Matsumoto City Museum, which is right next to Matsumoto Castle, is holding a special exhibition featuring samurai swords and other blades from the major sword making regions of Japan. The exhibition runs until June 4th, 2017. There isn’t much explanation about the swords and other items provided in English, but they are beautiful to look at.
Poster for the exhibition
In the exhibition you’ll find not only the typical samurai swords, but also an amazing full suit of samurai armor, the pieces and parts that are used to make the swords, art depicting the samurais with their weapons in action and some other blades such as a spearhead. Don’t miss it if you’re a Japanese history buff or just think samurais and swords are cool.
Up close look at the symbol etched into the base of a katana blade
Full suit of samurai armor
Samurai sword set consisting of the large blade and smaller sword.
Beautifully crafted blades
Rain covers for the swords
Parts of the hilt and a small knife.
Head of a spear and artwork depicting a samurai using it
Nowadays, walking the old Nakasendo Road at Tsumago, Magome, and Narai is popular among foreign visitors, but they are crowded, especially in the early May ‘Golden Week’ holidays in Japan.
I visited the Uenodan area of the post town of Kiso-Fukushima (not Fukushima Prefecture) and Kozenji Temple near there to find some of the little-known great spots in the Kiso area. They are accessible by train (20 and 10 min walk from Kiso-Fukushima Station).
Uenodan is one of post towns in the Nakasendo Road. It is smaller than Tsumago and Narai, but very historical and cozy.
Some old buildings are used for restaurants and shops. I enjoyed soba noodles at Kurumaya, 300-year history soba restaurant.
Then, I went to Kozenji Temple to see a Japanese rock garden (zen garden).
It is called the widest zen garden in the east Asia and I was impressed by how it uses Kiso’s beautiful nature as ‘borrowed backdrop scenery’.
It is said that this garden represents mountains in a sea of clouds or in the cosmos, but I felt it represents the inner world of humanity.
Other Japanese gardens in the temple and approaches to the rock garden are also very beautiful.
I also visited Atera Gorge, which is famous for clear, emerald green water and its Kiso hinoki cypress forest. There is a groomed walking trail (access: one hour and twenty min walk from Nojiri train station), which I also recommend you visit.
Last week at the height of cherry blossom season, we headed down to Azumino to enjoy some early spring rafting! The combination of fast currents, snow-capped mountains, and blooming cherry trees are perfect for an exciting and scenic day on the water. Read the rest of this entry »