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  • sueaitken7


This part of the country isn't the easiest to get to wherever you're coming from. But it's a gorgeous part of the world - the scenery is beautiful and there are cute little post towns that positively ooze history. And the autumn colours made my visit extra special. You're more than likely to end your train journey in Nakatsugawa - nothing much to speak of here, but you'll then take the bus (or a taxi) to Magome - which is a lovely little place with a main street that snakes up a very steep slope with artisan shops and restaurants lining your route.

If you're a good walker, you should consider walking a section of the the Nakasendo Highway from Magome to Tsumago. It's part of a much longer route from Edo (now Tokyo) to Kyoto which merchants and traders used in times gone by to move goods from place to place. The part of the route between Magome and Tsumago takes around 3 hours and you'll pass shrines, waterfalls, bamboo groves, terraced rice paddies, a teahouse rest stop and a forest path with large, rough stones laid in the early 1600s. We only walked a short part of the route, but it was a very pleasant stroll through some beautiful scenery.

Tsumago is a lovely little place with historic buildings along its long main street. It really is very atmospheric, and you feel like you're strolling through history. The beautiful colours of the autumn foliage added a bit more magic to the visit.

There are quite a few ryokans in Tsumago, and we stayed in one just outside the town. It was pretty basic - more of a homestay than an inn - but our host was welcoming and both parties made themselves understood with a judicious use of Google translate. This morning our host gave us a lift to Nagiso station, taking time to show us the Momosuke Bridge, the longest wooden suspension bridge in Japan.

From Nagiso we've made our way to Okayama via 3 different trains, and tomorrow we're off to Naoshima Island (the Art Island) which has been on my Bucket List for many years. I'm really looking forward to our visit. Okayama is a pleasant enough town, most famous for the legend of Peach Boy who apparently emerged as a baby from a peach, was brought up by an elderly couple and then took on local ogres with the help of a monkey, dog and a pheasant. There are statues of him around the town and engravings on the pavement and numerous peach biscuits and sweets commemorating him.

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