a great first sight in town!
I first went to Takayama in 1999 I think on my first trip to Japan with Intrepid. It is picture postcard perfect for a tourist town in all its mini-Kyoto historical houses etc. It was definitely worth visiting again as a stopover on the way to the shinkansen mayhem which awaits me no doubt on the southern coast.
The minshuku (guesthouse) I had chosen was close enough to the station that I could find it quite easily. It was not exactly cheap at almost $90 but I think that is Takayama tourist prices and it was not necessarily the flashest place. It had tatami floor mats throughout and in a way what other way could you do Takayama really – even if there is a Best Western there (which was actually likely slightly cheaper) and quite a few Western style hotels. It was a 3 level place, my tatami room on the 2nd
floor over the road – which was quite busy so far from dead quiet. Unfortunately the gents toilet and bathroom was downstairs – annoying when you have to go to the loo in the night. The hot bath was fairly compact and even though you could fit
Takayama temple in Higashiyama
there are many along this side of the river
in 3 blokes in it, they would have to be fairly good friends shall we say!
I went out for a wander over the 2 river bridges to the Higashiyama temple area to the east where under the wooded hills there is just one temple after another. And I actually found the place we stayed with Intrepid all those years ago, largely due to its location on a corner in the road. I got a brochure and would stay there in preference to the minshuku I stayed (price dependent of course) as it was the nicest traditional place we stayed on that trip.
Dinner I had already planned at the French bistro more or less just around the corner. 4 courses for $45 was maybe not as far-reaching as the $100 for about 7 courses but it was still pretty nice. Some marinated red squid and salad, then a duck terrine, then a green vegetable soupe du jour. Then calf shoulder with grain mustard sauce. And a salted caramel crème brulee (the best and most reliable dessert to have anywhere – does not have messed up options like tiramisu). Enjoyed with a half bottle of Chateua Lanessan 2007
from the Haut Medoc ($36) – they could not find the Gigondas on the wine list.
Spent too much time “planning” where I would stay in Kyoto near the station – actually most places – it being Friday/Sat. nites, were already sold out. Decided I will use that as a base to rocket up and down the coast rather than having to drag my bag around for 1 night. In an hour you can go about 250km in a shinkansen so it really opens your options.
7 June in Takayama – had enough time to finally haul myself out of bed (on the tatami floor of course tho!) to do shower thing and then check out at 10 at the same time as two Irish and English girls – who I naturally also saw on the later train. Went to the station to get my Nagoya/Kyoto tickets. Bought a couple of stamps at the PO as on the way – actually bought 2 more postcards with stamps later as they are like hens teeth to find here. Then down to the Takayama-jinja, which was the govt HQ for taxes and all that in feudal and later times, when
taxes on rice harvests etc were paid to the shogun. Increases in taxes resulted in some serious peasant riots in the 1770’s it seems. From there a wander thru the old historic houses area of San Machi, which is now simply historic “shops” selling the usual food souvenirs and other stuff that Japanese buy to take home. Then enough time for some Hida beef cooked rare on a bowl of rice with a raw egg to crack and mix in. Then to the station and that was Takayama that was (for this trip anyway).
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