, as the damp earth is only 18 inches
or 2 feet below, emanations of all kinds enter the mats and pass
into the rooms.

The houses in this region (and I believe everywhere) are
hermetically sealed at night, both in summer and winter, the amado,
which are made without ventilators, literally boxing them in, so
that, unless they are falling to pieces, which is rarely the case,
none of the air vitiated by the breathing of many persons, by the
emanations from their bodies and clothing, by the miasmata produced
by defective domestic arrangements, and by the fumes from charcoal
hibachi, can ever be renewed. Exercise is seldom taken from
choice, and, unless the women work in the fields, they hang over
charcoal fumes the whole day for five months of the year, engaged
in interminable processes of cooking, or in the attempt to get
warm. Much of the food of the peasantry is raw or half-raw salt
fish, and vegetables rendered indigestible by being coarsely
pickled, all bolted with the most marvellous rapidity, as if the
one object of life were to rush through a meal in the shortest
possible time. The married women look as if they had never known
youth, and their skin is apt to be like tanned leather. At
Kayashima I asked the house-master's wife, who looked about fifty,
how old she was (a polite question in Japan), and she replied
twenty-two--one of many similar surprises. Her boy was five years
old, and was still unweaned.

This digression disposes of one aspect of the population. {11}

LETTER XII--(Concluded)

A Japanese Ferry--A Corrugated Road--The Pass of Sanno--Various
Vegetation--An Unattractive Undergrowth--Preponderance of Men.

We changed horses at Tajima, formerly a daimiyo's residence, and,
for a Japanese town, rather picturesque. It makes and exports
clogs, coarse pottery, coarse lacquer, and coarse baskets.

After travelling through rice-fields varying from thirty yards
square to a quarter of an acre, with the tops of the dykes utilised
by planting dwarf beans along them, we came to a large river, the
Arakai, along whose affluents we had been tramping for two days,
and, after passing through several filthy villages, thronged with
filthy and industrious inhabitants, crossed it in a scow. High
forks planted securely in the bank on either side sustained a rope
formed of several strands of the wistaria knotted together. One
man hauled on this hand over hand, another poled at the stern, and
the rapid current did the rest. In this fashion we have crossed
many rivers subsequently. Tariffs of charges are posted at all
ferries, as well as at all bridges where charges are made, and a
man sits in an office to receive the money.

The country was really very beautiful. The views were wider and
finer than on the previous days, taking in great sweeps of peaked
mountains, wooded to their summits, and from the top of the Pass of
Sanno the clustered peaks were glorified into unearthly beauty in a
golden mist of evening sunshine. I slept at a house combining silk
farm, post office, express office, and daimiyo's rooms, at the
hamlet of Ouchi, prettily situated in a valley with mountainous
surroundings, and, leaving early on the following morning, had a
very grand ride, passing in a crateriform cavity the pretty little
lake of Oyake, and then ascending the magnificent pass of Ichikawa.
We turned off what, by ironical courtesy, is called the main road,
upon a villainous track, consisting of a series of lateral
corrugations, about a foot broad, with depressions between them
more than a foot deep, formed by the invariable treading of the
pack-horses in each other's footsteps. Each hole was a quagmire of
tenacious mud, the ascent of 2400 feet was very steep, and the mago
adjured the animals the whole time with Hai! Hai! Hai! which is
supposed to suggest to them that extreme caution is requisite.
Their shoes were always coming untied, and they wore out two sets
in four miles. The top of the pass, like that of a great many
others, is a narrow ridge, on the farther side of which the track
dips abruptly into a tremendous ravine, along whose side we
descended for a mile or so in company with a river whose
reverberating thunder drowned all attempts at speech. A glorious
view it was, looking down between the wooded precipices to a
rolling wooded plain, lying in depths of indigo shadow, bounded by
ranges of wooded mountains, and overtopped by heights heavily
splotched with snow! The vegetation was significant of a milder
climate. The magnolia and bamboo re-appeared, and tropical ferns
mingled with the beautiful blue hydrangea, the yellow Japan lily,
and the great blue campanula. There was an ocean of trees
entangled with a beautiful trailer (Actinidia polygama) with a
profusion of white leaves, which, at a distance, look like great
clusters of white blossoms. But the rank undergrowth of the
forests of this region is not attractive. Many of its component
parts deserve the name of weeds, being gawky, ragged umbels, coarse
docks, rank nettles, and many other things which I don't know, and
never wish to see again. Near the end of this descent my mare took
the bit between her teeth and carried me at an ungainly gallop into
the beautifully situated, precipitous village of Ichikawa, which is
absolutely saturated with moisture by the spray of a fine waterfall
which tumbles through the middle of it, and its trees and road-side
are green with the Protococcus viridis. The Transport Agent there
was a woman. Women keep yadoyas and shops, and cultivate farms as
freely as men. Boards giving the number of inhabitants, male and
female, and the number of horses and bullocks, are put up in each
village, and I noticed in Ichikawa, as everywhere hitherto, that
men preponderate. {12} I. L. B.


