On Saturday we left Tokyo and Headed Matsumoto.
The spine of Japan is mountains, they make up one third of the land in Japan.
Driving to Matsumoto was reminiscent of driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, low mountains, tunnels and rest stops.
When we arrived In Matsumoto, we went to a miso factory
Miso is a staple of the Japanese diet. It is a thick paste of soybeans, salt, and rice which this company ferments in cedar barrels over a three year period. It is used a soup base which is served at every meal, high in protein it is believed to be responsible for the preventing many diseases and contributing to long lives of the Japanese people. Miso dates back to the feudal era of Japan.
After the factory tour, we had a lunch of rice, cabbage salad, miso soup with pork, turnips and tofu. Dessert was miso ice cream. This is one of the best meals I have eaten in Japan.
After lunch we went to the museum of modern art to see a show of Yayoi Kusama. She was born in Matsumoto. Her work was inspired by her seizures. It consisted of many dots, mirrors,dark rooms lit with lights reflected into multiple mirrors. The giant yellow polka dotted pumpkin was one of the centerpieces of the shows. The display was curated by the artist.
After checking into the hotel we had a multi course meal. Dinners are esthetic shows of color and texture. Vegetables, fish,raw and tempura, mushrooms tiny pickles, seaweed, fruits, flower petals are all artistically arranged on tiny plates and bowls. Miso is also served. Tonight’s dessert was a rich flourless chocolate cake.
After a stern warning about covid protection, some of us walked to the castle.
In the morning we visited the grounds of the Matsumoto Castle, one of five designated as a national treasure. These castles date from the 1600’s.
We headed for Narai, aPost-Town on the Nakesendo trail. This trail goes between Edo(now Tokyo, the Shogun capital and Kyoto, the Emperors Capital.