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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 |

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2016/07/18 Japan Day 07: Kyoto to Tsumago-Magome hike, Matsumoto Castle, and off to Shinano-Omachi
π 2016-07-18 00:00 in Japan, Japan2016, Trips
This was a long day, we had to get up early to catch a 06:48 Hikari from Kyoto to Nagoya (mostly because JR sucks, the 07:12 Nozomi would have been just fine, and honestly that was my real target, it's just because we ended up too early that we actually caught that slower Hikari, so called "bullet train"). After a change in Nagoya, we took the Shinano Express train to Nakatsugawa. From there we took a taxi to Magome, a quaint little town in the Kiso Valley where our hike started.



connecting to our shinano
connecting to our shinano

shinano is pretty nice inside
shinano is pretty nice inside

finally arrived in Tsumago after being dropped off by our cab (there were busses but they would have taken too long)
finally arrived in Tsumago after being dropped off by our cab (there were busses but they would have taken too long)

I found this little guy on the ground , turns out it could fly fine
I found this little guy on the ground , turns out it could fly fine






we stopped for hot tea on the route
we stopped for hot tea on the route

you're supposed to ring the bell to scare the bears away
you're supposed to ring the bell to scare the bears away
















The hike was pretty in parts, and followed the road in other parts, but still, just seeing the beautiful flowers, rice growing fields and nice little towns of Magome and Tsumago was worth the trip. Sadly, despite my early research, I didn't find out that they could have sent our luggage from Nakatsugawa to Nagiso, the train station after Tsumago, so we had to take a rather expensive cab ($60, 30mn) from Tsumago back to Nakatsugawa (and wake up a taxi driver since there were none at the taxi station they were supposed to be at). Thankfully I built in enough buffer time (50mn, including a 30mn drive) that we got back to Nakatsugawa in time for our hourly express train to Matsumoto. In hindsight though, we could have gone to Nagiso, picked up our luggage and take a crappy slow train from Nagiso to Matsumoto, and have arrived around the same time.

Matsumoto was recommended by the guidebooks for an original Japanese Castle. It's not the biggest, or the most famous, but it's one of the 12 Japanese Castles that hasn't been destroyed and rebuilt. Actually it's Japan's oldest existing Castle, more than 400 years old. We got super lucky to have Takayama-San from ALSA (Alps Language Service Association), the local volunteer guide group, who was super nice and met us at the Castle after I called him to enquire when we were in the train and found out that their guides who are usually there, are only there until 15:00 and we were going to arrive at 15:20. Takayama-San very nicely offered to come personally to the Castle to give us a tour, and with his explanations our tour of Matsumoto Castle was much more instructive and enjoyable than if we had been on our own.





Takayama-San, explaining the castle's history to us
Takayama-San, explaining the castle's history to us











oh noes, poor fish
oh noes, poor fish


After the tour, we had enough time to catch out last train of the day at 17:55, and arrive at Kurobe View, a very good ryokan in the Shinano Omachi area (so that we could start the Alpen Route the next morning). The room was spacious and the food for dinner was both excellent and plentiful (and then some). Breakfast the next day was not too shabby either.




nice beds, great room
nice beds, great room


dinner was ridiculous, so much food and so good
dinner was ridiculous, so much food and so good



After all this food, I went to brave the onsen:






And then time for bed, since we had to start our Alpen Route traverse at 08:00 the next morning, not too bad...


More pages: February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997

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