The Story of My Luggage
The most ridiculous story I probably have is how I lug around a 20kg suitcase in Japan, anticipating a 6 month journey. I like to think I’m a seasoned traveller, but I still overpack.
Tip: If you need to off load some clothes you can donate them at H&M clothing store. They will take your donation and recycle them. They also give you store credit (¥500 off ¥3000 purchase).
I’m sure others have lugged around heavy luggage before, but the highlight is when I had to climb with it up a set of 300 steps to Miharashi-tei, the guesthouse that I stayed at in Onomichi.
When booking, I read that it would take me 20 mins to get there and that there would be a set of stairs leading up to it. I don’t realize that it is 20 mins, strictly stairs. How long does it actually take me? I don’t know, but it feels like eternity.
I sing my full scale of curses under my breath going up. With no one to blame except myself, I console myself: at least it is evening, a lot cooler than in daylight. I warn myself: don’t let loose, or else your luggage will roll down and you’ll have to do this again. I encourage myself: almost there, 10 more minutes.
Eventually, I arrive and all is well. My host even added a disclaimer on the website:
…we do not recommend that you carry heavy luggage with you when coming to Miharashi-tei. A courier service may deliver your luggage on the same day as your check in.”
I tell my luggage: you made a difference in some other luggage’s life.
Miharashi-tei, Revived as a Guesthouse
Located beneath Senkoji temple, Miharashi-tei is over a hundred years old. Since April of 2016, it has re-opened as a guesthouse. (Guesthouse is an inexpensive lodging; like a hostel but more home-y.)
Talking to my host, I learn that there are a lot of vacant/abandoned houses on the Onomichi hillside. People have moved out because it is inconvenient to live on the hillside and are left vacant because it is cheaper to keep them vacant than to make them liveable.
Fortunately, a volunteer-run organization noticed this and took action. They renovated Miharashi-tei to the guesthouse it is today. My host is also one of the volunteers who participated in the renovation. He tells they retained a lot of the original structure, and the cliff-side feature wouldn’t have been possible if they had built a new structure according to new standards and bylaws.
My stay at Miharashi-tei is very enjoyable. There is a café with an exceptional view, jazz music, and friendly staff. The guestrooms have traditional features – tatami mats, futons, and sliding doors. It gets really bright in the morning, but seeing the sunrise is a treat!
Here are some related links, both in Japanese:
- Onomichi Saisei’s website, for the non-profit organization.
- Miharashitei Facebook page, photos of construction and their daily operations.
Trip planning can be stressful. I’ve used the Lonely Planet Japan 14th Ed.: 14th Edition on this trip and it has helped me loads. If you plan on buying one anyway, why not purchase through my affiliate link? Thanks!