tokyo life

Archive for the 'Takayama' Category

May 5: The perfect ending

All’s well that ends well, and even better if it involves chiffon cakes.

This unassuming shop Chiffon serves the best chiffon cake ever!

Super sweet Chiffon lady.

Last photos from Takayama.

The perfect present for the road, from the Chiffon lady…

We’ll be back Takayama!

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May 5: Walking course

We decided to do a quick walking course before we left town.

Was that baby boar???

Lots of temples.

Ran into a local matsuri event.

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May 5: Portraits

In front a temple wall.

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May 5: Takayama morning activities

At first glance Takayama seemed so small and quiet, we were worried there won’t be enough to do during our 3 nights stay. But as with Kanazawa, we ended up having more fun than we ever imagined and left wanting to come back for more some day.

On our last day in Takayama we hit one of the two morning markets.

Breakfast at the local diner.

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May 4: Too much fun at the fabric shop

Continuing with the Tour de japon posts…

The streets of old town Takayama was full of antique and traditional crafts shops which made Eric deliriously happy. One of the most memorable experience was at the Hida Sashiko, an indigo-dye fabric goods shop run by three generations of a family. The fabrics are actually from Kyoto, but the beautiful hand embroidery are done in Takayama.

The one that Eric wanted most was the giant furoshiki fabric that had been hanging in the store for years and years. The owner (understandably) refused to sell. His son, a more business-minded, English-speaking, Michigan-educated young man told us to come back in 15 years time when he is in charge!

The owner’s son and the grandmother invited us to the back where they laid out some beautifully stitched antique indigo fabric work for us.

We asked for her recommendation.

The seamstress fixes the stitching on our furoshiki.

New stitching on old fabric.

The family and the store front. They were lamenting that the Japanese people don’t care about handicraft anymore, but that’s not quite true. The number may be not as much as they would like, but in our travels we were constantly impressed by the pride, care and interest in preserving and developing the traditional crafts in Japan.

Hida Sashiko, Takayama

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May 3: End of the long day

Walk back home.

Something non-Hida-beef for dinner

A funky hairdresser.

Japanese flags were everywhere, because of the holiday.

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May 3: After dusk shopping

Browsing the few antique stores that were open late…

Eric goes for those little soba broth bowls at another store.

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May 3: Takayama streets

Shops close and tourists desert the streets after 5 pm but we still had fun strolling about.

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May 3: Lucky finds

Takayama is an amazingly well preserved old town famous for its crafts, sake and beef. Even though it’s surrounded by mountains and far from big cities, the town is very handsome, well organized and brimming full of Japanese traditional goods for us to salivate over.

This day, as luck would have it, was an outdoor antique market day that’s held once a month. Eric was so happy.

Sitting down for lunch - and the ‘official’ shopping bag of the antique fair.

Our second Hida beef - one straight up, one with miso.

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May 3: New ryokan

After furiously going through the list of ryokans around town, we finally found our room on the 13th try. Once more, a super kind land lady whom we talked to in a mix of simple English and even more simple Japanese.

That was our room right above the entrance.

Ohmachi Ryokan

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May 2: Bussing it

For some reason we had been shy about trying the long distance bus in Japan. Shinkansen was always the default transportation and we never really gave real consideration to riding the bus from city to city. Inspired by the bus schedule posted at the ryokan we stayed at, we decided to give it a try and we instantly became fans no doubt helped by the price.

Eric - are you looking sheepish? is it because you almost missed the bus?

The bus stopped for 10 minutes at the famous thatched roof town of Shirokawa-go, a World Heritage site.

Because we were planning on the fly, and because it was Golden Week, one of the biggest holidays in Japan, it was hard to find a ryokan in Takayama. Luckily, we found Matsui, which was available for the first night. The land lady was so worried for us for the next two nights, she offered to arrange a ‘private house’ for us.

Our room, basic but comfortable.

Ryokan dinner with first of the many famous Hida beefs to come… needless to say, very good.

Matsui Ryokan

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