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October 8, 2005 – A journey to Hida Takayama, Japan in Asia

Hida Takayama

Left around 10am and took the two-hour bus ride back to Takayama. After checking into another minshuku (not gassho-zukuri style), Minshuku Iwatakan, we went exploring in Takayama. Went in the wrong direction for a while looking for the highlighted sites (actually, it was Rick trying to play tour guide without having any guide references). At least we got to see the suburbs of Takayama, which there really isn't anything much interesting to see. Hardly saw any people milling about too, though maybe because it was a rainy day. Looked like one big empty suburb.

Then it started to rain really hard. So, we decided to head back. Reached the bridge where the minshuku was on the other side of, but then the rain began to lighten. So we decided to head east of Minshuku Iwatakan along the river. I was looking for the site, Sanmachi Suji, and couldn't figure out where it was, but went on exploring anyways.

The rain had stopped luckily, when we wandered into an ancient-looking neighborhood selling street snacks, regional souvenirs, and sake. Walking along, we followed some signs that said 'Old Private Houses.' And lo and behold, we walked right into a very-well preserved, and even more ancient-styled neighborhood. At the entrance was an elderly man dressed in some type of traditional garb. All the buildings were made of some type of dark wood and you can actually smell the oldness. The street had many specialty shops: miso, sake, regional foods, regional crafts, clothing, and so forth.

After traipsing through the whole section of Old Private Houses and giving up on looking for Sanmachi Suji, we started to head back to the minshuku for a bit of rest. Passed and viewed some temples and one of the famous festival floats along the way.

Back at Iwatakan, after I read in my Japan guidebook (Let's Go) and the tourist brochure I picked up at the Takayama Tourist Information booth, I realized that Sanmachi Suji = Old Private Houses! Duh!

A stay at Iwatakan also included a full course dinner and breakfast. Both meals were taken in the restaurant in the minshuku with other guests. They also had regional specialties in both meals: Hida beef, river fish, hoba miso, and mountain vegetables. Oishii deshita!


hida beef sukiyaki (to be cooked)

So far, one thing I really enjoyed besides the meals while staying at a Japanese-style inn was bathtime. Both Yokichi and Minshuku Iwatakan have a separated shower and bathing area. First you scrub all the grittiness you collected during the day off of you, and then you have the option of dipping in a miniature onsen tub next to it. The miniature onsen tub is like a spa or soft-tub, which holds therapeutic hot springs water. Very refreshing – they definitely have the right idea. I so would love this back in the States!

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