Shin-Saijiki Village (3)

Even stubborn rocks lose their wildness

maybe in the orient; so wrote Percival LOWELL in the Soul of the Far East, but the Tenryu River (Tenriyugawa) remained wild for a long time. Nowadays however it has an artificially made big dam amidst, and its outflow at the source from the Lake Suwa is well controlled. So when I went upward this summer along the Tenryu from the river mouth to the Lake Suwa by car, it looked rather to lack the volume of the flowing water; looked never wild.


The Tenryu is however not simply made: it very winds and its width varies. We supposed LOWELL who re-started from Shimo-no-Suwa after getting down the Shiwojiri-toge soon found the Ina Valley spread widely out before him as if it were no valley but a prairie. Really the valley was not formed by erosion and is made from several complex terraces sandwiched by two high mountainous masses and ridges, so that it could soon lead to a narrow valley.


The Tenryu at Iijima wherefrom he enjoyed his floats is located at a gorge, but I suppose he must have soon been irritated or bored because the wider part soon comes and the boat must have become made quite slower.


The narrow portions of the winding river rather reject artificial modification, and so a bit before Iijima the winding road that still exists was supposed to have been remaining very the same as LOWELL just described. We could also pin down the place where his basha was stuck at a muddy place of the Miyada Village. Its because it is the place where the water flow of melted snow from Mt Kiso-Koma and neighbourhood mountains pours into the Tenryu. Nowadays the water is not necessary bad, but rather so good as to produce the Mars Whisky (real Scotch whisky).

The photo here was taken by me near the lower place: Its not any rock, but may be made of Mukugé (althaea) blooming in summer, just like one of those clipped into the most fantastic shapes as LOWELL wrote.


The wider terrace has easily been cultivated, and the Valley has now a lot of other roads as well as a slow winding rail way. LOWELL needed one day to reach Iijima from Shiojiri by basha, but HIKI brought ISHADOH and me via a super-highway now popular in the central Japan within one hour from Shiojiri to Miyada, quite near Iijima.


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