My next stop in Tsumago was the Honjin, which was the town’s primary inn and was where government officials and other important visitors would stay. Whereas Tsumago’s Wakihonjin is mostly original, the Honjin is a reconstruction from the 1990s that is meant to recreate how the Honjin looked in the 1800s. The Honjin is a bit larger than the Wakihonjin and some of its interior walls have been removed to make the layout easier to see. In one of the rooms are a series of paintings that were made by a Japanese diplomat that was stationed in Europe in the 1930s. Looking at those old paintings reminded me of my two previous trips to Europe and got me thinking about planning a third visit at some point in the future.
After visiting the Honjin I paid a quick visit to Kotoku Temple. There’s not too much to see at this small temple but it’s a peaceful place.
I then spent some more time exploring Tsumago. One particular section of the town has been restored to look as close as possible to how Tsumago appeared 200 years ago and it almost feels like you’ve gone back in time. The thing that really stood out to me, however, was an unusual clothing store. Apparently a famous Japanese clothing designer lives in Tsumago and this is where he sells the clothes he creates. The storefront had photos of various celebrities wearing his clothes and if I were wealthier I would be inclined to purchase one of the suit jackets and pants that were on display. After wandering around Tsumago some more I headed back to the town’s bus stop to catch a ride to the town of Magome, which is where I’d conclude my time in the Kiso Valley and which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.