The Gardens of Magome

While visiting Magome-juku, a preserved post town in the Japan Alps (and formerly a post town on the Nakasendo and Kisoji travel roads), I appreciated the care the shopkeepers took with the tiny but manicured gardens located in front of many shops. The garden featured a decorative water wheel, hearkening back to the time when real water wheels provided power for the town. Unlike the more strictly manicured gardens found at shrines and temples, these were clearly decorative but personal gardens featuring local trees and flowers that the owners kept trimmed but allowed to grow in more natural, informal styles. Despite their

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