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Ogimachi and Ainokura

From Furikawa, we passed again up a back road over the Alps stopping the night in the forest by a glade near the road hoping to avoid being ransacked by bears despite the warning signs.

Another deserted side loop providing a stop over

Farmers discuss the rice harvest

A model village of older style small thatched farming shelters

Heading up again into the mountains

Even the warning sign is askew!

Double mirrors and precipitous drops!

A summer view of the high mountains

Looking down the valley towards Ogimachi

Another night in the elusive company of bears!

Looking back at the high pass road

Next day before we had gone a kilometre or two, we arrived on the fringes of Shirikawa-go at Ogimachi, a delightful town full of period A-frame thatched traditional farm houses converted into expensive restaurants and hotels, where a single cup of coffee cost as much as a meal.

Ogimachi proper

A very expensive comfort stop

House and cafe interiors

Spot the wading bird!

The local temple

Another interior

Views from the look out above the town

A forest bird roost across the valley

Another settlement further up the river

Taking culture classes for the Japanese tourists

From there, we drove on through several touristic versions of these farming villages, which were moved in the 1960s to make way for a large hydro-electric dam, stopping at the best, Ainokura.


While photographing I fell over backwards slipping on the trench of a rice paddy and stabbed my hand into the ground, spraining my wrist and totally dislocating my middle finger at the tip, so that it pointed hideously back at right angles. After taking one careful look at it, I grabbed it and forcefully pulled it out and snapped it back into place. For about an hour it seemed miraculously unaffected but as the day wore on it filled with blood and became bruised all over, nevertheless back into a functional condition.

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