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Published: March 10th 2010
Another long travel day involving a number of train changes to get to Gero, which is about a 45 minute train ride south of Takayama. We are staying here due to the festival in Takayama. We are in a very traditional ryokan - no heated toilet seat in sight...in fact, no toilet seat in sight😊. After finally arriving we all hopped in the onsen and then dressed up in traditional Japanese yukata for a very traditional Japanese meal - did you not hear my knees creaking from there?
The dinner was served at low tables while we sat on cushions, and consisted of lots of raw tuna and fish eggs, the local mountain veggies and some Hida beef cooked in miso right at your tray. I just may come back as a Hida cow in my next life - they are fed beer and massaged a few times a day, and it is desirable to be "well marbled". The price reflects the special treatment too.
The next day we headed to Takayama to see the floats blessed by the priests. Actually, the festival starts in March but for the first six (6!) weeks they decide which 7 of the
Note the knots in the rope for better traction
floats will be in the festival (yes, it is run by men). These floats are national treasures and many many years old. Outside of the festival, they are stored in garages built throughout the city to ensure their safety.
Also visited the morning market, where the folk come from their villages to sell their produce and wares. Then just wandered this very old village until the procession of the priests around 3*30. The parade of floats is a night parade which started a little after 6:30 pm - impressive and caught a few pics for you to see. Hard to tell, but there are youngsters and young priests on the floats beating drums etc. And all floats are pulled by hand. Headed back to Gero and our ryokan after a full 12 hour day - and the high only reached 7 degrees! so we were all ready for an onsen. Next morning visited Hida village which I found quite touristy but interesting as a display of how the folks in this part of the world used to live. 1*30 back to the ryokan and on to the Shinkansen for the final long trip - this one to Hiroshima.
Pics will have to follow - new computer and not sure how to upload again (did I mention that the software is in Japanese? which makes it a little tough to choose the right button).
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Beata and Tomek
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