Asia

Excursion to Tsumago, Magome and the Nakasendo route

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We were in Takayama and the alarm rang soon, as usual on this holiday, but at this point the early risers began to weigh. It was still almost everyone sleeping in the temple and it was very cold outside the futon. Running we left the futon, we dressed and went to the train station to go to Tsumago. There was a lot of fog and at that time many students were going to the institute. On the way to the station we stop at a cafeteria to have coffee with milk and some toast. The bread size in Japan is much larger than here, there are several sizes but the one I ate was fat as three slices of Spanish bread

With a Japanese toast you eat half a pack of Spanish bread.

Going from Takayama to Tsumago is not advisable. Basically because although it seems that they are close to each other, you have to cross the mountains. However, there are several ways to go, you can interleave several internal trains or take the express train to Nagoya and there take an express train to Nakatsugawa. As we wanted to make the road from Tsumago to Magome, in Nakatsugawa we took the train to Nagiso, because that day there was no direct train.

Once in Nagiso, we took the bus that takes you to Tsumago (500 ¥). And there we arrived at 1 pm, five hours after leaving Takayama. Tsumago is one of the posta villages that had the Nakasendo route (former route that linked Tokyo and Kyoto through the mountains). The grace of this route is that it has remained as in the feudal era, with the well-preserved road and the old-looking houses located next to the road. Even the wires of the light went below ground so as not to lose the charm.

Tsumago... and his famous straw horse

The first thing we did was to eat in a soba (noodle) restaurant that was in the middle of the street. We ate some hot sobas on a table on a tatami and, to be such a tourist place, it was not expensive (¥ 1,000). At 2 pm we went out to start the road. It was full of Japanese tourists who had arrived by coach to the town.

The town was full of souvenir shops and some houses could be visited. As it was late we started the march looking quickly at the houses without stopping much in them. At the end of the town there was the tourist information office and it was empty, but there I saw a sign that rented bells for ¥ 1,500 to scare away the bears that were in the area (!).

Masks of a Tsumago souvenir shop

When we left town, I met a French guy who asked me where the tourist office was. I was loaded with a backpack and a tent and asked how long it took to make the way. He told me between two and three hours, but that he had gone downhill and had a lot of fun. When I asked him if he had come across a bear, he told me no, but that he had slept at night in his tent and that he had heard noises of wild animals and that he had not left to see what it was ...

When we were leaving Tsumago, I saw an old lady next to a kakis tree and she told me that it was the typical product of the area and that I took a picture. Before such insistence I made it and continued the march.

Kakis are a typical fruit of the area.

The road is very well preserved, but there are some sections where it intersects with the road that have not just been well indicated and do not know where to continue. However, the one you stop to look at right away you find the way.

As we were leaving Tsumago behind, we were crossing many people who were already finishing the road. It was very nice to greet everyone when you crossed it (Konnichiwa! / Hello!), But then I realized that everyone was coming and nobody was leaving Tsumago apart from us. Concerned that we were on the road at night, we began to walk faster. When we had two kilometers (the route has eight) we met a couple of Americans and asked them how they carried it and if the road was hard. We were told that in our sense they were 6 kilometers of ascent and 2 of descent, so that the road was going to be more difficult than I thought.

At the beginning of the road we cross this river.

Halfway we found a very nice waterfall where we stopped to rest for five minutes. The Nakasendo route is beautiful, full of towering trees and, as there was no one on the road, (since we were going alone) there was an incredible calm and tranquility.

I have to admit that we are very happy, because we started walking without carrying water, flashlight or na de na. With what I thought if something happened to us we would be thrown away (!). Luckily in the backpack I carried a bag with sausages and cheeses that I had bought for my friend Mo. At least we would have to eat or throw it at the bears!

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