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Day 10 Japan - Nagano to Matsumoto

JAPAN | Wednesday, 13 November 2019 | Views [28]

Nagano to Matsumoto

We made our first stop this morning at the beautiful Zenkoji Buddhist temple founded over 1400 years ago, and the home to one of the first Buddha statues brought to Japan. We strolled through the gardens in the warm sunshine, with the everchanging colours and falling autumn leaves, and along the avenue leading to the temple. The street lined with shops selling local treats and souvenirs drew us along it. Wandering through, I found a couple of lovely brocade cloths. I handed them to the man in the store who took them quite reverently from me and treated them with such care as he wrapped them. Such a sweet experience.

Another little lady helped us to choose more take home items; then kindly and generously popped a box of local treats into the bag. We could have spent much longer in this really pleasant area.

We moved on out of Nagano city to visit a Wasabi farm. As much as I really don’t enjoy the taste of wasabi this was a fascinating place! Wasabi grows in running water that needs to be maintained at 15 degrees or less for the best quality product. It’s an odd looking root herb – looks a bit like a slug 😊 The whole place was very calm and peaceful with gentle music playing as the water trickled through the wasabi. Even the toilets were a bit Zen – beautiful design and the same music piped through. Of course there was the opportunity to purchase all things wasabi. Even ice cream! Chris gave it a go.

On our way to Matsumoto city we stopped for lunch at the Japanese equivalent of a roadhouse. These places are great. Make your choice in a vending machine type thing; feed in your payment and collect your ticket that it spits out; when your number is called, collect your freshly cooked meal. Enjoy!

We continued on to Matsumoto city and a visit to Matsumoto Castle. This is one of Japan's most complete and original castles, Matsumoto Castle. The castle was an important landmark in the defence of the area. It was built during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The main keep of the castle has six floors, and we climbed all the way to the top on some very steep staircases. Quite a test of our quad muscles!

Our hotel was then just a short drive away and once settled in we headed out into the darkened streets for our evening meal. Again, the quieter back streets delivered deliciously.

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