After a pleasant one night stay in Kiso valley, I headed up north across the mountains towards Shirahone onsen, which is located not far from Kamikochi. Driving on narrow mountain roads in Japan can be a chilling experience, so I left Kiso-Fukushima early, planning to be done with the most dangerous part, local road number 26, before dark. That turned out to be a good decision – not the most scary road I’ve driven on on in my life, but still much easier to navigate during daylight. I even found a place to pull out and take a couple of pictures.
After I emerged on the other side of the scary road, it was already pretty dark, but driving was much easier from there. I made another brief stop at Nagawa dam – I’ve been here before, in 2005, during my first visit to Kamikochi area.
Shirahone onsen, where I stayed the night, is famous for its milky white sulfur water. I’m a sucker for colorful hot springs, so this was my main reason for staying there. I picked a small, minshuku-like ryokan named Maruei and was so delighted with the place that I forgot completely about my camera and, as a result, don’t have a single picture from there to show. Oh, well. Check it out if you like authentically Japanese, very un-western-like experience.
Per my original plan I was going to spend the next day in Kamikochi hunting autumn leaves, but the weather did not cooperate, so instead I headed to Matsumoto and had a wonderful 3rd time visit there.