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August 2nd 2010
Published: August 2nd 2010
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A Glimpse of Olden Day Japan....Takayama

Left Tokyo for Takayama in the afternoon. With the JR pass, we proceeded to book our tickets at the JR counter at Akihabara station. Unfortunately, the train ride to Nagoya is fully booked for the non-smoking reserved seats and we had to make do with the smoking cabin, for fear that there won't be seats for us in the non-smoking unreserved seats. But we regretted this decision the moment we settled in our seats. The journey from Tokyo to Nagoya takes around 2 hours and there was no way we could hold our breath the entire ride. It took us less than 5min to decide that we should look for a non-smoking unreserved seat. After passing through nearly 10 cabins (not before passing through the smoking unreserved cabin, which was so smoky we took a step back when the door was opened), we finally reached the non-smoking unreserved seats and lucky for us, there were empty seats 😊

The journey to Takayama is another train ride away, which took another 2hrs. The first part of the train ride is interestingly in reversed direction; the train is going backwards instead of forward. This train ride is supposed to pass through breathtaking scenery but since it was already dark, there's nothing much to see. I did make a mental note to be awake on our return journey.

After almost 5hrs of sitting in the trains, we finally reached our destination... Takayama. One advice to anyone interested in Takayama, it's nearer to Osaka than Tokyo. Takayama might not have been part of our itinerary should we have known this earlier. But I'm so glad we were here in any case. This place is such a beauty, I simply adore it. And the best thing is that all the attractions are within walking distance.

We were here almost end of April and I had expected to see bare sakura trees, but there were still many sakura blooming, so I was very thrilled to see them. Sakura is really very pretty and they made the scenery much much more beautiful. This is especially so on the river banks.

One highlight in Takayama is the Miyagawa morning market. It is by the river and the shops here cater mainly to tourists. There are many cute souveniers and of course, this includes having their monkey mascot (though it doesn't look like a monkey to me) in all sorts of merchandise. You can try traditional snacks in this market too. At the end of the morning market, you can make a turn and you'll reach the Takayama Festival Floats museum. We didn't go in but inside, floats of the Takayama Spring Festival is on display. There were pictures of the floats outside though.

There are several streets with old japanese styled shops and houses in Takayama. Taking a stroll through them is pleasantly nice. You can imagine how Japan looked like decades back.

Another attraction in this town is the Old government house (Jinya). Part of this building is the actual building from the past while others are newly built.

The last place we went is the Hida Folk Village, which is about 45min walk away. It is a replica of the Shirakawago and since we didn't have time to go to that village, we'll have to make do with the replica. Famed thatched houses from Shirakawago is moved into the Hida Folk Village. It is amazing how people in the past managed to build such huge houses with manual tools.

With that, we spent another 5hrs returning to Tokyo. But I would say the long journey is definitely worth it. I won't mind coming back here again and spend more time. 1 day is just too rush. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who wants to escape city life.

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