Shionomichi Trail – Toyoshina to Matsumoto

April 2021   The last stage of the Shionomichi Trail going into Matsumoto was not nearly as boring as I thought it might be.  Our daughter, Nicola, accompanied me so that might have made it more interesting as she doesn’t tolerate navigation errors and so I had to be on my toes!  I assumed it would [...]


A pleasant hike up into the North Alps

One of the scenic highlights of walking the Shionomichi (Salt Trail) are the views of the awe-inspiring North Alps. The entire length of the 120-kilometer Shionomichi trail runs along the bottom of these mountains that rise to over 3,000 meters and include some of the best skiing, snowboarding, and alpine hiking spots in Japan. There [...]


Why I like to live in a kominka (farmhouse)

Ever since I first came to Japan and backpacked around western Japan for 2 months during my summer university vacation over 45 years ago, I have been fascinated by Japanese architecture. I couldn’t believe that the great big temples, shrines and castles that I visited on that first trip, like the Todaiji in Nara, Izumo [...]


Jomon cultural revival

ShumiStay Japan customers who have been on some of our trips will have encountered various museums and archeological sites associated with the Jomon period 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. This interesting article indicates that there is a revival in learning and experiencing the Jomon culture. Here is a photo of one of our groups [...]


For lovers of Japanese “washi” paper

For our lovers of Japanese washi “paper”, I recommend checking out the March edition of  “Highlighting Japan” ( a free monthly magazine with various interesting articles about Japan) which showcase washi’s strength, beauty, and its potential. The online magazine HIGHLIGHTING JAPAN is published once a month by the Japanese government to help readers better understand [...]

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