Blogs from Takayama, Gifu, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama April 19th 2024

After Hiroshima, my plans were a bit fuzzy, but I headed to Takayama in the Gifu prefecture, to use it as the base for a few places I wanted to visit. Takayama is the largest city by area in Japan, but less populated as it sits in the mountainous Gifu region (Takayama means Tall Mountain). I arrived on the day there was the Spring Takayama Festival (Sanno Matsuri). It is the annual festival of the Hie Shrine to celebrate the arrival of spring, where 11 festival floats (Yatai) are taken through the city. Volunteers gather dressed up in traditional Japanese attire including Kamishimo (traditional Edo period Samurai outfits). Accompanying the procession are Shishimai (lion dance) performers, and the lively, reverberating gongs of Tokeiraku performers, who wear traditional robes decorated with the vibrant image of spirited fighting ... read more

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama May 12th 2019

We left our Tokyo hotel at 9 am and got the free shuttle to Shinagawa station where we caught the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya. The ticketing system is quite something else. You put all your tickets (in this case two) into the machine together and one gets stamped and they both get returned to you. The bullet train journey was 1 hour 37 minutes and it was exactly on time. At Nagoya we put all three tickets into the machine and it spewed out the two that we needed to continue on the scenic railway to Takayama. . The scenic railway began by following the Aichi route. On the way we passed Inuyama Castle. This is said to be the oldest castle in Japan. Building commenced in 1440 and was finished in 1537. For some ... read more
potholes in river ravine
Kosher Japanese Sake
old Takayama wooden shops

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama July 13th 2018

It was a beautiful, but hot day in Takayama. After breakfast, we wandered around the old town. There were two markets to see- one very small, local produce and the other, more touristy and commercial products. We prioritised these first as they were only on in the morning. We sampled Taiyaki, a fish- shaped sweet snack, cooked from a batter and filled with various fillings (we tried the chocolate, custard and cheese). They were tasty. We also tried so many more samples of sugar coated peanuts, in more flavours than imaginable. We bought some as a gift of the plum wine ones (our favourite). I bought some lovely handbags, cloth, sweets, snack, liqueur, sake and more for gifts for people at home. We had a lovely day, meandering around the old town. It was a beautiful ... read more
Takayama, Japan
Takayama, Japan
Takayama, Japan

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama July 12th 2018

The day began with a final onsen and special farewell breakfast at the ryokan. We awoke to rain which followed us all the way down from the ryokan to the station in Gora...typical. Then we began the day of train travel, firstly from Gora to Odawara on the Tozan Railway. This was followed by a Shinkansen journey from Odawara to Nagoya. Before getting on our bullet train we were able to see just how fast the limited express Shinkansen train was going as three of them flew through Nagoya station. The old expression of blink and you will miss it was true in this situation...Fi was able to capture it on video which lasted all of 5 seconds or so. We were supposed to catch a further express train up to Takayama however the recent rains ... read more
Takayama delights

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama July 6th 2018

There are days that you look back on and wonder how things turned out the way that they did. Today was one of those days. We began with a simple plan - catch the train to Toyama, transfer to the fast train to Tokyo, catch the plane home and we're done. The plan was so simple we decided to go for a wander to the market to see if there was anything we couldn't live without. Turns out there were some shops that we hadn't visited yet and some things that we absolutely needed to get before coming home again so it was a productive trip. From there is was back to the Ryoken to finish packing and a quick taxi to the train station and everything is going according to plan. It was at this ... read more

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama April 9th 2018

A series of mountain towns give a flavour of smaller-town Japan. Our first stop is at Matsumoto, as we’re told the castle is worth a stop but the town has little else to capture you. We find ourselves charmed. The bus and train stations converge on the main city square, which create s hub for narrow, chararacter-filled streets with odd turns and bends. A colourful variety of shops, from musical instruments to bakeries to stationery made window-shopping fun. We pop into a coffee shop and I’m immediately drawn to a small display of fanciful post-cards, with playful scenes of children and cats - I pick out a few for our grand girls, only to find that the artist is the young woman serving us our kohi. We bought more and she signed them all for us. ... read more
Matsumoto castle
Yuki and her artwork
Festival float

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama October 9th 2017

Hello my fellow travellers! Today Bárbara and me left quite early to have as much time as possible in Takayama before we had to return to Shizuoka. First we took the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya where we switched to an express train bound for Takayama. When Junko first asked me to go to Takayama with Bárbara I read up a bit about the city since I didn't really know much about it beforehand. I learned that the Takayama Festival (Takayama Matsuri), which is the third largest festival in Japan, is held here at this time so that's why I switched my plans around to allow for this excursion. However, Junko's and Bárbara's plan for this trip was for us to go to Shirokawa-go to see the historical villages spread out across that area. However, because ... read more
Hida Folk Village
Praying to Buddha
Former House of the Hozumi Family

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama April 3rd 2017

We left Tokyo on the Shinkanzen (high-speed train), heading to the west coast over the mountains that extend the length of Honshu, the main island. Within 60 minutes of Tokyo, we were in the “Alps” and passing ski resorts, still in business. The west coast of Japan gets “lake effect” snow from the Sea of Japan and cold winds that blow from Korea. Before we started our trip, we’d sent a package of cool-weather clothes to our Tokyo hotel via DHL. (Another long story …) Kanazawa was our first western city, and it quickly became clear that cool-weather clothes were not going to do it. I bought a Chinese jacket with a bright plush lining, and Tom, after buying a vest in Tokyo, gave up and bought a Mont-Bell 800 pound fill jacket (with hood!) at ... read more
Bedroom at our Ryokan
Where the bed goes
Ryokan Breakfast

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama March 23rd 2017

Wednesday 22nd March We had some time to kill before checking out of our little home so we visited Kyoto Towers, just around the corner. This is Kyoto's tallest structure, standing 131 metres tall with an observation deck at 100 metres. It was built in 1964 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics, on top of another building and from here were views all over Kyoto. It was quite clear when we were up there but still the cloud and smog did affect the distance one could see. From the viewing area the size of the train terminal could really be appreciated. After being up there for about 15 minutes Rags could feel movement in the building, probably due to wind. Even though he knew this, he couldn't get the thought of an earthquake out of his ... read more
Takayama market

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama May 16th 2016

Takayama to Norikoura What a day? It is surprising how a day can change so dramatically. We set off from town with a bit of cloud, which soon turned into a clear sky and getting warmer as we travelled up the quiet road with a hillside on our left with houses having well manicured gardens and lovely shaped trees. On our right were small tractors preparing the ground ready for rice planting. All too soon we were on the main road and climbing into the hills. Our first stop was at a small Tofu factory for our morning break. We had coffee, nuts, oranges and of course some delicious warm fried Tofu. Onward and upwards we pedalled for what seemed forever past snow ploughs and snow blowers, which was an ominous sight. I was nearly dead ... read more
Snow blower
Snow line
Mt. Norikoura

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