11.08.2013 - 11.08.2013
This was one of our favorite days. We took the Magome-Tsumago trail (a well maintained section of the Nakasendo post trail).
After forwarding our luggage to Kyoto using the excellent luggage service and bringing only two backpacks, we made our way to the train station. There we had one of our most memorable conversations with a train station employee where using a lot of gestures and Nos we eventually found out that the platform our train was arriving on was split and two trains would come in from different directions and we wanted the right half.
The train ride was beautiful, as were most that we took in the area.
Our train stopped in Nakatsugawa where we were catching bus to Magome. While there we exchanged cash for coins for bus fares and wandered around the station. An older lady stopped us and asked us to write “Thank you” and sign our names onto a square poster-thing. We didn’t understand what she wanted, but she handed us a pamphlet.
When we went to wait for the bus, the driver of another bus came over and gestured at the times to tell us it had already left, our guide book was wrong. So we went into the Tourist Information Center and a nice lady there showed us where we could get food and we ended up having a local dish and watching a recording of a Noh play while waiting.
Got on the bus, helped a guy from Argentina who was confused about boarding, and then we were off. It was a pretty trip, with several older locals getting on and off at several stations, but most of the bus was tourists for Magome.
I think this was the day where we had the most interactions with other people despite being in one of the remoter areas. We ran into the guy from Argentina again while going through Magome, then met a guy who asked where we were from and insisted that Los Angeles was all about getting shot (creeped us out), and then when we started the hike we passed an older Japanese fellow who said “Gokurousandesu” – basically “Cheers for the hard work”.
The hike was absolutely gorgeous and completely peaceful. Tore was amazed at how green and wet everything was. Lots of uphill before finding the downhill.
At various parts we were walking around people’s homes and at others we’re in the middle of the woods. There was even a temple out in the middle of nowhere. We saw almost no one the entire time.
Midway we stopped at a shop pretty much in the middle of nowhere (but on a road) that had an icecream display out front. We were confused when we walked in and it unfortunately looked like we’d interrupted their lunch break. They took pity on us though and served us one. It was some sort of yummy melon flavor.
Eventually we made it to the other end and took a quick walk through Tsumago on the way to our inn. Once there we rested and had dinner where we chatted with John and Mary from the UK for a couple of hours.