A nice little town
We left off in Amanohashadate. We knew we
wanted to get to Nikko and Matsumoto was roughly half way between the
two. The day to get from Amanohashadate was crazy - we left at
10am and arrived at 11pm - local trains most of the way. It would
have been faster to go "the long way" back to Kyoto, to Tokyo and then
up to Nagano, but we wanted to "see the sights".
Matsumoto is in the Japanese alps - the mountainous spine of Japan.
Our train trip was mostly along the Japan Sea, but started to go inland
(and into the alps) just after the sun set - we missed it all.
Matsumoto Black Castle
Matsumoto has a black castle. The castle is only a small part of
what used to be the castle complex - the outer moats are filled, the
other buildings torn down and the roads rearranged. The castle was
in pretty bad shape in the 1900's and was completly rebuilt in the last
100 years - but it's still original materials.
The inside of the castle is
set up as a museum. They show various artifacts from the eras this
castle stood. The castle was built after gun powder was used in
Japan so the castle was specific designed to resist shot.
Having seent he castle, we thought we would see something a bit more
domestic - a Wasabi farm. We took a local train east to Hotaka - a
small farming town and rented bikes. These three speed bikes with
baskets on the front were wonderful to ride - having been at the mercy
of trains and buses, the freedom of biking was appreciated.
The farm itself was quite interesting. Wasabi (a horseradish type
root plant) is a difficult to cultivate plant. It grows in gravel
beds with a constant supply of fresh water. There are screens
pulled over fields to cut down on sunlight.
On the Road Again
After our long trip the day before, we
weren't looking forward to another train trip. Today's trip was a
3 step trip - express to Nagano (about an hour) and then shinkansen to
near Nikko, and then another local train for an hour to Nikko.
Tags: Japan(20), farm(4), train(4), castle(3), train station(3), flower(3)
People: David(1), Mark(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Second Trip to Japan > Matsumoto
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Third Trip to Japan > Matsuyama > Matsumoto
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:42:51 Edit
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