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Published: February 28th 2008
Japan - Mountains
02/24/08 - 02/26/08
We wanted to end our stay in Japan by visiting some of its mountainous regions. First stop was Kanazawa. The station at Kanazawa is gorgeous with a glass dome and intricate wooden support structures. Also, there is a clock made from a water fountain that was novel. It was snowing when we arrived and they had these sprinklers activated all over the streets, apparently to keep the roads from freezing over. I'm not sure what comes out of the sprinklers but I doubt that it's water (since that would freeze into ice, right?).
There is a renound garden (one of the top three in Japan) in Kanazawa called Kenroku-en. Since it was snowing, it made for some scenice snow capped landscapes. The other main attraction in Kanazawa is its castle (Kanazawa-jo).
After Kanazawa we jumped on the train for Takayama, which is located at the base of the Japan Alps. The train ride to Takayama was absolutely amazing with snow capped scenery of the mountainside throughout. And we had first class seats on the Shinkansen so our outward facing windows were enormous! Takayama is a quaint little mountain town that is
known for its folk village with authentic rustic homes. It is also famous for having 8 breweries of one of Hannah's favorite beverages... SAKE!!! The best recipe for sake is: rice, quality water, and cold temperatures. Takayama has all three.
Our lodging in Takayama was a very affordable (read: cheap) temple that was converted to an inn. I guess the reason it was so affordable was that there wasn't any heating in the main areas of the inn... and the temperatures were well below freezing (down to -10 C)!! Luckily there was a small heater in our room and our shared toilet had a heated seat cover!! We stayed warm by bundling up and drinking the sake that we had purhased earlier in the day.
Takayama is also known for its delicious meat (from the Hida district). One of the best meals I had was thinly sliced meat that was cooked over a magnolia leaf (which gave it an amazing smoky flavor) with miso paste. Yum! This rivaled the meat from Kobe for sure!
The folk village of Takayama had homes and buildings that were built to withstand the harshest winter conditions. It was fiting then that
we were actually experiencing such harsh conditions while viewing the village!! Another example of doing it like the locals!! (Caveat: there weren't really any locals, or tourists for that matter, visiting the folk village since it was soooo cold!!)
Next stop... Bangkok!!
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