Life in Japan, food, music, whatever…

Nagiso to Nojiri 10 March, 2012

Filed under: countryside,places — johnraff @ 2:32 am
Tags: , , ,

It’s fairly easy to get out of Nagoya and into some nice countryside, especially if you head North towards Gifu and Nagano prefectures. A Sunday last November (yes, I know I could have posted this a bit earlier) we took advantage of a cheap weekend railway ticket to get on the Chuo line out to Nagiso in the Kiso region. The Nakasendo, along with the Tokaido, is one of the two roads that used to link Edo with Kyoto. While the more famous Tokaido ran along the Pacific coast, the Nakasendo went through the mountains, and sections of it still exist in this area, sometimes with the original stone paving. It’s usually easy walking, and a good way to get some nice scenery and a bit of history…

Nagiso station is full of middle-aged ladies with rucksacks, checking out the tourist pamphlets and souvenir stands, but most of them get on the bus that goes to the more famous Tsumago down the road. The walk from Tsumago to Magome is a very popular section of the Nakasendo, and an enjoyable three hours or so, but today we head North towards Nojiri. The main path follows the Kiso river, more or less with the current Route 19, but there’s an alternative called the Yokawado which goes through the hills instead. Apparently this was used when the Kiso flooded, and for a hike it’s a more attractive option. Nagano prefecture have been quite good about putting up signs, and it’s not long before we’re above the town looking out over the Autumn hills.

Quiet. There’s hardly anyone around, we pass through a couple of almost empty villages – surrounded by electric fences to keep out the deer and wild boar – and the only people we run into are a foreigner+Japanese couple walking in the opposite direction. There are no drinks machines of course, so if you try this you’d better take a bottle of something and a couple of sandwiches or rice balls.

The weather wasn’t perfect, but the countryside was beautiful and when we picked up our train home from Nojiri in the late afternoon the Yokawado seemed just about right for a day’s outing. A few pics…

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