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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

7 November 2015

Japanese Shrew Mole

16 October 2015

So we’re leaving Kamikochi on the bus that will take us back to our car, and reflecting that we had been naively thinking of this little slice of wilderness in the middle of our holiday as a mini wildlife expedition. In the whole two weeks so far we’ve seen semi-wild deer ambling around the temples of Nara and a single little black rodent scurrying in the leaf litter earlier today – it was a Japanese Shrew Mole, for those who care to know (no photo, darn thing was too tiny and fast). And that was it. I had been so looking forward to seeing the Japanese Macaques, the famous “snow monkeys” that enjoy bathing in hot springs. Of course, just before the bus entered the tunnel out of the valley we glanced at a swampy looking pond to our left… and saw a troop of monkeys having their afternoon bath. For all of three seconds. Grrr. I must confess to whiling away quite a bit of time this evening fondly imagining that we had found the pool ourselves earlier in the day and spent hours observing the monkeys swimming and playing. Ah well. Tokyo next, so that’s certainly it for “wild Japan”!

Kamikochi hiking

Kamikochi hiking


But wait! Kamikochi may well still be our favourite bit of Japan yet. We enjoyed some absolutely breathtaking views today, from the top of a rather breathtaking four hour hike. The additional two hour hike in the afternoon was also very beautiful, but maybe excessive. We were wilting to an almost horizontal degree by the time we tumbled onto that bus and got ourselves back to Matsumoto.

For dinner tonight we went on a bit of a mini bar-crawl, picking random places where lots of locals were eating and drinking. This did unfortunately mean absorbing a fair bit of cigarette smoke, and a fair bit of sake (well, you have to have at least one drink in each place). But we also absorbed some very tasty bits of food, including our old favourite – grilled chicken hearts. Delicious the world over, except for the UK where no-one thinks to cook them. : (

Probably too much hiking and sake, on balance. Which is why I’m writing this the following day – last night we simply upended into bed and fell asleep.

Autumn colour, Kamikochi

Autumn colour, Kamikochi


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