The Plain of Wakamatsu--Light Costume--The Takata Crowd--A Congress
of Schoolmasters--Timidity of a Crowd--Bad Roads--Vicious Horses--
Mountain Scenery--A Picturesque Inn--Swallowing a Fish-bone--
Poverty and Suicide--An Inn-kitchen--England Unknown!--My Breakfast


A short ride took us from Ichikawa to a plain about eleven miles
broad by eighteen long. The large town of Wakamatsu stands near
its southern end, and it is sprinkled with towns and villages. The
great lake of Iniwashiro is not far off. The plain is rich and
fertile. In the distance the steep roofs of its villages, with
their groves, look very picturesque. As usual not a fence or gate
is to be seen, or any other hedge than the tall one used as a
screen for the dwellings of the richer farmers.

Bad roads and bad horses detracted from my enjoyment. One hour of
a good horse would have carried me across the plain; as it was,
seven weary hours were expended upon it. The day degenerated, and
closed in still, hot rain; the air was stifling and electric, the
saddle slipped constantly from being too big, the shoes were more
than usually troublesome, the horseflies tormented, and the men and
horses crawled. The rice-fields were undergoing a second process
of puddling, and many of the men engaged in it wore only a hat, and
a fan attached to the girdle.

An avenue of cryptomeria and two handsome and somewhat gilded
Buddhist temples denoted the approach to a place of some
importance, and such Takata is, as being a large town with a
considerable trade in silk, rope, and minjin, and the residence of
one of the higher officials of the ken or prefecture. The street
is a mile long, and every house is a shop. The general aspect is
mean and forlorn. In these little-travelled districts, as soon as
one reaches the margin of a town, the first man one meets turns and
flies down the street, calling out the Japanese equivalent of
"Here's a foreigner!" and soon blind and seeing, old and young,
clothed and naked, gather together. At the yadoya the crowd
assembled in such force that the house-master removed me to some
pretty rooms in a garden; but then the adults climbed on the house-
roofs which overlooked it, and the children on a palisade at the
end, which broke down under their weight, and admitted the whole
inundation; so that I had to close the shoji, with the fatiguing
consciousness during the whole time of nominal rest of a multitude
surging outside. Then five policemen in black alpaca frock-coats
and white trousers invaded my precarious privacy, desiring to see
my passport--a demand never made before except where I halted for
the night. In their European clothes they cannot bow with Japanese
punctiliousness, but they were very polite, and expressed great
annoyance at the crowd, and dispersed it; but they had hardly
disappeared when it gathered again. When I went out I found fully
1000 people helping me to realise how the crowded cities of Judea
sent forth people clothed much as these are when the Miracle-Worker
from Galilee arrived, but not what the fatigue of the crowding and
buzzing must have been to One who had been preaching and working
during the long day. These Japanese crowds, however, are quiet and
gentle, and never press rudely upon one. I could not find it in my
heart to complain of them except to you. Four of the policemen
returned, and escorted me to the outskirts of the town. The noise
made by 1000 people shuffling along in clogs is like the clatter of
a hail-storm.

After this there was a dismal tramp of five hours through rice-
fields. The moist climate and the fatigue of this manner of
travelling are deteriorating my health, and the pain in my spine,
which has been daily increasing, was so severe that I could neither
ride nor walk for more than twenty minutes at a time; and the pace
was so slow that it was six when we reached Bange, a commercial
town of 5000 people, literally in the rice swamp, mean, filthy,
damp, and decaying, and full of an overpowering stench from black,
slimy ditches. The mercury was 84 degrees, and hot rain fell fast
through the motionless air. We dismounted in a shed full of bales
of dried fish, which gave off an overpowering odour, and wet and
dirty people crowded in to stare at the foreigner till the air
seemed unbreathable.

