Mino, traditional town and paper creations 美濃
Oct. 20th. 2022,
Michi no eki, Nanamori Kiyomi
The night at Nanamori Kiyomi was a wonderful one for stars but very cold. For the first time this trip, the car was encased in ice.
We have stayed in this michi no eki before, it is notable for easy access to Takayama and fresh flowers in the toilets.
We set off for Gujo Hachiman. This is a trip along one of my favourite roads ‘Seseragi kaido’. It sweeps up and down the mountains in wide graceful curves with pretty scenery most of the way.
Pascal Kiyomi michi no eki
We stop at Pascal Kiyomi michi no eki, a place clearly run by the Pascal Sauce company. It is interesting in the thought that has clearly gone into arranging the goods so carelessly, yet so elegantly, on display. It is the casual artistry of the interesting, if pricy, merchandise on sale that is remarkable especially in a michi no eki deep in the mountains. It also boasts a restaurant, café and a pretty stream running behind it.
We don’t stop in Gujo Hachiman, having spent time here in the past, but press on to Mino. This town is apparently a centre for washi, Japanese handmade paper, so we decide to take a look.
The old town is the usual rectangular grid of traditional buildings, essentially merchants houses and premises. These buildings are notable for “Udatsu” a particular roof feature ostensibly to prevent fire spreading (unlikely) but more a show of ostentatious wealth.
Along the streets, there was a display of paper creations protected by perspex and wired to be illuminated at night. These art works were the fruit of a competition and some quite fantastic. Memorable, were a carp jumping and another of a lily pond with fish. Though remarkable, neither of these were dignified with prizes. At night the illumination must be very pretty.
Here, we make a mistake and decide to visit the Monet Pond. This it transpires is a 45-minute drive in, for us, the wrong direction especially as the pond is not really worth a 5-minute walk.
This sets us up for a long drive through Gifu city and along the Nagaragawa in the gathering dark and rush hour traffic.
Michi no eki Tsukimi no Sato Nanno
When we finally arrive at the onsen we are heading for ‘Suisho no yu’, it is a dark, deserted car park with a bear warning sign. I am tired from driving too far so we opt to forgo the onsen and press on to Tsukimi no Sato Nanno. This michi no eki is a little further down the road and has a large car park and a larger and packed truck area. The toilets are at the truck park end of the building so far from our berth for the night. Not a successful day though the paper craft was worth seeing.
I do not recommend Tsukimi no Sato Nanno for an overnight stay. Trucks with their engines running all night and much coming and going. Best avoided.
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.