We spent an overnight in the post town of Tsumago in the Kiso valley where homes and buildings are preserved from hundreds of years ago. Our first stop was our Ryokan, the Maruya, an old traditional Japanese house. Dirt floors on the ground entrance where you take off your shoes and walk carefully along a wooden plank to enter the home. The dining room has tatami mats with a small table, where we enjoyed our beautiful dinner sitting cross legged in our Yukata. Our room on the second floor climbs a narrow steep staircase to a series of rooms with tatami mats on the floor and futons. The sliding rice paper doors open up to a beautiful view of a garden. We have a little table where we can enjoy our tea too. It is a very quiet place with only Chris and I staying here. The people are lovely and welcoming.
We took a taxi to the next town over, Magome, and explored the mystery of it. Then we began a 7.6 km hike through the forest and past old traditional homes, gardens and rice patties on our way back to Tsumago. You get the feeling that life is very simple here, and there is no need to rush. I have enjoyed the rest and look forward to seeing my cousin in Sendai today. We begin a long stretch of train hopping today to go North past Tokyo to their town.