But there were signs of progress. A three days' congress of
schoolmasters was being held; candidates for vacant situations were
being examined; there were lengthy educational discussions going
on, specially on the subject of the value of the Chinese classics
as a part of education; and every inn was crowded.

Bange was malarious: there was so much malarious fever that the
Government had sent additional medical assistance; the hills were
only a ri off, and it seemed essential to go on. But not a horse
could be got till 10 p.m.; the road was worse than the one I had
travelled; the pain became more acute, and I more exhausted, and I
was obliged to remain. Then followed a weary hour, in which the
Express Agent's five emissaries were searching for a room, and
considerably after dark I found myself in a rambling old over-
crowded yadoya, where my room was mainly built on piles above
stagnant water, and the mosquitoes were in such swarms as to make
the air dense, and after a feverish and miserable night I was glad
to get up early and depart.

Fully 2000 people had assembled. After I was mounted I was on the
point of removing my Dollond from the case, which hung on the
saddle horn, when a regular stampede occurred, old and young
running as fast as they possibly could, children being knocked down
in the haste of their elders. Ito said that they thought I was
taking out a pistol to frighten them, and I made him explain what
the object really was, for they are a gentle, harmless people, whom
one would not annoy without sincere regret. In many European
countries, and certainly in some parts of our own, a solitary lady-
traveller in a foreign dress would be exposed to rudeness, insult,
and extortion, if not to actual danger; but I have not met with a
single instance of incivility or real overcharge, and there is no
rudeness even about the crowding. The mago are anxious that I
should not get wet or be frightened, and very scrupulous in seeing
that all straps and loose things are safe at the end of the
journey, and, instead of hanging about asking for gratuities, or
stopping to drink and gossip, they quickly unload the horses, get a
paper from the Transport Agent, and go home. Only yesterday a
strap was missing, and, though it was after dark, the man went back
a ri for it, and refused to take some sen which I wished to give
him, saying he was responsible for delivering everything right at
the journey's end. They are so kind and courteous to each other,
which is very pleasing. Ito is not pleasing or polite in his
manner to me, but when he speaks to his own people he cannot free
himself from the shackles of etiquette, and bows as profoundly and
uses as many polite phrases as anybody else.

In an hour the malarious plain was crossed, and we have been among
piles of mountains ever since. The infamous road was so slippery
that my horse fell several times, and the baggage horse, with Ito
upon him, rolled head over heels, sending his miscellaneous pack in
all directions. Good roads are really the most pressing need of
Japan. It would be far better if the Government were to enrich the
country by such a remunerative outlay as making passable roads for
the transport of goods through the interior, than to impoverish it
by buying ironclads in England, and indulging in expensive western

That so horrible a road should have so good a bridge as that by
which we crossed the broad river Agano is surprising. It consists
of twelve large scows, each one secured to a strong cable of
plaited wistari, which crosses the river at a great height, so as
to allow of the scows and the plank bridge which they carry rising
and falling with the twelve feet variation of the water.

Ito's disaster kept him back for an hour, and I sat meanwhile on a
rice sack in the hamlet of Katakado, a collection of steep-roofed
houses huddled together in a height above the Agano. It was one
mob of pack-horses, over 200 of them, biting, squealing, and
kicking. Before I could dismount, one vicious creature struck at
me violently, but only hit the great wooden stirrup. I could
hardly find any place out of the range of hoofs or teeth. My
baggage horse showed great fury after he was unloaded. He attacked
people right and left with his teeth, struck out savagely with his
fore feet, lashed out with his hind ones, and tried to pin his
master up against a wall.

