My bus pass includes the service from Kiire to Chiran, which picks up passengers a block away from the train station. I was surprised to find I had the bus all to myself.
Chiran was once home to over 500 samurai residences during the late Edo period. Today, a few of these are preserved along a 700m-long street, graced by greenery with very little commercialization in sight. I purchased your ticket from an old lady manning a store just outside the main street. First stop : Saigo Keiichiro
The streets were quiet as the afternoon progressed. I often had the gardens all to myself.
Hirayama Ryoichi - no stones here but the shrubs are trimmed to resemble a mountain range
Sata Mifune - the dry waterfall is this garden's key feature, built in 1751
Sata Tamiko - the rocks and stones are arranged to create a remote wilderness effect
While 7 gardens are open to the public, there were also other private properties along the street that don't allow visitors.
By late afternoon, the town turned quiet. Only the butterflies were still busy.
Strange that a London double-decker has made it here as part of an English tea showroom. There were otherwise very few stores around, and only 1 joint along the historic area itself.
In Japan, people will still pay honestly in this type of shop.