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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Life-long resident reading the village news board.

 

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