Leaving this fractious scene we struck again through the mountains.
Their ranges were interminable, and every view from every fresh
ridge grander than the last, for we were now near the lofty range
of the Aidzu Mountains, and the double-peaked Bandaisan, the abrupt
precipices of Itoyasan, and the grand mass of Miyojintake in the
south-west, with their vast snow-fields and snow-filled ravines,
were all visible at once. These summits of naked rock or dazzling
snow, rising above the smothering greenery of the lower ranges into
a heaven of delicious blue, gave exactly that individuality and
emphasis which, to my thinking, Japanese scenery usually lacks.
Riding on first, I arrived alone at the little town of Nozawa, to
encounter the curiosity of a crowd; and, after a rest, we had a
very pleasant walk of three miles along the side of a ridge above a
rapid river with fine grey cliffs on its farther side, with a grand
view of the Aidzu giants, violet coloured in a golden sunset.

At dusk we came upon the picturesque village of Nojiri, on the
margin of a rice valley, but I shrank from spending Sunday in a
hole, and, having spied a solitary house on the very brow of a hill
1500 feet higher, I dragged out the information that it was a tea-
house, and came up to it. It took three-quarters of an hour to
climb the series of precipitous zigzags by which this remarkable
pass is surmounted; darkness came on, accompanied by thunder and
lightning, and just as we arrived a tremendous zigzag of blue flame
lit up the house and its interior, showing a large group sitting
round a wood fire, and then all was thick darkness again. It had a
most startling effect. This house is magnificently situated,
almost hanging over the edge of the knife-like ridge of the pass of
Kuruma, on which it is situated. It is the only yadoya I have been
at from which there has been any view. The villages are nearly
always in the valleys, and the best rooms are at the back, and have
their prospects limited by the paling of the conventional garden.
If it were not for the fleas, which are here in legions, I should
stay longer, for the view of the Aidzu snow is delicious, and, as
there are only two other houses, one can ramble without being

In one a child two and a half years old swallowed a fish-bone last
night, and has been suffering and crying all day, and the grief of
the mother so won Ito's sympathy that he took me to see her. She
had walked up and down with it for eighteen hours, but never
thought of looking into its throat, and was very unwilling that I
should do so. The bone was visible, and easily removed with a
crochet needle. An hour later the mother sent a tray with a
quantity of cakes and coarse confectionery upon it as a present,
with the piece of dried seaweed which always accompanies a gift.
Before night seven people with sore legs applied for "advice." The
sores were all superficial and all alike, and their owners said
that they had been produced by the incessant rubbing of the bites
of ants.

On this summer day the country looks as prosperous as it is
beautiful, and one would not think that acute poverty could exist
in the steep-roofed village of Nojiri, which nestles at the foot of
the hill; but two hempen ropes dangling from a cryptomeria just
below tell the sad tale of an elderly man who hanged himself two
days ago, because he was too poor to provide for a large family;
and the house-mistress and Ito tell me that when a man who has a
young family gets too old or feeble for work he often destroys

My hostess is a widow with a family, a good-natured, bustling
woman, with a great love of talk. All day her house is open all
round, having literally no walls. The roof and solitary upper room
are supported on posts, and my ladder almost touches the kitchen
fire. During the day-time the large matted area under the roof has
no divisions, and groups of travellers and magos lie about, for
every one who has toiled up either side of Kurumatoge takes a cup
of "tea with eating," and the house-mistress is busy the whole day.
A big well is near the fire. Of course there is no furniture; but
a shelf runs under the roof, on which there is a Buddhist god-
house, with two black idols in it, one of them being that much-
worshipped divinity, Daikoku, the god of wealth. Besides a rack
for kitchen utensils, there is only a stand on which are six large
brown dishes with food for sale--salt shell-fish, in a black
liquid, dried trout impaled on sticks, sea slugs in soy, a paste
made of pounded roots, and green cakes made of the slimy river
confervae, pressed and dried--all ill-favoured and unsavoury
viands. This afternoon a man without clothes was treading flour
paste on a mat, a traveller in a blue silk robe was lying on the
floor smoking, and five women in loose attire, with elaborate
chignons and blackened teeth, were squatting round the fire. At
the house-mistress's request I wrote a eulogistic description of
the view from her house, and read it in English, Ito translating
it, to the very great satisfaction of the assemblage. Then I was
asked to write on four fans. The woman has never heard of England.
It is not "a name to conjure with" in these wilds. Neither has she
heard of America. She knows of Russia as a great power, and, of
course, of China, but there her knowledge ends, though she has been
at Tokiyo and Kiyoto.

