Takayama Tourists

Seru Bobo And Chillies
Seru Bobo And Chillies

Yesterday we travelled by coach across the winding mountain pass from Matsumoto to Takayama. It’s a delightful little town high in the Japanese Alps, which has remained largely unchanged for centuries due it its isolation from the rest of Japan.

After unpacking our bags in another traditional lodging house, we took a walk along the Miyagawa river and into town. The local mascot is called Seru Bobo – which means Little Monkey – and the cheeky chappy appears everywhere.

We found a couple of places where we could sample some of the local Sake, and spent a very enjoyable hour or so comparing the various vintages. They drink it out of neat little wooden boxes, with dried squid as a tasty accompanying snack.

Sake In A Box
Sake In A Box
Sake Tasting
Sake Tasting

Several of my tour group were happy to sit and sample even more options, but I set off to the old Administration building to have a look at the traditional architecture, before heading back to the lodging house for our amazing Japanese feast! You can see it in more detail in the picture I made for Day #1711.

Dressed For Dinner
Dressed For Dinner

Many tall tales were told in the sitting room later, with our guide Tom regaling us with stories from his journey across Japan by bicycle. What a great end to our first day in Takayama!

Miyagawa Morning Market
Miyagawa Morning Market

However, we spent two nights in the town, so early next morning some of us went to the local market, held along the banks of the river, which always provides some good photo opportunities. There were loads of different foods to sample, the atmosphere was vibrant and the air was full of unfamiliar smells. Despite not having any Japanese skills, somehow we managed to purchase a few things and try out some of the local delicacies.

Thatched Corner
Thatched Corner

We met up in the town a little later for a lift to the Hida No Sato Folk Village, which perches in the hills surrounding the town. It’s a living museum with old wooden houses depicting traditional  living styles, containing some very interesting exhibits. The houses were amazingly cool and refreshing inside – which was a welcome respite from the humidity and 30+°C heat outdoors! The lift back into town was also very welcome.

The afternoon was free to explore on our own. I ate my sushi picnic in the grounds of a local temple and then decided to climb another nearby hill to look for a geocache. I was VERY hot by the time I reached the top. Thankfully, I found the cache, and another attractive temple at Shōren-ji, where I made my picture for Day #1712. Unfortunately, the big biting midgies also found me, so I soon descended and took refuge in a tiny little tea house – staffed by a wizened old lady. For a while, I was the only customer. But we got along fine, and the refreshing tea helped me regroup for the rest of the trek back to the lodging house.

Tiny Local Tea House
Tiny Local Tea House

After a brief rest, our guide Tom took us for an amazing burger at a local restaurant in the town. The Hida region is famous for its beef, and after so much traditional Japanese fare, it made a nice change to indulge in a Western-style meal. We dodged a deluge on the way back and fell asleep almost immediately on our futons. It was a very tiring day, but hugely enjoyable.

See the rest of my images from Takayama:

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