Takayama the high mountain town
Takayama Travel Blog› entry 8 of 34 › view all entries
March 14th, 2008 – by: portia
We had to take 3 different trains today to get to our next destination Takayama. The transfers all went without a glitch and we went through the Japanese Alps seeing snow on the ground and mountains, and then going north to the coast of Sea of Japan where the train ran along the coast for a while, and then we changed the train at Toyama and headed back south into the mountains again, to Takayama.
At Takayama, a town famous for their yearly festivals, one in the spring in April, and another in the fall. They would have the traditional Japanese floats parading down the street and draw a huge crowd. When we got there, it was not festival time but there were many banners, signs announcing the upcoming spring one. We took a taxi in front of the train station and headed for our guesthouse roykan Nagase. It turned out that there was only one other couple staying there tonight, so the hotel told us we could use the public bath as a private one. The roykan had a long history (250 years, 11 generations by the same family who owned it). We had a suite in traditional Japanese style: after entering our suite, we had a hallway going around a small private garden leading to the bath and toilet.
gardens on both sides (but it was too cold to go out, snow was on the ground in the garden!), and a separate bathroom and toilet at the end of the corridor. To the right of the hallway through screen doors (lattice wood with Japanese rice papers on them) were two 8-tatami roomes. The inner one had a low table and two chairs on the tatami (chair had no legs). The two rooms were separated by more paper screen doors, which we kept open. Along the outside of these two rooms was a hallway parallel to the inner hallway with another private garden along the length of the hallway. It was a very lovely place and we felt very happy. After leaving our luggage in the roykan, we used the umbrellas provided to us by the hotel and went out for a walk in the town of Takayama.
It was raining and colder than we thought, but we walked the pretty empty streets and stopped at several stores, one to buy some pastries they called "man-tou" (actually that's the Chinese pronounciation of the words I could read, while the Chinese man-tous were made from white flour and steamed, theirs were more likely baked and had all sorts of stuffings.
We went and visited the Yoshijima Heritage House, (entrance fee 500 Yen per person). The house belonged to a saki brewer and was very interesting to look at. Steep wooden stairs (kind of like ones we saw in Tibet's temples). In the kitchen area, the private well they had made for the water to brew saki. The open beams in the central part of the house were most impressive. Interesting too because they were not sqaured off beams, but had graceful curves.
Most stores closed around 5pm, so we got back to the ryokan and took a nice Japanese style bath before the hotel fed us dinner in our room.
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