July 1.--I was just falling asleep last night, in spite of
mosquitoes and fleas, when I was roused by much talking and loud
outcries of poultry; and Ito, carrying a screaming, refractory hen,
and a man and woman whom he had with difficulty bribed to part with
it, appeared by my bed. I feebly said I would have it boiled for
breakfast, but when Ito called me this morning he told me with a
most rueful face that just as he was going to kill it it had
escaped to the woods! In order to understand my feelings you must
have experienced what it is not to have tasted fish, flesh, or
fowl, for ten days! The alternative was eggs and some of the paste
which the man was treading yesterday on the mat cut into strips and
boiled! It was coarse flour and buckwheat, so, you see, I have
learned not to be particular!

I. L. B.


An Infamous Road--Monotonous Greenery--Abysmal Dirt--Low Lives--The
Tsugawa Yadoya--Politeness--A Shipping Port--A Barbarian Devil.

TSUGAWA, July 2.

Yesterday's journey was one of the most severe I have yet had, for
in ten hours of hard travelling I only accomplished fifteen miles.
The road from Kurumatoge westwards is so infamous that the stages
are sometimes little more than a mile. Yet it is by it, so far at
least as the Tsugawa river, that the produce and manufactures of
the rich plain of Aidzu, with its numerous towns, and of a very
large interior district, must find an outlet at Niigata. In
defiance of all modern ideas, it goes straight up and straight down
hill, at a gradient that I should be afraid to hazard a guess at,
and at present it is a perfect quagmire, into which great stones
have been thrown, some of which have subsided edgewise, and others
have disappeared altogether. It is the very worst road I ever rode
over, and that is saying a good deal! Kurumatoge was the last of
seventeen mountain-passes, over 2000 feet high, which I have
crossed since leaving Nikko. Between it and Tsugawa the scenery,
though on a smaller scale, is of much the same character as
hitherto--hills wooded to their tops, cleft by ravines which open
out occasionally to divulge more distant ranges, all smothered in
greenery, which, when I am ill-pleased, I am inclined to call "rank
vegetation." Oh that an abrupt scaur, or a strip of flaming
desert, or something salient and brilliant, would break in, however
discordantly, upon this monotony of green!

The villages of that district must, I think, have reached the
lowest abyss of filthiness in Hozawa and Saikaiyama. Fowls, dogs,
horses, and people herded together in sheds black with wood smoke,
and manure heaps drained into the wells. No young boy wore any
clothing. Few of the men wore anything but the maro, the women
were unclothed to their waists and such clothing as they had was
very dirty, and held together by mere force of habit. The adults
were covered with inflamed bites of insects, and the children with
skin-disease. Their houses were dirty, and, as they squatted on
their heels, or lay face downwards, they looked little better than
savages. Their appearance and the want of delicacy of their habits
are simply abominable, and in the latter respect they contrast to
great disadvantage with several savage peoples that I have been
among. If I had kept to Nikko, Hakone, Miyanoshita, and similar
places visited by foreigners with less time, I should have formed a
very different impression. Is their spiritual condition, I often
wonder, much higher than their physical one? They are courteous,
kindly, industrious, and free from gross crimes; but, from the
conversations that I have had with Japanese, and from much that I
see, I judge that their standard of foundational morality is very
low, and that life is neither truthful nor pure.

I put up here at a crowded yadoya, where they have given me two
cheerful rooms in the garden, away from the crowd. Ito's great
desire on arriving at any place is to shut me up in my room and
keep me a close prisoner till the start the next morning; but here
I emancipated myself, and enjoyed myself very much sitting in the
daidokoro. The house-master is of the samurai, or two-sworded
class, now, as such, extinct. His face is longer, his lips
thinner, and his nose straighter and more prominent than those of
the lower class, and there is a difference in his manner and
bearing. I have had a great deal of interesting conversation with

In the same open space his clerk was writing at a lacquer desk of
the stereotyped form--a low bench with the ends rolled over--a
woman was tailoring, coolies were washing their feet on the itama,
and several more were squatting round the irori smoking and
drinking tea. A coolie servant washed some rice for my dinner, but
before doing so took off his clothes, and the woman who cooked it
let her kimono fall to her waist before she began to work, as is
customary among respectable women. The house-master's wife and Ito
talked about me unguardedly. I asked what they were saying. "She
says," said he, "that you are very polite--for a foreigner," he
added. I asked what she meant, and found that it was because I
took off my boots before I stepped on the matting, and bowed when
they handed me the tabako-bon.

