Blogs from Gifu, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama April 13th 2015

The spring trip is almost over and it has been full of fun, adventure and laughter as we have explored both well known and little known parts of Honshu. Much of our trip has been in rain- mostly light but some very heavy but nothing seemed to dampen spirits as our troop took everything in their stride. In their own words in (prose or Haiku poetry of 17 syllables) are some samples views: The cherry blossoms. Burst into flower today. Waking our senses. Shinjuku Gyoen National Park Tokyo- A georgeous display of cherry blossoms, a delight o see the japanese people celebrating th ebeauty by painting the scenery, enjoying meeting,friends and family and picnicing under the blossom trees. The lovely families with young children, the peace and tranquillity of the gardens so neat and pristine. Young, ... read more
Boating and blossoms
blossoms at their peak

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Shirakawa-go September 13th 2014

Shirakawa-go is a region in the mountains between Takayama and Kanazawa. Shirakawa-go, and neighbouring Gokayama are UNESCO world heritage sites which are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. The farm houses have very steeply peaked thatched roofs which are said to resemble the hands of monks pressed together in prayer. In winter they can get up to two meters of snow in the region, hence the steeply peaked roofs. We reached Shirakawa-go by bus which took about an hour from Takayama. The trip was spent mostly in tunnels so we didn’t get to see much scenery at all! We arrived at about 11am on a Saturday of a long weekend (the following Monday was a public holiday for ‘respect for the aged’ day). We had booked a room in one of the gassho-zukuri houses which had ... read more
Our room
Gassho-zukuri houses
Gassho-zukuri houses

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama September 12th 2014

We arrived in Takayama about 4 hours after we left Tokyo. We actually got kicked off our first Shinkansen (fast train) as our JR rail pass didn’t cover that train. Kicked off sounds a lot more dramatic than it was; in fact we got numerous apologies from the man checking tickets, a bow and a please change at the next station. Takayama is a town of about 90,000 people to the north west of Tokyo in the mountains. It is famous for its traditional houses which line some of the main streets in the town. Our train was met at the station by a car from our home for the next three nights – a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). We were shown to our tatami mat room by one of the staff who explained how the ... read more
Train from Ngoya to Takayama
Takayama street

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Shirakawa-go September 9th 2014

We were up at the crack of dawn again today! Today was our only chance to see the farmers' market, that happens every morning in Takayama. The market started at 6 am, which was a bit too early for us, but we got there around sevenish and had a good look around. The market is along one side of the river bank. There were quite a few different stalls, selling a variety of stuff, not just fruit and veg, but also artwork and other stuff to entice the tourists. We also found out the reason why all the shops close so early, they are all open at 6 am, to coincide with the market. We wandered around the market, I didn't really buy anything, only this interesting food item, which we tried when we were waiting ... read more
Eggy Marshmallow Thing

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama September 6th 2014

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 ... read more
Miso Donkass on a Stick
Avacado and Prawn Salad
How To Make The Futon

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama » Hida November 15th 2013

It's a bit of an arduous journey to get to Takayama from Tsumago. Both are deep in the mountains of the Gifu prefecture. We had to travel all the way back east to Nagoya and then venture west again on another line again to get to Takayama. The scenery made the troubles worthwhile. Takayama is a bit of a Japanese hillbilly town. If rednecks are in Japan, they live around the hills here. But it is also a town of craftsmanship, history, cooking and Japanese pride. Here is where some of the finest lacquerware is made. And here is where the finest carpenters were sourced to build the temples of Kyoto. We had the chance to visit the Yoshijima House. The owner, a wealthy sake brewer and money lender, commissioned a local carpenter to build a ... read more

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama November 15th 2013

Wat is Takayama een heerlijke stad! Het heeft een overzichtelijke centrum. De hoofdwinkelstraat is niet mooi maar de kwaliteit van de winkels maken dit meer dan goed. Alles wat je hier koopt, of het nu lakwerk, porselein of voedsel is, alles is lokaal gemaakt. Vanwege de regen zijn we uitgebreid aan het winkelen geslagen en hebben heerlijk koffie met appeltaart genuttigd bij Don's coffee. (zie Tripadvisory voor de review over dit koffiehuis.) Na het opklaren van het weer hebben we toch nog een paar tempel bezocht. Deze lagen hoger dan de rest van de stad en nu konden we goed zien hoe de stad omringt is door een hooggebergte. Indrukwekkende bergen. Met besneeuwde toppen. Daarna terug naar de minshuku, weer heerlijk gegeten en gebadderd. Vroeg naar bed want morgen moeten we weer vroeg op.... read more
Het uitzicht van onze kamer
De (verregende) markt
De hoofdwinkelstraat

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama November 14th 2013

Vandaag de meest fantastische treinreis gemaakt van Tsumago naar Takayama. Het sublieme berglandschap is adembenemend. In de trein zelf was het helaas bijna tropisch. Het hoogst bereikbare temperatuur was 24,7 graden. We legden het bijna af, zeker omdat een van de medepassagiers trui en jas aanhield. De eerste kennismaking met Takayama is prettig. Een overzichtelijk centrum met veel prachtige winkeltjes in een mix van lokaal toeristische artikelen en dagelijks levensonderhoud. In welke categorie de tractorwinkel valt ben ik nog niet uit. De historische huizen zijn goed onderhouden. Een van de huizen is een museum die wij van bezocht hebben. In het huis was voor mij de gastvrouw eigenlijk de grootste attractie. Ze bood ons thee aan en eenmaal op haar Engelse praatstoel was ze er niet vanaf te krijgen. Ze vertelde haar verhaal met een sterk ... read more

Asia » Japan » Gifu November 13th 2013

Tsumago and Magome After a long morning of travel from Tokyo involving all scale of train from the Shinkansen to a tiny dodeskaden train run by a slightly wacky engineer talking and gesturing to himself, we ended up in our next destination Tsumago. In this tiny rural mountain village we spent the last two nights in a very traditional ryokan. A little like camping on tatami mats. And there was the temperature difference of about 15 degrees. Here it froze at night. We spent the first afternoon walking around the tiny Tsumago. This was one of the first towns to be at the front of a movement to preserve old historic towns in Japan. Tsumago was one of the villages on the old postal route from Edo (Tokyo). It dates back to the 1600s. Basically a ... read more
Da bears.
Bear Bell

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama June 6th 2013

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 ... read more
Takayama temple in Higashiyama
Takayama temple Higashiyama
my fave drop when in Takayama??

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