Nakatsugawa, Magome and Tsumago

A full day’s travel from Hiroshima to Nakatsgawa via Nagoya meant arriving too late to do much the day before. As well as collecting some walks information we did have time for a quick look at the wonderful displays of artworks (plus food, local sweet delicacies etc) at the Tourist Information Centre in Nakatsugawa.

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So after our buffet breakfast we took two buses to reach the start of our main planned walk for the day at the hill town of Magome. Lots of tourists joined us by leaving the bus in Magome

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but after walking up through the somewhat touristy section we found only a few other walkers with us. Into the forest we went. Quite often we had streams of water running near the path. From time to time we passed through small hamlets.

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A couple of times we crossed over the streams as we walked.

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At one point when we were quite high up we came to a series of raised boardwalks which were signposted asking us for our own safety to stay on the boardwalk not go near the soft edges.

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Near the end we were challenged by a stony downhill section.

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After that we crossed a bridge at the edge of a small farming hamlet.

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One of the houses even had the rice drying on a rack.

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Here are some photos of Tsumago, our end destination for the walk, which prides itself on the main row of well maintained/restored houses. It was also where we ate our lunch.

We found this walk in our Lonely Planet Japan guide. If you are in the area it is well worth doing.

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Himeji castle

En-route from Osaka to Hiroshima we decided to break the journey and visit Himeji castle, an imposing castle dating back to the late 1500s but renovated in recent times. From the station we walked through the shopping street in the correct direction. Along the way we saw this bridal couple, a bit of a bonus, as they were in traditional dress using traditional transport.

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However on reaching the outer park area of the castle we missed any directional signs and went right when apparently we should have turned left.

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This resulted in us almost doing a complete circuit of the gardens surrounding the castle. It wasn’t all bad as I ended up with a rather nice reflection photo of the castle in the moat’s waters.

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After completing a ten minute walk we finally came to the front of the castle. Along with many others we took out our camera and did our best to take a good photo.

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Just after I snapped away a young guy approached us and asked if we would like him to take a photo with both of us in it. We accepted his kind offer.

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Then he had a request for us. He explained he worked for NHK TV. Would we mind being in a promotional video segment. Out of curiosity we agreed. Over to the cameraman and sound lady we went. It was for a show promoting travel in Kansai region. We had to jump up and shout out, “Kansai up!” After three takes they were happy and thanked us. Any reader with cable TV should look for us on NHK at 19:30 on the 28th of October for an amusing moment at our expense. Here’s the crew in the next photo after finishing with another couple who they had roped in.

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After that I walked around to the left to come closer to the castle. I took one more photo of this impressive castle

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before we headed back to the station for our train Hiroshima. Given that a fair section of the castle was covered in scaffolding we didn’t feel we missed much by not having time to go in and explore further but it was well worth stopping in Himeji.