Hello again! We had such a great sleep tonight and we were totally ready to start our day with a superb breakfast.
The hotel provided not only a nurse style nightwear for free (will add a picture soon), but also a typical Asian breakfast. We were fooled by the idea that the hotel had a continental breakfast, so we were ready for croissants and fruit. Instead, we arrived in the hall and, after being welcomed repeatedly by the staff by the now familiar “irasshaimase”, they served us Miso soup and rice with fish. The complete menu consisted of rice with seaweed and close-to-embryo formed fished, tofu with more seaweed, pickled veggies and miso soup with seaweed.
We are in Japan, we have to accept the fact that sweets aren’t part of the typical breakfast! Antonio was so so so happy about the meal that he held a grudge for a mere hour, until we reached the station and got some pastry covered in gold leaves, a speciality of Kanazawa, and a coffee from Starbucks.
We had to spend one and a half hour in the station, so we reserved the seats for the tomorrow shinkansen and arranged some lunch (we bought some rich bento for around 1500¥ ~ 13€ for both).
The bus for Shirakawa-go was not-surprisingly in time, and by the time of expected departure all the passengers were on board and their luggage meticulously ordered in the bus trunk. As the clock of the bus switched from 11:09 to 11:10, the driver turned on the engine and we departed. Perfection. (we had to film that, darn).
The bus trip lasted around 1 hour and entertained us (especially Antonio) with plenty of nice landscapes, ranging from rice fields to snowy mountains. We also have to get used to the driving direction here in Japan, the whole trip felt so strange!
Shirakawa-go is located in a valley, surrounded by Alps like mountains covered in snow. The feeling, coming from cities with spring-ish temperatures, was to step in a 18th century’s village in the end of Autumn.
The houses here are shaped as praying hands with a thick roof made of straw. The shape is due the necessity of standing the huge amount of snow that falls in this region in winter.
As we got off the bus we decided to climb our way to the viewpoint, a 15 minutes walk uphill with the backpacks on our shoulders.
The struggle was totally worth! The view from up the hill was breathing for both the village below and the surrounding mountains covered in snow.
Hungry, we decided it was time to consume our well deserved meal. We choose a panoramic place were other people were taking pictures, to sit down and eat, but a guy, probably working in the local cafeteria, came to us telling that we could not eat there.
Other people around us were chewing what looked like food, but he didn’t hear any reason. Jerk. We had to move and eat somewhere else. Luckily, that didn’t mine our appetite.
With our bellies full, we descended to the village. Going downhill was much easier and took almost half the time.
On the side of all the roads in the village, runs a canal collecting the water coming down from the mountains. What surprised us was the fact that despite the water was cold, the canals were packed with fishes.
The canals are also used to provide water for the paddies (rice fields) that are everywhere in the village.
Walking among the houses we found some of the scarecrows used in the paddies. Sara decided to see if she could start a carrier as one of them. I think she’s not bad at all…
Many of the houses in Shirakawa-go can be visited paying a small admission fee of 300yen (~3 euro). We decided to visit one which was set as a museum.
Inside we followed a path explaining the rice harvesting procedure and the process of making Shirakawa-go building’s straw roof. There was also a room for the tea ceremony and a connection corridor with the close by temple.
The last thing we wanted to visit before leaving for Takayama was a temple, but it was closed.
As soon as we jumped on the bus, Antonio fell asleep again, together with most of the passenger. Thanks for the company…
We arrived in Takayama that the sun was still up, so we run to our sleeping place to leave the backpacks and went visiting the old town.
The old town extends between the Miyagawa river and a smaller one that merged with it. Along the river there are marvellous Sakuras still in blossom. We took the chance to take more pictures.
In the district of Kamininomachi, we visited the main street packed with tourists walking in and out the numerous old shops. Also here, on the side of the road was running a water canal with water so clean you could drink it.
Tired of all the mess, we aimed for the northern part of the city, where all the temples and shrines are located.
We liked this area more than the old town: torii, gardens, temples and graves (yes, there are also cemeteries), were all well kept.
Except for another guy walking his dog, we were the only ones walking there. So quiet…
We ventured in a cemetery in a forest and found a dog/frog/something statue, watching over the graves.
Tired and hungry we decided to walk to a restaurant suggested by a girl we met at the local tourist information center.
On the way we saw more Sakura trees in blossom. Such an amazing view…
The table had a grill in the middle. The waitress brought the meat raw and we had to cook it by ourself.
3000kcal later, we were able to leave the restaurant and walk home. But we didn’t go too far that we walked into another beautiful Sakura. We just couldn’t pass by without taking a picture.
Our place was a Ryokan, sporting a private onsen. We then decided to take advantage of this and have our hot spring experience. Unfortunately no photos are allowed inside, but trust me when say I wish I could do this everyday!
We were also given a yukata to wear during the night and for tomorrow breakfast.
Time to sleep now. Tomorrow’s breakfast is at 7 o clock.
Good night everyone.
See you at the next post!