The Nakasendo – Shrine

One can’t go very far in Japan without stumbling on a shrine or temple. I stumbled on a little shrine beside the trail through the woods. The shrine itself was only a non-descript torii and an altar with some small offerings. What fascinated me the most was the washing trough nearby, which featured a very ornate dragon’s head.

Spring at a temple

The trail eventually emerged from the woods. And what did I find? That will be in my next post!

Through the woods

The Nakasendo – Walk

The following day I walked the road to the next village, Magome. It starts with a slow climb following the narrow local roads through even quieter mountain villages than Tsumago. There was hardly any movement – not surprising since it was early on Sunday morning. I had plenty of opportunity to stop and take in the scenery, or in this case, the roadside autumn flora.

The Nakasendo Road

The Nakasendo – Minshuku

A 2km walk from Tsumago takes me to my accommodation, a minshuku (or traditional inn) called Hanaya.

My minshuku!

It’s an old inn that’s been in business for more than 150 years, with a few extensions. It’s run traditionally, with futons on tatami-floored rooms (that’s the woven matting), with a share bath made of hardwood, and serves breakfasts and wonderful dinners. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of my meals here, but I remember that the dinners were enormous, with sashimi entrees, followed by a noodle hotpot, and other things besides. And the hosts were wonderfully kind. We chatted in broken English/Japanese, and when I left we even exchanged presents (so Japanese).

Well, with such a wonderful place to rest and eat, no wonder their pet St Bernard was always sound asleep.

The owner's St Bernard