Echigo-Akiyamago Driving Course

The changing of the seasons is very noticeable in Japan and autumn brings with it some amazing scenery as the leaves change color. Snow Country is covered with trees of many different kinds that are ranged across the mountains slopes. This concentration, abundance and variety makes for some amazing displays. One of the recommended courses is the Akiyamago Driving Course just out of Tsunan town.

We stopped at the Tsunan Tourist Information Center to pick up a map and then headed up to Akiyamago on Route 405. The whole driving is a pleasure with amazing scenery from the start. The road climbs up into the mountains sometimes only a single car width wide with hairpin bends and dramatic views down into the gorge below. Along the way there are wooden suspension bridges, crystal clear streams. temples in the woods, waterfalls and stone-walled rice terraces. It is one of the famous remote backcountry regions in Japan and rich in natural beauty. There were plenty of photographers out trying to capture some of the stunning vistas but it is hard for a photograph do really do it justice.

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We called in for a quick stop at the Tsunan Tourist Information Center just off R117
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Mitama-fudouson Temple was the first stop on the recommended course. It is a tranquil little temple set back into the wood up a steep slope with a mountain stream cascading down alongside.

At each turn there is another stunning view laid out in front of you and the temptation is to keep stopping the car to take yet another photograph.

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