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A Day Trip to Magome

Oct 18th, 2020.

The Japanese government has in the past few months initiated a “Go To Travel” campaign, whereby they offer various discounts on domestic travel around Japan to help keep the tourist and travel industry afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this could be considered questionable to some as governments in other countries are locking down on travel as much as possible, no such concern seems to really exist here.

One area of Japan that is taking part in this campaign is Magome, located about a two-hour drive north east of Nagoya city. The small tourist area is famous for its old, rustic buildings and cobbled streets that climb up a mountain marking the starting point of the hike from Magome to Tsumago. This is part of the Nakasendo, which was a trail that connected Kyoto to Tokyo. While I didn’t have enough time to go on this hike this time, I’ll surely make the trip out again and have a go.

A view of Mt Ena from part way up the hill.

Most of the shops on the hill were very similar and fairly standard for a Japanese souvenir shop, which will mainly consist of various little ornaments, wooden cutlery and crockery and of course Japanese sake. With the Go To Travel coupons, everything was essentially half price!

Some local whisky and apple liqueur. How could I not?

In addition to the shops, there were also a few small restaurants and cafes. For lunch, I went to a very traditional Japanese restaurant and had a set meal consisting of grilled fish, vegetables, miso soup, some pickles and also rice with cooked chestnuts and some apricot soaked in a sweet wine sauce.

After lunch we went a little bit further back down the hill to have a look at the Toson Shimasaki memorial museum, which showcased the life of a famous Japanese author, Toson Shimasaki who was heavily active during the Meiji and Showa eras and whose work followed the rapid changes in Japanese society during the Meiji restoration.

On our way up to the top of the hill we stopped off at a small cafe that had a wonderful view of the Mt Ena from its outside terrace. The shop itself had lots of nice ornaments and mugs, so I was particularly disappointed when they served the coffee in paper cups!

This is the type of view I’d like see from my balcony!

Upon reaching the top of the hill there was an observatory area that led up the start of the 7.8-kilometre trail, which I unfortuntaley could not go on today. The view from the observatory was quite something considering what little effort was required to get there.

All-in-all it was a very relaxing day trip out with little exertion. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to do a bit of site-seeing and wants to see some older, more traditional Japanese buildings. While the walk up the hill could be a bit tiring for some, it really does not take long to get to the ‘top’ and then it is a very quick walk back down.

Now it’s time for a nice cup of tea to relax! Here are a few more random shots I took. Enjoy 🙂

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