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Published: March 19th 2009
The next morning I had a spa in the Onsen (opting for the indoor one due to my cold) the outdoor one would have been an experience with all the snow around. Having a cold in Japan was a bit difficult as culturally blowing your nose is not polite. You sort of have to go to a corner or hide behind you hand. Many Japanese wear face masks when they are unwell to prevent spreading germs I think.
Then a change of plans was made as the sun was shining and our leader Tatsuya had seen that Mt Fuji was visible on the internet. So we delayed our leaving and jumped on a bus to a different viewing area. It was well worth the trip. I thought that we would only see Mt Fuji from afar but it was really close and is breathtaking.
It was a long days travel from here to Takayama. Bus, shinkansen and local train until we arrived at our next ryokan (Asunaro) which had as it’s front entrance a 120 year old house. It was a special place where we were treated to two dinners (or should I say feasts) and
two Japanese breakfasts only slightly smaller than the dinner).
We visited an area where old style homes were rescued from being flooded by damns - different styles based on the various Hida regions. Set in front of a small lake and still with snow it was a lovely spot.
Takayama has a special doll that has no face as it is said to reflect your own mind/heart, called Sarubobo. Some of us were able to have a lesson in making the doll, a lot of fun.
The area is also known for it’s beef which is said to be a class above wagyu! The first western style meal was had here in a small hamburger shop that you had to walk through another shop to get to. The beef certainly didn’t disappoint.
Takayama has a morning market and old town area where you can taste sake, or admire the paper and ponder over the different foodstuffs.
A visit to an old government building in Takayama gave insight into life in Japan before the modern era. It was built in 1615 and because Takayama was rich in resources such as forests and minerals was ruled directly
from the Tokyo government.
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