Matsumoto

Jethro: If we had planned to do Japan before leaving UK, we would have got the JR rail pass. You have to get it before you leave home, but it lets you use unlimited trains, and Japanese trains are awesome. Japanese trains are also super expensive (£80 for a couple hours journey) but so are the busses (normally £30 for a few hours journey).
Basically we were screwed no matter what we did, and our target budget of £50 a day for both of us went out the window. Renting mopeds here isn’t a thing ):

We took one of these mega expensive busses to a town called Matsumoto. This was a pretty normal Japanese rural town, and I loved it because it looked like the setting of half the anime/manga I’ve ever watched/read.

After getting to our hostel (with rest stops including a temple fair and a bagel cafe) we decided to use the hostel bicycles to go explore.

Back in Hoi an, Vietnam, we had rented a bicycle and peach had ridden sidesaddle on the back. It was easy and romantic and just lovely.
It was also flat.
Matsumoto is not flat.

A sweaty mess of a Jethro managed to get us 20 mins cycling from the hostel to the castle, and I feel like the grunting noises were kept to an impressively low level, to avoid hurting Peach’s feelings.

Matsumoto castle is the places main sight, and doesn’t disappoint. We didn’t have time to go inside, but outside it’s a super photogenic place.

Peach: Next we went to a curry place that was tiny and had just six seats and lovely owners, an Indian man and his Japanese wife set it up four months ago. Wow. Gave it 5 on TripAdvisor as soon as we got back to the guesthouse. Not just because of the food but the atmosphere and friendliness of the couple that own it made it extra enjoyable to sit and eat and chat with them. I ate a mild curry and other than eating too much I felt fine (!). The mostly plain diet and tablets from the doctor seem to be fixing me 🙂

Jethro: We had planned to head to the alpine Pass tomorrow, but had heard from a couple people about kamikochi national park. It sounded great so we stayed an extra day to do it.

Arriving on a national holiday gave it a brilliant atmosphere. The place was packed with hikers, hardcore hikers, families, campers, and bumblers like us. The area we explored followed a lovely river, and we saw swamps and woodland and some mighty fine bridges.

I walked out into the shallow river and could barely stay in there for 30 seconds to get a photo. My feet had no feeling and the cold had spread halfway up my legs despite only my ankles being wet. I think if you fell in that and got swept downstream you’d be dead in a minute.

Peach: After the beautiful Kamikochi we went back to the castle to see it lit up at night, we walked this time. I don’t think Jethro would’ve coped if I had suggested another bicycle ride. The castle was as beautiful at night as it had been in the day, just in a slightly more eerie way.

Jethro:  Early night, as tomorrow we had a very full day planned! (:

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