It was back in autumn 2007 that I first used the term ‘the breakfast spot’.  To this day it remains a place I pass almost every day at least once whilst here in Yamakoshi, a slight detour on the quickest routes, but rarely does it disappoint.

Over the years many have asked me about ‘the breakfast spot’ and why it is called that.  Quite simply I called it that because in October and November 2007 almost every morning I would go there to eat my convenience store breakfast and watch the day unfold in the valley below.  Perhaps that will be my lasting legacy in Yamakoshi, in years to come people will still call my breakfast spot, ‘the breakfast spot’.

I have no idea when he started, but an elderly gentleman known in Mushigame as Gakimatsu san, and his daughter, have cultivated flower beds at the breakfast spot, adding a touch of colour to what has become a bit of a tourist spot. Indeed, Gakimatsu san and his daughter are local TV and media celebrities, often appearing in programmes about Yamakoshi.

As I passed by yesterday the tulips that they plant were coming into full bloom.

Tulips at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Tulips at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Tulips at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Tulips at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

This plant is very common around the Ojiya and Nagaoka right now, I’m informed that it’s called ‘phlox’.  in a few more days I expect even more colourful.

Phlox at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Phlox at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Phlox at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Phlox at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Phlox at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

Phlox at the Breakfast Spot, Yamakoshi

I wrote about ‘Yamakoshi Life’ a few months ago – http://nishikigoi.life/2016/01/20/yamakoshi-life/.  Gakimatsu san and his daughter, and it seemed yesterday a growing army of helpers, are the kind of people that make Yamakoshi such a wonderful place.


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Gakimatsu san

Gakimatsu san

I have smiled and nodded to Gakimatsu san many times over the years, he is there morning, afternoon and evening tending an area which seems to expand more and more each year.  He probably  has no idea who I am, just some crazy foreigner he sees chasing around the mountains taking photographs.

When I stopped yesterday we exchanged a few words as we have many times, the usual ‘konnichiwa, ii tenki ne, hana wa kirei ne’ (hello, the weather is good isn’t it, and the flowers are pretty aren’t they).

As I photographed the flowers, and then Gakamitsu san working, he stopped and, unprompted, posed for the camera.  Like I said, he’s a bit of a local celebrity and I for one, am very appreciative of the little splash of colour he adds to ‘my’ breakfast spot.

Gakimatsu san

Gakimatsu san


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