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September 6th 2014
Published: September 23rd 2014
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Up at the crack of dawn and we made our way across to the airport. We were staying in a hotel near, so it as only a 5 minute drive. We got checked in, because our flight was leaving so early we had our own check-in desks instead of having to use the communal Jeju Air one. The line for security and immigration was huge, why they only have one area open instead of all four, I have no idea. We got through grabbed some food and made our way to the plane. We were about half an hour late taking off, waiting for a slot, Incheon was mad busy, with everyone leaving for the five day holiday. The flight took about an hour and a half, it was a little bit turbulent.

We landed at Chubu airport and made our way by train to Nagoya Station. We found the ticket office and bought our tickets to Takayama, 6,000 yen, yikes! We had about an hour to kill, so we headed off to find some food. None of the restaurants in the station were looking appealing, so we bought some random sticky things and then headed over to the convenience store to buy food for the train. Oh my goodness! What an amazing selection. We bought a tonne of stuff! Salads, dipping veggies with sauce, chocolate flavoured crisps, and other random things.

We headed back to the station to start on our picnic while waiting for our train. We were taking the wide view Hida train to Takayama. The train has special big windows so that you can see the gorgeous countryside as you go by. The journey took about two hours and twenty minutes. It was my first time on a train in Japan, it was very clean and quiet. The carriage was pretty empty, I was surprised as it was a Saturday afternoon. We were deposited at Takayama Station and the hostel was a five minute walk away. We were staying at J Hoppers. We had stayed at their hostel in Osaka last Chuseok and we had really liked them, so opted to stay at their one in Takayama. We got checked in an headed up to our room. We had a traditional style Japanese room, with tatami mats on the floor and futons for bedding. We dumped our stuff and ventured back downstairs.

We stopped
Avacado and Prawn SaladAvacado and Prawn SaladAvacado and Prawn Salad

From the convenience store, the tomato looks a bit dry, but the salad was delish.
off at reception and asked for some advice, we made a tentative plan for our stay in the area. We then headed out to explore Takayama, as this would be our only real chance. The town is so quiet and peaceful. It was mad to think that it was a Saturday, so most places would be heaving with people, but it was so quiet here. We wandered around the town for a bit walking along the main shopping street and down by the river. We went into the local supermarket and were shocked to see that it would close at 6 pm. The river is really pretty and we spent a while, watching the ducks floating by. It would have been nice to go down to the river, but the area was closed off because of the recent flooding. You could still see water on the paths. We walked along the river on both sides and also wandered around some of the backstreets. These were traditional old fashioned styled streets, absolutely gorgeous. It reminded me a lot of Kyoto, but much quieter and free from the hordes of tourists. We wandered into a few shops looking at the stuff on sale. It had started to rain so the others bought an umbrella each. Me, I'm too lazy to carry one.

We had wandered both sides of the river and acquainted ourselves with the nearest convenience stores. The 7 Eleven was well posh and the outside was covered with wooden panels, so that it would blend into its surroundings. It was still raining on and off and we were getting hungry by this point. We had already decided that we were going to splurge on Hida Beef for dinner that evening. Japan is famous for Kobe Beef all around the world, however Hida Beef is meant to taste even better. I haven't had Kobe beef, or maybe we had small portion to share when we were in Kyoto last year, I remember we had one beef dish there. So I was excited to try it, especially as I never eat beef in Korea as it is priced extortionately. We had picked a restaurant called Hida Kitchen as it was one of the best in Takayama. We had scouted out its location earlier.

We headed to the restaurant, Hida Kitchen. It was very fancy inside, in an old fashioned moneyed kind of way. We are used to eating late, but that doesn't seem to be an option here in Takayama, as all the restaurants seem to close early, before nine, even on a Saturday night. I think we headed there between six and seven. The restaurant was really quiet and relaxing, which was nice after our busy day of travel. I was quite shocked at how quiet it actually was there was only one bloke sitting at the bar eating and a couple sitting at a table. It didn't really get any busier either, as only two other couples came in to eat, and we were the last to leave. It really seems like we have come in the off season. We spent a while looking at the menu and trying to decide what we wanted. Hida Beef is strictly graded with a yield score of either A or B and a firmness and texture grade of either 5, 4 or 3 (5 being the best). We all opted for A3, as it was the cheapest, lol, we ain't that rich. You could also pick the type of steak you wanted and the amount. I went for the sirloin steak, 150 grams, and cooked medium rare.

We were served a small salad first that was nice and refreshing with a nice dressing on it. Korea take note, no crappy fruity yogurty dressing. We had been given a choice of either bread or rice with our meals, and the others had opted for bread, which turned up with their salads. Not long after the steaks arrived. The waiter brought them out with my side of rice, and also some steak sauce. He very politely requested that we try some of the steak before adding the sauce. I'm sure that they must get some heathens, who just drown it in steak sauce and don't appreciate it. The steak was served with boiled potatoes and a few vegetables. It was delicious, definitely the best steak I've ever eaten, and the others agreed. It just melted in your mouth. I took my time eating it, and savouring every bite. I didn't really use the steak sauce, which tasted nice, on my steak, instead I used it on my vegetables, as they were a bit plain and boiled potatoes aren't my favourite. I really wish that this meal hadn't ended. We were also given a hot drink after our meal and I chose coffee. The meal and drinks were served on very posh Japanese chinaware, Noritake.

We took a walk after dinner, as it was time for dessert. We headed to a small cafe, Cafe Don, that we had seen earlier. The cafe had been in operation, in Takayama for over 50 years. It was quite small, but so cute. Another thing I love about Japan, not so many chain cafes and restaurants, but a lot more individual ones. We ordered some cakes an ate them. I ordered a cheesecake, it wasn't cheesecake in the western sense, however it was really nice. We sat there for ages, and could have definitely stayed longer.However, it was time to head home because we had an early start in the morning. We stopped off 7-Eleven to buy breakfast and snacks for tomorrow. We also wanted to go to the other convenience, so we got get some of the Hida Beef crisps, that they sold. We got totally lost trying to find it, however we got there in the end. We headed back to the hostel, ready for a good night's sleep.

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