Michi no eki Alp Hida Furukawa
Last night’s michi-no-eki Alp Hida Furukawa is, in retrospect, worth recommending as a Shachuhaku spot – large car park, spacious toilet and rubbish bins provided. It was also quiet but that may have been due to the incessant rain.
The rain persists and we wonder how to spend the day. Finally, we decide to drive towards Shirakawago, as this is a scenic route, and visit Ainokura. Ainokura has houses similar to those of Shirakawago but fewer in number and in a less picturesque setting. It also has far fewer visitors and, as a consequence, is more pleasant to visit.
Michi no eki Kamitaira restaurant Iwana Gokayama
On our way, we stop for lunch at michi-no-eki Kamitaira. This michi-no-eki has a restaurant called ‘Iwana Gokayama-shokudo’ which specializes in Iwana. A river fish species. I had Set A, noted for a complete absence of Iwana. For 900 yen this was excellent quality and value. D. had Set B. and was also very satisfied.
From the rear tables you can dine with a view of a thin waterfall plunging down the crags into the river far below. A little too early for Koyo (Autumn Leaves) but very pretty. Highly recommended.
From michi-no-eki Kamitaira, we move on to Ainokura and wander around in a thin drizzle but we need to stretch our legs. It is not nearly as impressive as Shirakawago but, for me, Shirakawago has been ruined by the vast number of tourists. These have been arriving by the bus load since it became a world heritage site and, anyway, Ainokura has its moments.
From there we make a stop in Toyama to pick up supplies and then to Tateyama Station to spend the night in the car park. The toilet is very far and it is still raining, by now rather hard, but the forecast for tomorrow is fine. We can but hope.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.