Blog: Destination – Japan (Takayama/Shirakawago) by Leon Matigian
The best part of Takayama is that it can be easily explored on foot. It is surrounded by mountains and Takayama has its own architecture, food and crafts. We admired the beautifully crafted traditional merchant homes in the elegant historic district with homes of classical design. We went to the lively city markets in a picturesque setting along the river with cloth-covered stalls searching for bargains. We spent a fair bit of time exploring the many shops and Sake breweries within the three narrow streets Takayama is famous for.
We visited the Takayama Festival Floats exhibition hall displaying many multi-tiered structures used by the locals during the festival. We also went to the Hida Folk Village, which featured many traditional houses and buildings from throughout the region. We got to know how people lived together all those years ago and how they survived through the colder season. And for something completely different we attended the Japanese puppet show and saw the mechanical KARAKURI NINGYO show at the KARAKURI museum.
We were feeling very hungry after a long sightseeing day when we discover this very tiny little shop, which we decided to try. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. These 2 ladies (84 and 90 years young, and still working) were just gorgeous and they kept feeding us with most delicious Yomogi Mochi (rice cakes with Yomogi herb). We spoke English and they spoke Japanese and we laughed our heads off as they kept feeding us. Oh, they were so, so wonderful and after spending a bit of time with them they brought out their photo albums from many years ago to show us how they lived and went to school together. It would have to be our best day in Japan.
Shirakawa-go is a very picturesque part of Japan and a photographers heaven. I could easily say that it was one of the highlights of our trip. It has thatched roof farmhouses, paddies surrounded with flower beds, fast running river and pine covered mountains. Unfortunately it was raining when we got there but we loved it for its charm and beauty. I can still taste the home made noodles we ate at one of the restaurants and the hot miso soup we drank to keep warm.
All images by Leon Matigian. All rights reserved.
About Travellers Blog
Travellers Blog entries are submitted by travellers communicating their travel experiences in Japan and are published ‘as is’. Opinions written do not necessarily reflect those of JNTO. If you wish to submit a blog, please submit an enquiry through the contact us page.