Mitake is an old post town on the northern, mountain trade route from Kyoto to Tokyo, known as the Nakasendo 中仙道. In Gifu Prefecture, the Nakasendo highway passes through Ena, Iwamura, Mitake and on to Magome and Tsumago.
There are a few sights to see within easy walking distance of Mitake Station.
Nearest to the station is the ancient temple of Gankoji, which originally dates from the Heian Period, though the oldest buildings that survive are around 400 years old. The temple has some historic wooden statues which may be viewed in a storehouse near the main hall.
Walking down the main street brings you to the modern Nakasendo Mitakekan (Mitake Nakasendo Museum) with exhibits showing the history of the area from earliest times to the present, with emphasis on the economic and social history of the Nakasendo highway.
Nearby is the preserved wooden gate of an inn used by feudal lords and other dignitaries as they made their way to and from Edo.
Virtually next door is the fascinating Takeya Residence, a preserved Meiji-era (1877) house of the Takeya merchant family who made their fortune in the timber trade and the manufacture of indigo-dyed cloth before moving to Nagoya. There is a reconstructed Edo-period kitchen, a teahouse and garden and a storehouse on the property.
Daichisan Gukeiji Temple has a small stone garden and is north of National Highway 21 behind Mitake Elementary School.
The quickest way to reach Mitake is on the Meitetsu Hiromi Line from Inuyama from Nagoya. Change trains at Shin-Kani for the local train to Mitake. The tiny tourist information center is inside the small Mitake Station.
Inuyama can be reached by express train from Nagoya Station.
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Friday, May 14, 2010