We walked through the town to find something eatable for to-
morrow's river journey, but only succeeded in getting wafers made
of white of egg and sugar, balls made of sugar and barley flour,
and beans coated with sugar. Thatch, with its picturesqueness, has
disappeared, and the Tsugawa roofs are of strips of bark weighted
with large stones; but, as the houses turn their gable ends to the
street, and there is a promenade the whole way under the eaves, and
the street turns twice at right angles and terminates in temple
grounds on a bank above the river, it is less monotonous than most
Japanese towns. It is a place of 3000 people, and a good deal of
produce is shipped from hence to Niigata by the river. To-day it
is thronged with pack-horses. I was much mobbed, and one child
formed the solitary exception to the general rule of politeness by
calling me a name equivalent to the Chinese Fan Kwai, "foreign;"
but he was severely chidden, and a policeman has just called with
an apology. A slice of fresh salmon has been produced, and I think
I never tasted anything so delicious. I have finished the first
part of my land journey, and leave for Niigata by boat to-morrow

I. L. B.


A Hurry--The Tsugawa Packet-boat--Running the Rapids--Fantastic
Scenery--The River-life--Vineyards--Drying Barley--Summer Silence--
The Outskirts of Niigata--The Church Mission House.

NIIGATA, July 4.

The boat for Niigata was to leave at eight, but at five Ito roused
me by saying they were going at once, as it was full, and we left
in haste, the house-master running to the river with one of my
large baskets on his back to "speed the parting guest." Two rivers
unite to form a stream over whose beauty I would gladly have
lingered, and the morning, singularly rich and tender in its
colouring, ripened into a glorious day of light without glare, and
heat without oppressiveness. The "packet" was a stoutly-built
boat, 45 feet long by 6 broad, propelled by one man sculling at the
stern, and another pulling a short broad-bladed oar, which worked
in a wistaria loop at the bow. It had a croquet mallet handle
about 18 inches long, to which the man gave a wriggling turn at
each stroke. Both rower and sculler stood the whole time, clad in
umbrella hats. The fore part and centre carried bags of rice and
crates of pottery, and the hinder part had a thatched roof which,
when we started, sheltered twenty-five Japanese, but we dropped
them at hamlets on the river, and reached Niigata with only three.
I had my chair on the top of the cargo, and found the voyage a
delightful change from the fatiguing crawl through quagmires at the
rate of from 15 to 18 miles a day. This trip is called "running
the rapids of the Tsugawa," because for about twelve miles the
river, hemmed in by lofty cliffs, studded with visible and sunken
rocks, making several abrupt turns and shallowing in many places,
hurries a boat swiftly downwards; and it is said that it requires
long practice, skill, and coolness on the part of the boatmen to
prevent grave and frequent accidents. But if they are rapids, they
are on a small scale, and look anything but formidable. With the
river at its present height the boats run down forty-five miles in
eight hours, charging only 30 sen, or 1s. 3d., but it takes from
five to seven days to get up, and much hard work in poling and

The boat had a thoroughly "native" look, with its bronzed crew,
thatched roof, and the umbrella hats of all its passengers hanging
on the mast. I enjoyed every hour of the day. It was luxury to
drop quietly down the stream, the air was delicious, and, having
heard nothing of it, the beauty of the Tsugawa came upon me as a
pleasant surprise, besides that every mile brought me nearer the
hoped-for home letters. Almost as soon as we left Tsugawa the
downward passage was apparently barred by fantastic mountains,
which just opened their rocky gates wide enough to let us through,
and then closed again. Pinnacles and needles of bare, flushed rock
rose out of luxuriant vegetation--Quiraing without its bareness,
the Rhine without its ruins, and more beautiful than both. There
were mountains connected by ridges no broader than a horse's back,
others with great gray buttresses, deep chasms cleft by streams,
temples with pagoda roofs on heights, sunny villages with deep-
thatched roofs hidden away among blossoming trees, and through
rifts in the nearer ranges glimpses of snowy mountains.

