Saturday, October 17, 2009

Magome and Tsumago

On Friday morning, we left the beautiful mountains of Kamikochi behind and made our way into Gifu prefecture (another prefecture added to my list!) and the quaint little town of Magome. Magome and it's twin city Tsumago are two post towns on the Nakasendo. The mail heading for Tokyo would be relayed up the road from town to town all the way up the line to Tokyo, by foot. If this section of the Nakasendo is any indication, the whole relay thing was a good idea.

We arrived once again under clear blue skies, quite lucky with the weather so far this trip. After finding Tajimaya, dropping off our bags and dealing with a little passport/money/train pass left on a bus situation, we were off and exploring the town, which has been modelled after the original post town of the Edo period.

As the sun started setting, the colours really started to pop on all the old wooden shops, inns and homes up the slope of Magome.

When we got back to the hotel, we encountered a group of 17 seniors from Canada, the UK and Australia, checking in as part of a walking tour. Dinner was probably the best I've had, and was likely geared to the fact that all the guests were gaikokujin for the evening, the signature cricket dish I'd seen on Tajimaya's web site was glaringly absent from our table... lol

After enjoying a leisurely 3 hour meal, we turned in and did the standard jet lag wake up at 5AM thing once again, can’t wait for that to end… So needless to say we were ready for breakfast when they came knocking at 7:30, we ate and headed out the door. We used the luggage forwarding service available to hikers doing the walk between the two towns, Andre headed on down the Nakasendo and we hopped a taxi to beat him to Tsumago. With the early arrival, we had the place almost to ourselves, which was really neat.

Soon enough the buses full of visitors started unloading, but it was still a very neat place to hangout for a morning.

As the rain started falling, we hopped on a bus which eventually connected us to a train, and then another, and another, and one last one... which brought us to Nara, and the beautiful guesthouse, Yougendou. Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow, probably fairly relaxing after all that running around, we'll see.


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