Just moments away from a pristine canal in the town of Matsumoto, there is a row of white merchant houses, the beautiful stonemasonry setting a magnificent silhouette against the Japanese Alps. Unlike the wooden machiya in Gion, Kyoto, these thick "kura" stone houses stand proud in the long freezing winters that sweep this town. Some of these merchant houses have been restored as boutiques, selling exotic vases, textiles and other handicrafts. Why not stay at the simple Nunoya Ryokan nearby, cycle along the canals and breathe the mountain air.
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I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us.