Friday, June 19, 2009

A trip to Matsumoto & Hakuba Day 1

Last weekend, the Tan Tans were kindly invited to join an elderly couple from their English conversation class to Nagano. As it coincided with the Tan Tans’ 1st Wedding Anniversary, it was a great opportunity for a celebration in Nagano. It was like a anniversary present that fell from the sky.

The Tan Tans first stop. Matsumoto castle. It was one of the most beautiful original castle in Japan out of the 12 original castles and was built on a plain instead of on top of a mountain or hill. Also known as crow castle, Matsumoto jo was built in 1592 and has a beautiful distinct black roof.

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Inside the castle, there are some display of firearms that were used in the 16th century.



Belief had it that there was this guard who saw a gorgeous gal on the 16th night in the premises of the castle who handed a bag over to the guard and told him that if they enshrined the bag with 2,600 kilograms of rice every month on the 16th, she will protect the castle from fire and enemy attacks. I believed that was carried out as this castle was protected from fires which had engulfed so many other castles in Japan.

 IMG_2450jpgIMG_2451jpg Shrine of the 16th Night Goddess.


Next stop from Matsumoto Castle, The Tan Tans were brought to the former Kaichi primary school which was the first elementary school built in Japan. (It was interesting that they named this school “primary” whereas the others were called “elementary” schools)


IMG_2474jpg Drain cover featuring traditional matsumoto handball along the way to Kaichi Primary School.

IMG_2483jpgIMG_2492jpgIMG_2490jpg Former Kaichi Primary School.


One of the exhibition rooms featuring the old classroom as well as some of the games played during lessons.

IMG_2494jpgIMG_2495jpgIMG_2496jpg And being the “good” student in class, Mr Tan Tan could not resist but attended lesson.

IMG_2507jpg The old ski boots. . wondered how they could moved around with ski boots that heavy.


Next stop. Art Museum as one of the elderly is a painter and loves art and it was a good idea for the Tan Tans as they did not really visit any museum in Japan.



IMG_2542jpgIMG_2543jpgTan Tans taking a rest on this wonderfully comfortable bench after an exhausting time.

 IMG_2557jpgFinally, after 6hrs (not including our stoppages at Matsumoto) of driving on the road going at 130-140km/hr for our kind uncle who is almost 70 years old we reached Hakuba!!

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After the wonderful Sanzai Ryori, it’s time for a wonderful soak of the Hakuba Onsen and thereafter bedtime!