Autumn in Japan – the damp heat has returned to the tropics, the winter winds remain comfortably distant and Amaterasu wears a crystalline smile. There is no better time to be in Japan.
New bargain holiday rates on the nation’s toll roads allowed us to finally make a road trip across the island to the mountain hideaways of Gifu.
Stealing away at 2am, we reached the mountain village of Gokayama in time to watch the morning dew evaporate off the thatched roofs of the gassho farmhouses.
Over bowls of breakfast noodles a local lady spoke of the her childhood in the isolated village where fifty households sat out the war years.
Today she is content to live a far easier life in one of the remaining dozen or so homes that are protected by the World Heritage Organization.