After Tokyo the next stops that saw us on this trip to Japan were Takayama and Shirakawago respectively a town and a village in the Japanese Alps both unforgettable.
The two nights in Takayama we spent in a typical ryokan (B&B like) named Sumiyoshi. The welcome of the owners is really warm, it feels like going to friends' house, the location is fantastic, this is a traditional Japanese house with sliding rice paper walls, river view, onsen in the house, breakfast japoneses, futon beds,… but also attached cold late winter!! Traditional houses are beautiful, but heating is a problem!
- Japanese breakfast
The charming historic center of the country, protected as an area to be preserved, is a neighborhood of typical traditional two-storey houses in wood and rice paper (and today glass) that houses producers and retailers of sake, miso, ceramics and other handicrafts, tea houses and some historic houses that you can visit. Walking through these streets has its charm with any weather conditions, in two days we had practically all of them, clouds, rain, cold, snow and sun!
Takayama also offers numerous seasonal and non-seasonal activities:
– Miyagawa morning market is held every morning along the river you can taste all the typical foods, here is this beautiful custom of making available to customers tastings of all the strangest things that are on sale, from the millions of types of biscuits stuffed with bean paste, to pickled vegetables typical of Japanese breakfasts, to seaweed etc..
Do not forget to taste the takoyaki (burnt octopus meatballs!), the real fuji apples (there is a fragrant stall that in addition to selling them makes them taste), the fish-shaped biscuits filled with cream, apple or chocolate and if you miss a good Italian coffee taste what a couple of guys do, always at the market along the river, served in a bisquit cup, delicious.
–Higashiyama walking course, a path on the hills to discover the Buddhist and Shinto temples and their cemeteries, fascinating in all seasons, the route then ends with a walk to Shiroyama Park to admire the colors of the seasons (a practice particularly dear to the Japanese!) or in our case the snow …
– Kitayama walking couse, ideal in spring and autumn, to discover flowers or autumn colors and the Takayama floats festival.
Both routes and in general all things of interest, are well marked both on the map of the city (which is found everywhere and in all languages) and along the way! Everything always very easy to test of svampiti!
Takayama is also a spa town where, having time, it would be worth staying a few more days to relax a little and enjoy its tranquility without haste. The city turns comfortably on foot and there are great culinary offerings try the Japanese cuisine revisited at the Sakurajaya bistro
Or the traditional (and fun) cuisine of Suzoya where they bring you braziers to cook your meat and of course they explain to you what exactly you need to do step by step! excellent meat in miso sauce!
It was also very easy, during the day of transfer from Takayama to Kanazawa, to stop in Shirakawago for a few hours to discover this village with extravagant gassho-zukuri thatched roof houses. It was in fact enough to buy, the day before, two tickets, one from Takayama to Shirakawago and one from Shirakawago to Kanazawa, keeping us 4 hours of interval between the two buses to visit the country (in hindsight even just 3 are enough). Your luggage can be put in lockers that are found everywhere here in Japan and you are free to take a nice walk in the mountains!!!
if you are planning your trip to Japan I recommend you to absolutely plan a stop in Takayama and Shirakawago will certainly be a delightful break from the chaos of the metropolis!