The terrain is low (to some 300 meters), but unbelievably rugged. For tens of kilometers, there is almost zero flat land, steep slopes everywhere - so it took us a couple of hours to even find a place to sleep, after some adventurous detours into footpaths suddenly ending in ravines. Jetlagged to no end, I woke up at 2:30 am and when the Sun went up at 4:45, I left my sleeping bag to explore the surroundings. I even saw the monkeys that we suspected as the source of night sounds, but was not able to get a picture. Windy, but lovely morning it was.
Later we set out for a nearby temple, which we could explore alone before any other tourists came - even though it doesn't really look like a frequently visited place anyway. My wish to see something "really Japanese" was quite satisfied, as the place just looked so oriental with all the weird roofs, gardens and whatnot.
It turned out that there are even some hiking trails in the area - following the trails signposted exclusively in Kanji through the many crossroads wasn't completely straightforward, but it was fun. Honestly, the omnipresent Kanji writings turns out to be a big factor in the "exoticness" of the country. The lush ocean-facing mixed forest was the perfect backdrop for the scenery.
Finally, we reached a small town by the seaside, where PJ showed me to the miracle of Japanese 7-11s, where you can buy a packaged dish from a huge selection and get it immediately heated for lunch, all of that for just a couple of bucks. I am really cured from all of the "Japan is expensive" thoughts. After strolling around the sea with some picturesque tine islands, we inquired on the railway station for an itinerary to get to Kashiwa and even got a (Kanji, of course) printout with hand-written Latin-letter transcriptions by the clerk. A couple of minutes later, he went to find us on the platform to explain some small detail again, to make sure we will make it. Really, the people are unbelievably helpful here, it's beyond comprehension.
Kashiwa-no-ha, where the meeting is, is a boring modern university town with nothing to see, but my free campus guesthouse is nothing to complain about and the nearby park is lovely.