My second destination within the Kiso Valley was the town of Magome. Like Tsumago, Magome is a former post town that sits on an old road that once connected Tokyo and Kyoto. A hiking trail that follows the old path connects Tsumago and Magome but it takes around 2.5 hours to complete and I didn’t have enough time, so I took a bus instead.
Magome is built on a slope and most of its buildings are restorations rather than originals. When Japan’s rail network started being built in the late 1800s the mountain route connecting Tokyo and Kyoto became obsolete and Magome fell into poverty and disrepair from the sudden loss of business. Within the past few decades Magome has been rebuilt to its Edo Period appearance and now Magome along with Tsumago and a couple other villages in the Kiso Valley are tourist destinations.
At the upper end of Magome is an old signpost where notices from the local and national government would be posted. The signs are pretty worn down but a majority of the text is still visible. Apparently one of the signs offers a bounty for people that reported Christians to the government authorities. Christianity was outlawed during the Edo Period and Christians had to keep their faith hidden to avoid persecution.
A parking lot sits beyond the old signpost. I got a photo of Mt Ine, which is the tallest mountain in the area and in the photo above it’s the big mountain in the center. While there I got into a conversation with a Japanese guy that spoke decent English. He had been to a few of the places I had previously visited and we chatted for about ten minutes.
I then headed back down the slope to the bottom of Magome to reach the town’s bus stop, and along the way I bought some sweet rice crackers from one of the local shops. It would have been nice to stay a little longer in Magome but the buses in this region of Japan aren’t as frequent as in other places and I needed to get on the next bus to start the trek back to Nagoya.
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