Haikyo – Route 303 (Part 2 – Lost roads and forgotten places)
Changes are like dominoes.
A shift in economics can force a change of lifestyle that drives people to the cities and clears out whole villages. Building a new major road can leave old byways crumbling and forgotten (which was basically the plot of Pixar’s Cars). Evidence of both of these phenomena can be seen along Route 303 with almost abandoned villages in the woods off to the side, and forgotten winding roads that haven’t been used since more direct tunnels were driven through the hills,
Here is a good example of the tunnel effect, just to the right of the mouth of this tunnel the original road is now blocked off with a white barrier.
Crossing the barrier and rounding the corner the scene ahead looks almost post apocalyptic with trashed cars, a crumbling bridge and animal bones scattered on the ground. Not far after the whole road had collapsed into the river below leaving an unpassable gap.
Not much further along the route another small side road branched off , curving around a small field and sliding off into the woods. That might not have caught my attention if it wasn’t for the fact that there was a very tempting, and crumbling, building standing in the middle of the field.
A quick look around the outside and I decided it was more a farming hut than a house, but it still seemed worth investigation. So I took a peek inside, apparently I wasn’t the first to take a look inside however – the floor being littered with deer droppings. Since it’s dereliction this place has obviously become a bit of a shelter for the local deer.
The lower floor was basically a small porch and one room scattered with agricultural tools, a few home comforts such as this nice old kettle and a rather incongruous decorative samurai helmet sitting on a little.
Upstairs there was another single room that looked like it had been used mostly as storage space. Boxes, chests and a couple of really nice wooden cabinets were all piled up along with a few decorative panels and an impressively sized portrait.
Encouraged by this find I decided to follow this side road further and after distance cycling I was rewarded with a small, dead, village, dotted with haikyo.
Judging by the lack of track in the snow piled up around the area many of the buildings hadn’t been entered for a while, but I limited my exploration to the few building that were really gaping open and falling to bits.
It’s quite possible that I could have got into several other building there with bit of effort, but there was a risk that I’d have stumbled into someones summer cottage rather than a haikyo. So I decided it was best to leave the other less certain places well alone and head back home. I ventured down just one more little side route on my way back, but that yielded nothing but snowdrifts and a dead deer.
I still couldn’t help feeling that there was more to be uncovered around this area, so I resolved to head back out again and explore this route a little more in the near future….