Sight-seeing in Iida and Kiso for the autumn season! Stayed at an old Japanese-style house!

This is an article about going to Ohdairajuku, which is near Iida in Nagano. This place is an abandoned village, and currently you can stay overnight at the old houses as a hotel.

I went to Iida and Kiso in Nagano for sightseeing, at the end of autumn in November.

Stayed at an old folk house named Ohdairajuku.

My father said he had something to do nearby, so I went with him and visited this place called Ohdairajuku. Ohdairajuku is an abandoned village that is up on the road over a mountain pass. An abandoned village means that the popularity decreased from time to time, and they all went to live out of the village. There are no people left now.

Before the village was abandoned, this place was a “Shukubamachi” (post town), meaning they had lodges that were built in places convenient for traffic. So even though it is an abandoned village, they have repaired the old houses and made it into a nice lodge for travellers.

The colored leaves are almost gone. The moutain only had Japanese larch trees, and the surface was beautifully golden.

They had electricity, but didn’t have TVs or phones. My cell phone didn’t even work.

The village was abandoned in 1990, and they still had old buildings from the Meiji era. You can also stay the night here, so it is quite a famous sightseeing spot.

In the neighborhood there are major post stations like Tsumago-juku and Magome-juku.

Nowadays, the renovation of old folk houses are a sort of a boom, but the houses here were just repaired and not renovated, so it is a little tough to stay overnight since you have to make your own food and sleep in sleeping bags. Plus it’s cold.

And so we stayed at the only hostel that is in business, named Maru-sansou.

We were the only guests staying there that night, so it was very quiet.

The caretaker who is from Iida took good care of us.
It was like we were staying at our relative’s house.

The first rice of the year from Iida. They cook the rice with fresh mountain water so it was delicious! Probably the best rice I’d eaten this year.

Nagano has tasty apples and rice. The air is fresh too.

It’s still autumn but the mornings and nights in Iida are freezing!

It’s 1,150 meters above sea level. Ohdairajuku is very cold.

The roads are basically closed during the winter. The winter coldness is said to be one of the reason why the village was abandoned

Even though it’s still the beginning of November, it is freezing during the night. But the stars were unbelievably beautiful.

In the morning...

No way. 3 degrees below zero.

I was wearing wool, fleece, and a down jacket to endure the cold, and I’m so glad I was...

White frost everywhere.

When I walk on the grass, it’s crunchy because of the frost.

Whoa, the car’s frozen.

It was like a car from Ice World.

But when the sun came up, the temperature went up as well and made it above 10 degrees.

The sunshine was very warm, it felt good.

They said the colored leaves were still very pretty last week.

Too bad I didn’t get to see that sight. But the ending of the coloring was also beautiful.

Drove though the colorful Ohdaira Kaido to Narai-juku

Ohdaira Kaido, the colored leaves by the Ichinose Bridge.

We drove through this, stopped by Narai-juku, and went back home to Yokohama.

Look at the historical buildings in Narai-juku!
...I was about to say, but there were only pics that were focused on the dango.

So this is what “Hana yori dango” is about!

(“Hana yori dango” is an old Japanese saying that means that a good apetite always wins over beauty like flowers. Dango is a sweet type of mochi (rice cake) that you eat with salty/sweet sauce. It is a traditional Japanese dessert.)

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Written by kussy

I have worked in Tokyo for more than ten years. I live in Shanghai from the summer of 2015.

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