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Enchanting Your Trip Along Three-Star Road

July 17, 2019 Rail No Comments Email Email

Enchanting your trip along Three-Star Road

Japan is one of the most popular destinations for Australian traveller’s, with most heading to popular destinations such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Hokkaido and Osaka. For the more adventurous souls, East Japan Railway Company (JR East) provides the opportunity to try something different and take a trip along the Mitsuboshi Kaidou, or the Three-Star Road area. The area stretching from Kanazawa to Gokayama, Shirakawa-go, Takayama, and Matsumoto is an extended tourist route called the “Three-Star Road”. The area is growing in popularity among foreign tourists as it is home to World Heritage Sites, National Treasures, which got 3-star by Michelin Green Guides. With so many attractions including traditional streets, castles, and specialty local food, there’s so much to see and do!

Encountering traditional thatched-roof houses -Shirakawa-go-

Although designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site over 20 years ago, the traditional Japanese mountain village of Shirakawa-go remains relatively unknown abroad. The shape of the roofs resembles monk’s hands in prayer, which is where the name gassho-zukuri (“the act of prayer”) originates from. Some houses in Shirakawa village were built over 300 years ago and are still home to local residents, while others have been converted to tourist shops. Blessed with nature, Shirakawa-go is swathed in verdant greens during the summer months. It is a season of beautiful contrasts as the brilliant sunlight casts dark shadows in the shade of the trees. This area is especially popular during winter, as the piles of snow on the thatched roofs are an impressive sight! Furthermore, on special weekends in January and February, the homes are illuminated against the backdrop of the snow scenery.

Taking a deep breath in an abundance of nature -Matsumoto city –

Surrounded by an abundance of natural scenery and filled with pure mountain air, Matsumoto offers multiple local experiences in a compact city. You can pick and choose from numerous museums, explore the Matsumoto castle, stroll around the mixture of the old and new parts of the Nakamachi Street, take a local bus to the charming villages on the city outskirts, or go up to the heights of Utsukushigahara for a panoramic view of the whole region. The city is also a good base for trips into the Japanese Alps such as Kamikochi, where you can immerse yourself into nature activities.

Ticket information

JR East now offers special deals such as those including round trip fares and unlimited ride vouchers. By using the Three-star Route Ticket, you can explore the Three-star Route area. The Hokuriku Arch Pass provides unlimited travel from Tokyo and Osaka to the Hokuriku area.

For more information regarding the Three-star Route Ticket: https://www.mitsuboshi-kaidou.com/

As of 1 September 2019, JR East will offer discount passes with their Suica cards (rechargeable contactless smart card), allowing travellers to efficiently pass through automatic ticket gates with just one touch. Transfers to stations outside the area covered by the pass will be automatically deducted from the charge balance, making for even smoother transfers.

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