29 April 2009

Tuckered out in Takayama

From yesterday...

As I type this Charlton and I are hanging out in our Yakutas provided by our little budget Minshuku, ours is more like a b&b. We got to Takayama late yesterday afternoon as the JR was delayed in the hills of Japan for three hours. So when we got to Takayama the town had rolled up its sidewalks. We trekked out to our place which is like three doors down from a gorgeous shrine. Once we dropped off our bags we headed out to find some grub, and had a hard time finding anything. We finally found a little hole in the wall noodle shop where the locals had packed. We both got huge bowls of yakisoba and some pot stickers to split, because you know being on a train all day can make you hungry. We got back to our place and were freezing! We settled in early hoping to get a jump on the city today since we had missed precious time sitting on the train.

We tackled the city bright and early today. There is a morning market not too far from where we are staying so we went straight there to get some breakfast and to see some of the local handicrafts. Charlton couldn’t pass up the region’s delicacy of Hida beef, and got a beef and dumpling skewer and a marshmallow like thing for breakfast, while I got an apple from a local vendor and supplemented with a pastry from the convenience store.

We then made our way to the other side of town, getting a little lost along the way (a common theme of our today) and went to the Hida Folk Village, basically a Williamsburg for old time Japan. They didn’t have the people dressed up in costume, but it was interesting to see the old buildings and such. Then we made our way back to the main part of town and got lunch at Ebisu (recommended by the tourist info guy), a soba restaurant that has been in business since 1890s (yum!) Then we went on the Higashiyama shrine walking trail. We got to see some beautiful shrines, and had some great views of the city. However, toward the end we went a little off course and ended up in the middle of some farms and had to ask for directions (again!) All we had left of the walk was to see Takayama castle, and we really had to work for it! It was at the top of a huge hill and took us forever to get there. Was definitely worth it though, and we celebrated with green tea ice creams at the bottom. From there we went and walked down the streets of old private houses and then went to a park on the other side of town (up another huge hill!) We were both pretty exhausted at this point so we came back to our place and took a little nap before heading to the convenience store to pick up some dinner.

Finished off the long day by using the public bath downstairs from our room, was really nice to relax there and come back to our warm room (swear it’s the only heated room in the house!) We are all packed up for tomorrow as our train for Kyoto leaves at 6:50, and we are about a 30 minute walk to the station. Hopefully we will have better luck with the trains tomorrow. We have really liked it here, but I think we are happy to get to a little bigger city for a bit.
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