Our next stop took us further in to the countryside, to the site of Saitobaru. Here we first watched as locals used their small plough to bring our potatoes from the field. They ran the machine to show us how it works and then invited us to get on board and help out selecting potatoes. After using the machine they showed us how to handpick potatoes out of the ground, so we finally got our hands dirty.
We then moved to our homestay for the night, and the family cooked us up nabe. We ate outdoors and they made us feel comfortable as guests, playing music and attempting to communicate. Nabe is not well known for people outside of Japan so it was interesting and authentic to experience it in a homestay.
The stay was with a family in a village, and they were very friendly and eager to show us their life. We used their ofuro, and participated in a tea ceremony, as well as tried our hands at ikebana. We slept on thin futons on the tatami mats of the traditional house, and woke up to a breakfast made by the mother of the family. The local area tuned out to be very pretty when we went on a walking tour in the early morning, along the riverside and up to a hill viewpoint.
We started the second day back at Saitobaru, Many tourists love the flower fields around Japan and the one here was very colourful. We took lots of photos here and stopped several times to find new angles. There are over 300 tombs here in raised little hills, making for an intriguing landscape. Inside the tombs themselves are quite simple stone structures where people were buried.