The hamlet of Takigoshi 滝越 sits on Nagano’s border with neighboring Gifu Prefecture. It is the most western hamlet in Nagano prefecture and lays just over the mountains from one of Japan’s most famous hot spring areas, Gero 下呂. However, standing in Takigoshi you would never know that the hustle and bustle of Gero was taking place a few valleys over. Takigoshi is a quiet place where the noises of modern Japan are pacified by the soundless drifting of clouds and the hushed whispers of winds flowing down forested hillsides.
The population of Takigoshi is sparce, only about 20 individuals living in around 15 homes. This has been the case–with a couple of exceptions–since the hamlet was founded by a samurai clan hiding after defeat in battle. The defeated samurai was known as Miura or Miure 三浦, a family name that still dominates the hamlet (nearly all residents are Miuras).
Not much happens in Takigoshi, and that’s what gives the place its charm. Time moves at a glacial pace there, farmers (the majority of which are 70 years of age or older) go about their daily activities with little care for deadlines, financial crises, or new strains of influenza. This is not to say that residents here are unconnected or unaware of the world at large, they are simply well enough apart that it doens’t occupy a large portion of their lives. There is no cellular reception in Takigoshi either, so your cell phone’s no good here, partner.
In Takigoshi one is allowed open space, solitude, and quiet ample enough to foster contemplation of some of the more subdued intricacies of the world: the mathematical impossiblities of river water tumbling over rocks, the finely detailed structuring of innumerable plant varities, and the delicacies of sunlight at play in the forest, among others.
Camping is available in Takigoshi at the Morikichi Campground 森きちオートキャンプ場, and one can sample some delicious local soba and fresh fish at Suikoen 水交園. Kayak tours of nearby Shizen-ko 自然湖 are also available. The operators of the campground and kayak tours can both pass muster when it comes to English, so no worries. Takigoshi is only reachable by car, or bike, or foot!!!! Take route 20 towards Otaki from Kiso Valley’s main road, route 19.
InformationMorikichi Campground and Suikoen: Website (Japanese only) http://farwestwest.blog22.fc2.com/ TEL: 0264-48-2247
Ontake Adventure (Kayak Tours):
Website (Japanese only) http://www.ontake-adv.com/
Otaki Village : Website (Japanese only) http://www.vill.otaki.nagano.jp/
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