Through the wonders of the local train service, I ended up with an hours stopover in Matsumoto. Normally this would have been nothing but a monumental pain in the arse, but thanks to the iPhone and some fine planning on my part, I was able to visit the grounds of Matsumoto-jo, one of Japan’s three original castles (the other two being Himeji and Inuyama, which at 45 minutes from Nagoya you can expect to see something of in the coming months).

To make the most of my brief stop in this charming town, surrounded by mountains and with a river rushing through the centre, I bought an oyaki, a local specialty that’s made by kneading a flour-based dough, filling it with ingredients (in this case aubergine) and then steaming and baking the resulting dumpling according to the chef’s preference:

I sat on the bench and ate, and snapped a few photos before hot-footing it back to the station and onto the next train:

Bai bai Matsumoto! Sorry I couldn’t stay longer.

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