It was no surprise that whatever I have planned for my Japan trip together with my husband has some changes due to certain unforeseen events. But Japan is a country that needs you to be 90% prepared and well-understood, and let the remaining 10% be your sprinkle of surprise. I was really glad that we made time to go to Nakatsugawa to visit the old post-town, Magome, which links to the other post town in the area, Tsumago (but we didn’t have enough time to visit both). This area is rarely visited by Malaysian travelers, it is a bit far off from the usual destinations route, unless you’re heading to Matsumoto or Nagano, this small district will be on your radar.
Briefly, as an Architect, I am very much interested with the old classical architecture and this place fed my curiosity well. The astounding preservation and cleanlines that kept the small town as original as possible to what it may have been during the Edo Period. This area connected Kyoto to Tokyo as trading route.
To get there, you need to get to the city of Nagoya first, it is the clearest way for foreigners to get there via the JR Shinano Limited Express train ride (you can get a detailed infor via Hyperdia). Once you arrive at Nakatsugawa station, the bus will be waiting at Platform 3 right infront of the train station. Easy right? The catch is, the bus ride is not covered by any rail pass what so ever (from what I know of so far), there PER PERSON PER WAY it will cost you 560 Yen, around RM15.00! Do take note transportaion is expensive around Japan, but it is the only thing you have to pay whilst travelling in Japan other than accomodation (which is not as expensive, but that will be in another post). There are certain time that the bus will take you to Magome, so find out from the tourist center just right next to the station. You can get to Tsumago via the Nakasendo trail, about 8KM hike through the paved forest (there are bears around, so be aware of that!).
Basically our trip there cost us an additional 2,240 yen. Everything else was covered by our 7-Day Japan Rail Pass (RM1,800 for two person, unlimited train ride use as long as it is valid) and our accomodation was in Takayama, so we moved around a lot to get there. It is best to go there a s a day trip starting from 11AM, the hiking takes up about 3-hours. So a good 6-hours allocation would be good for the whole trip. I would suggest you to not visit the museums if you’re on a budget, the area itself is already like a museum, and the view, absolutely breathe-taking.
And that was the evening of our second day.
Photos taken with a Canon EOS M (with interchangable lenses).4