After a rapid run of twelve miles through this enchanting scenery,
the remaining course of the Tsugawa is that of a broad, full stream
winding marvellously through a wooded and tolerably level country,
partially surrounded by snowy mountains. The river life was very
pretty. Canoes abounded, some loaded with vegetables, some with
wheat, others with boys and girls returning from school. Sampans
with their white puckered sails in flotillas of a dozen at a time
crawled up the deep water, or were towed through the shallows by
crews frolicking and shouting. Then the scene changed to a broad
and deep river, with a peculiar alluvial smell from the quantity of
vegetable matter held in suspension, flowing calmly between densely
wooded, bamboo-fringed banks, just high enough to conceal the
surrounding country. No houses, or nearly none, are to be seen,
but signs of a continuity of population abound. Every hundred
yards almost there is a narrow path to the river through the
jungle, with a canoe moored at its foot. Erections like gallows,
with a swinging bamboo, with a bucket at one end and a stone at the
other, occurring continually, show the vicinity of households
dependent upon the river for their water supply. Wherever the
banks admitted of it, horses were being washed by having water
poured over their backs with a dipper, naked children were rolling
in the mud, and cackling of poultry, human voices, and sounds of
industry, were ever floating towards us from the dense greenery of
the shores, making one feel without seeing that the margin was very
populous. Except the boatmen and myself, no one was awake during
the hot, silent afternoon--it was dreamy and delicious.
Occasionally, as we floated down, vineyards were visible with the
vines trained on horizontal trellises, or bamboo rails, often forty
feet long, nailed horizontally on cryptomeria to a height of twenty
feet, on which small sheaves of barley were placed astride to dry
till the frame was full

More forest, more dreams, then the forest and the abundant
vegetation altogether disappeared, the river opened out among low
lands and banks of shingle and sand, and by three we were on the
outskirts of Niigata, whose low houses,--with rows of stones upon
their roofs, spread over a stretch of sand, beyond which is a sandy
roll with some clumps of firs. Tea-houses with many balconies
studded the river-side, and pleasure-parties were enjoying
themselves with geishas and sake, but, on the whole, the water-side
streets are shabby and tumble down, and the landward side of the
great city of western Japan is certainly disappointing; and it was
difficult to believe it a Treaty Port, for the sea was not in
sight, and there were no consular flags flying. We poled along one
of the numerous canals, which are the carriage-ways for produce and
goods, among hundreds of loaded boats, landed in the heart of the
city, and, as the result of repeated inquiries, eventually reached
the Church Mission House, an unshaded wooden building without
verandahs, close to the Government Buildings, where I was most
kindly welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Fyson.

The house is plain, simple, and inconveniently small; but doors and
walls are great luxuries, and you cannot imagine how pleasing the
ways of a refined European household are after the eternal
babblement and indecorum of the Japanese.


(Kinugawa Route.)

From Tokiyo to

No. of houses. Ri. Cho
Nikko 36
Kohiaku 6 2 18
Kisagoi 19 1 18
Fujihara 46 2 19
Takahara 15 2 10
Ikari 25 2
Nakamiyo 10 1 24
Yokokawa 2O 2 21
Itosawa 38 2 34
Kayashima 57 1 4
Tajima 25O 1 21
Toyonari 120 2 12
Atomi 34 1
Ouchi 27 2 12
Ichikawa 7 2 22
Takata 42O 2 11
Bange 910 3 4
Katakado 50 1 20
Nosawa 306 3 24
Nojiri 110 1 27
Kurumatoge 3 9
Hozawa 20 1 14
Torige 21 1
Sakaiyama 28 24
Tsugawa 615 2 18
Niigata 50,000 souls 18
Ri. 101 6
About 247 miles.


Abominable Weather--Insect Pests--Absence of Foreign Trade--A
Refractory River--Progress--The Japanese City--Water Highways--
Niigata Gardens--Ruth Fyson--The Winter Climate--A Population in

NIIGATA, July 9.

I have spent over a week in Niigata, and leave it regretfully to-
morrow, rather for the sake of the friends I have made than for its
own interests. I never experienced a week of more abominable
weather. The sun has been seen just once, the mountains, which are
thirty miles off, not at all. The clouds are a brownish grey, the
air moist and motionless, and the mercury has varied from 82


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