Well, they didn't make it.
We bought our plane tickets with Summer Sonic in mind however, we ditched the plan and decided to stop somewhere central Japan and explore. And that's how we ended in Takayama. I told you another story about it here, but yeah, Takayama.
Little town, it was a quiet village and it was too pretty for us. It brought us to a place that gives you that fuzzy feeling. Seriously. It is a rural town that boasts of pretty and succulent tomatoes (oh yes, I did use the word succulent!), amazing breads (ask my sister, she's the bakery connoisseur), beautiful architecture and artistry. As I've said, too bad we came during the summer season. Spring would've been a better time to have gone, to coincide with their Spring Festival and immerse and breathe everything about this place.
Nevertheless, walking around Takayama that time was yes, tiring, but super worth every callous..es.
There are morning markets that opens 6am to 11am, the Miyagawa Morning Market in the north and Jinya Mae Morning Market in the south. Farmers get to sell their abnormally huge harvests there. You can have a sample of their plums, tomatoes, corn and other vegetables. Fresh pickled stuff are also available. And then some would also sell their handicrafts. I bought a Sarubobo doll for around Y250 here as well (much cheaper here than the stores in Old Town).
|Nakabashi Bridge, also known as 'that Red Bridge' for tourists. This is one of the popular bridges used during the festivals. The colorful floats pass by here and it was a shame we didn't get to experience that - there's a next time for it though.|
|So this is where they store one of the many floats that goes around during the festival.|
|I assume this serves a holy purpose for the float right across it.|
|Tourists/travelers can rent bikes to go around town. Rental can be for a few minutes to your duration of|
stay in Takayama. Bike rentals are easily found in the surrounding areas.
|A corner at the Old Town.|
|One of the interesting craft stores in Takayama. This particular one is found when you are making your way to|
Hida Folk Village from the Old Town down the road.
|We stumbled upon a cemetery while making our way to the temples on the northeastern area.|
|My tour buddy.|
|Sarubobo dolls are supposed to be monkeys but for our lovely auntie, they are Japanese|
Teddy Bears. Haha. Kawaii!
The food is definitely so good in Takayama most likely because the food source is pretty close by - so whatever is put in front of you, guaranteed fresh, man. While hanging out with our local friend, whom we met in the hostel we were staying at, she would tell us to look out for Japanese establishments with "JA" on them, it means high quality - be it food or any products sold. So one night she bought us to a yakiniku place, get ready to spend anywhere from Y900++ to Y3000 or more if you really want to have the precious slices of Hida Beef! Good thing we were with a local and we had a go signal that even the Y900 is already good enough.
Also we found this soba place she vetted for. Handmade soba would sell so fast that's why we had to be there before the lunch rush!
|Clockwise from left: Auntie selling sticky rice balls for Y70, Hida-Beef-Yaki Y300, instead of using tako (octopus) |
they have beef!, and breads from Blue Penguin Bakery (price range is from Y100 to Y200+)
|This pumpkin pudding from Le Midi is zee bomb. Should be around Y350-400 per bottle.|
|Ah the Mackintosh Tearoom. This is the museum cafe atop the hill. The view is great and the tomato sauce is delish.|
Fresh, I tell you. The dessert sampler was okay though, I had better breads from the town.
If you are a culture junkie, I highly recommend this place. My photos don't give justice to what Takayama can offer. They have old towns, old houses, rich traditions, Hida Beef, museums, shrines after shrines after shrines, temples after temples after temples, bridges after bridges after bridges.
For such a small place, it is packed. Artists and writers would definitely fall in love with the place for the immense inspiration provided. I would've stayed here for months, or at least enough time where you can finish a novel. Pretty town, I tell ya.
How to get here?
If you have the JR pass, should be about 4hr train ride from Tokyo. However we took the bus from Shinjuku and the ride was around 4.5-5hrs, cost us about Y6,690/pax (Nohi Bus). I didn't mind the long ride at all because the sights on the way to Hida Takayaman was awesome. You'd be passing by rivers, dams, towns and a lot of tunnels.
And during this ride, I found out... the Japanese people love their tunnels.