Japan Trip, Part 3 – Takayama

Following on from Nikko we took the train to Takayama. Takayama is a fairly touristy place, popular with Japanese as well as Western tourists due to its authentic old buildings. We also had our second stay in a ryokan, this time more upmarket. Takayama itself is very picturesque, albeit in only a small section, and also contains the Hida No Sato historic village with 30 or so reconstructions of traditional Japanese house types.

For the train journey to Takayama we bought some strange green biscuits in a 7-11 in Nikko, and then picked up a can of hot coffee at a train station along the way when we needed to change. Japan had vending machines all over serving either cold or hot drinks. Although initially a strange concept for us it’s an excellent idea that I wish could be adopted over here. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’d last long without being vandalised in Britain. Oh, and the biscuit turned out to be green tea with chocolate chunks (obvious from the name “American Soft” surely?), but not mouldy as it may look:

Waving cats are apparently very lucky. I’m always seeing them in Thai restaurants here but they’re all over the place in Japan. This one was stone and quite tasteful compared to many of the plastic ones we saw:

As I mentioned, the ryokan (called Nagase) was quite stylish, even if the furniture had no legs. This was our room:

The corner of the room in the ryokan. The raised area is a feature of ryokan rooms that you’re not meant to step on, even for taking photos (ahem):

We were served dinner in the room by the ryokan’s maids (two slightly dotty Japanese women of around 50 to 60 years old). We wore the dressing gowns provided (yakuta, as they’re known by snobs) to get into the spirit of things:

Dinner was excellent, though, and consisted of a dozen or so dishes including noodles, soups, fish, pickles, rice and all sorts of other weird and wonderful animals, vegetables and minerals:

This shot inside one of the houses in Takayama shows the tea pot hanging on a hook. Tea is quite important in Japan and so the hooks tended to be very overblown:

The old buildings were very interesting and it was easy to see modern architecture influences:

The modular space somehow never became repetitive, despite being so rigidly based on grids and the tatami mat dimensions:

Another impressive tea hook:

Inside another house:

Hida No Sato was a distinct attraction of Takayama and well worth a visit. Ann and Jo were getting ready to find it interesting in this shot:

One of the Hida No Sato houses:

The buildings may have been interesting, but obviously not as interesting as the pond:

Below are more shots from the set of traditional buildings:





































Every tourist spot had very strict signs telling you which way to go, and Hida No Sato was no exception. It doesn’t quite say “All visitors will follow the route on pain of death” but it might as well:

The large, orange cow really stood out, and reminded me of Bethnal Green:

I’ve no idea what this is but I’m sure I saw it in a Star Trek episode once:

We also found an old phonebox although we couldn’t try it out as a statue was in it making a call:

Some of the buildings had very precise places where the best photo could be taken from and needed a particular stance, as Bob is demonstrating here. I’m not sure whether this mixture of Bob and tripod should be called a Bobpod or a Tribob:

I just hope these green things never come to life:

This was one of the largest waving cats we saw out on the street:

Unfortunately, we were too late to visit the Teddy Bear Eco Village:

An old street in Takayama:

Of all the weird things we were fed, this is possibly one of the weirdest. It was a pot of small, raw, dead fish. Note the eyes are clearly visible:

More vending machine fun, this time with beer. We tried Yebisu dark beer first, which tasted really quite malty:

And the light beer, which tasted of not much:

Download all photos in high res (over 200mb total)

Next: Japan Trip, Part 4 – Shirakawago

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One Response to Japan Trip, Part 3 – Takayama

  1. SalAH says:

    well i dunno if uve got any comments yet but i tell you i LOVE your blog…its damn interesting and its funny:Dkeep it up …im still going through everything….ciao!

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