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    • Day 7

      Next Level Ablutions

      September 23, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

      So let's talk about toilets.

      Next Level. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

      You walk in and the lid pops up automatically. Running water sounds starts playing and the seat is heated. You do your business then select either front and or back wash, followed by a blow dry. Then you stand up and the lid closes and it automatically flushes.

      Like a car wash for your tushie!

      Next Level 🎚️

      Downsides: if the water is set too hot and you can't read Japanese, chances are you're going to make it hotter by pressing all the buttons.

      #Steamedwonton 🥴

      But no lie I haven't come across a dirty public toilet. We've been in tiny towns, shonky hotels, airports and countless train stations, including *the* busiest in the world. They are all at a standard of high end Australia restaurants or hotels. So clean. All dispensers and taps are automatic too.

      You know that hesitation going to public restrooms in Oz? Absolutely NONE here.


      The absolute shit. 👏💗
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    • Day 37


      October 15, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

      I left my holdall at the ryokan for forwarding to Matsumoto.
      It was still raining so I ordered a taxi to take me to Ise-shi Station where the rain stopped. I took the JR Rapid Mie to Nagoya, a journey which was not covered by the JR Pass so I had to pay the inspector. Different Prefectures have different rules about the validity of the Pass. From Nagoya, I took the Chuo Line to Nakatsugawa and then a bus to Magone.
      The countryside was fairly flat and dotted with green and yellow rice paddies.
      Magone was one of the main villages on the Nakasendo Way, the name of the Postal Route between Kyoto and Edo, now Tokyo. On this Sunday afternoon, it was very touristy. so I walked through the village to start the hike along the Way. After a short while, there was thunder and lightening so I sheltered, even contemplating returning to Magone to catch a bus. However, a German lady came along the trail at about the same time as the rain stopped and the sun came out so I continued with her until she veered off the trail to look for something.
      The trail went uphill for the first 2km reaching the "lucky" height of 777m, and then it descended for 4km to Tsumago in the Kiso Valley. Tsumago was much quieter than Magone, perhaps because all the tourists ahd left by 16.30. The trail itself had been quiet despite this section of the Way being one of the most popular.
      The walking was easier underfoot than the Kumano Kodo. The trail could have done with a few more signposts. The trail was mainly along forest trails except for the final kilometres into Tsumago and around the earlier landslide.
      I stayed at Daikichi, a family-run minshuku.
      There were German and Dutch couples at dinner where we sat on the ground with our legs stretched under the table to eat the Japanese set meal. which included grasshopper, rainbow trout, and horse sashimi.
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    • Day 38


      October 16, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      After a Japanese set breakfast, I began my hike along the Yogawa-Michi section of the Nakasendo Way at 08.30 on another sunny and warm day. This section followed the Kiso River in the Kiso Valley after crossing the Nenoue Pass. I hiked the 5km to Nagiso Station in an hour and bought some lunch. before continuing the hike to Nojiri Station. which I reached at 13.30. I saw no other hikers until some time after I reached Nojiri, one of them being the German lady from the previous day. I saw some people in the rice paddies and fields of horticulture.
      The trail was a mixture of forest paths, open trails past some lovely houses, iron and wooden steps, and tarmac, especially on the last 5km on a downhill forest road into Nojiri. The first part of the hike up to Nenoue Pass was steep. There were warning signs about bears so I rang the bear-bells and blew my whistle. There was a dead snake on one of the roads.
      Many older properties were closed and maybe abandoned.
      The scenery was lovely with the leaves on some trees starting to change colour.
      After an hour's wait at Nojiri, I took a train on the Chuo Line for an hour's journey to Naira, stopping at all stations including Kiso-Fukushima. Naira was a National Monument and another Post Town as were Magone and Tsumago, with a high street lined with old houses. and shops although it was quiet in late afternoon once any tourists had left.
      I stayed at Katou Minshuku where there was one Japanese guest ,who spoke very little English, at dinner and breakfast which were Japanese set meals.
      I turned the heater on in the bedroom for a while sonce the evenings were getting chillier, especially given the altitude in the mountains.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Kiso-machi, 木曽町

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