From the previous episode, we have spent the night in Minshuku housing style at Grandma Yoshiro
The warm bed at Grandma Yoshiro makes my night at shirakawago a restful night until the morning time comes. The atmosphere during the morning time with still don't have any tourists is quite peaceful.
This atmosphere makes me feel like it is not Golden Week as it is very calm and peaceful here or it might be because we are turning back time to the past right now.
Grandma Yoshiro's house during the morning time.
My friends are all still peacefully sleeping and I am just wandering around by myself.
Shirakawago Village is a pleasant farmer village that located in the valley along Shogawa river and stretched along the ridge from Gifu to Toyama. Moreover, it has been registered as world heritage by UNESCO organization since 1995 as there are Gassho-Zukuri housing style situated. The name of this housing style comes from the word "Gassho", meaning a ritual gesture formed by placing the hand palms together. This unique house style could be distinguishable from the roof of every house that has 60 degrees slope which is similar to a praying hands gesture. Moreover, this special style of the roof would help the snow to flow down easily and prevent the accumulation of snow when it heavily falls.
Furthermore, the house will have about 18 meters length and 10 meters wide which it was said that the structure of the house does not drive any nail and all the other materials is all made out of natural only.
For example, the roof is made out of grass that was planted to be used especially for building the roof, hence, it is strong enough to be able to efficiently support the heavy snow fall during the winter time.
Yesterday, we came in another side which was at the back side that is used only for the car to drive into the village. However, tourists would normally take a bus from Takayama city to here, therefore, when I am walking in the village, it is like I walk in a reverse direction.
Tourists who come from the front side will find this Torii which it is said that it could chase the evil out before entering the village. The building inside that is closed has a Buddha statue inside
There are still some Sakura to see here.
During the morning time, there aren't any tourist bus coming to visit just yet, only 2-3 fishermen do the fishing at the river right now.
The open air atmosphere outside like this, we could relax, wander around and do not have to worry about anyone caught on camera.
The tourist center, shops and Gassho-Zukuri housing style museum.
Shops are still closed.
The entrance way of Gassho-Zukuri style of housing museum which there are many styles of housing to be seen inside.
Walking alone for quite awhile and now I am going to cross the bridge back to walk inside.
If you come by bus, you would have to cross this bridge to go inside.
They said that you should spend the overnight here once to feel the sensation of the traditional farmers lifestyle. There are a lot of accommodations available for service like Grandma Yoshiro's house, however, if you would like to stay more than one night, they would not recommend to stay at the same place as you should change the location to feel the different atmosphere. And as I have booked through the tourist center, I found that there are a lot of cheap to expensive cost accommodation with various of services to choose from.
Fax number: 05769-6-1716
E-mail: [email protected]
They would give us the expense information as below:
budget per person: \8.500 to \10.500 (including tax) to stay at an inn, 2 traditional Japanese meals included
\12.000 and more (including tax) to stay at an hotel, 2 meals included
Together with useful information of various accommodations to choose from as follow:
A. Minshuku (a traditional Japanese farm house)
Budget per person/night: 8.500 yen to 11.000 yen
Bathroom in each room: no
Rooms are separated by: paper doors. No locks, no keys
Number of rooms: 3-5 rooms
Hot spring: no
B. Ryokan (a traditional Japanese hotel)
Budget per person/night: 10.000 yen to 25.000 yen
Bathroom in each room: yes/no
Rooms are separated by: walls
Number of rooms: 5-17 rooms
Hot spring: yes/no
C. Hotel (a western style hotel)
Budget per person/night: 11.000 ~
Bathroom in each room: yes/no
Rooms are separated by: walls
Number of rooms: 31 rooms
Hot spring: yes
After you have read the different kind of accommodations, you then could choose from the list and inform them back which choice you prefer.
Accommodation information: http://www.shirakawa-go.gr.jp/search/?m=1
You could directly tell them the name of the accommodation you choose to stay.
When there are no tourists, Shirakawago Village is just a small warmth peaceful village which make us feel like we are walking in the past.
At this moment people in each house are doing their own daily life activities, there are the sound of cooking with light smoke floating from the house and the chatting sound of the family. And each house would have their own vegetable and rice field as well.
Myozenji Temple, a small temple in the village which is also the community gathering place.
Getting close to the nature like this is something that city people like us yearn for so much.
I wander around the village for quite some time, feeling satisfy in my heart. And time flies as now it's already 7.30am which is the appointed time that Grandma Yoshiro will serve breakfast for us. Hence, I then head straight back as I afraid that others member will wait for me.
And upon I arrive at the dining room, Grandma Yoshiro prepared the breakfast and set it on table for us already.
The breakfast is in Kaiseki style as usual, the menu is different from last night, yet it tastes
delicious as always.The art of Kaiseki food setting style obviously shows the heartfelt attention in every detail of Japanese people.
After we are happily done with the splendid breakfast, it is time for the packing and say goodbye to Grandma Yoshiro now. Even though, we would really like to spend some slow life time here a little longer but we can't as we have a tight planning schedule. Furthermore, it seems like it is going to rain since yesterday, thus we think that it will rain today for sure so we could still not know and predict that where are we going to face the rain.
We say farewell to Grandma Yoshiro and she generously gives us some discount price for the room
and also a box of tissue paper.
When we depart from the accommodation, we go straight up to the viewpoint on the mountain which could watch the whole area of Shirakawago village. If anyone have seen the picture of small houses that cover with the snow like a doll house, then I thing you could imagine the scenery here as it is similar to that.
Walk pass the shop like this before.
Then stop by for buying some souvenirs.
From the village, take a reverse back to the junction and there would be a way up to the hill, not so far.
Follow the sign.
Take only a little while, we are reaching the Shiroyama Viewpoint.
It's the real valley village.
The view below of these little houses, make me stunned for a while like I will stop breathing.
It is like a dream that the picture once we have seen in the poster, website or travel magazine would
appear just in front of us right now.
The village is really beautiful, adorable and full of vitality.
I could hardly believe that this tiny village could maintain its uniqueness for hundreds years now. And I would like to pray for these things to remain as long as possible.
Even though the view that we have seen is just in the same place, yet we are all stunned and seem to think like each other that we would like to stop the time right now as long as possible, even just a few minutes would be worth it.
Our next destination is still ahead of us and the rain seems to be waiting for us as well. Therefore, once we walk down form the mountain, we then set the GPS navigation to the old town Takayama, one of the old towns that the tourist should not miss to visit.
Going down the hill.
From this cross road, take the right side and if you continue straight, it would lead us back to the village.
Let's continue our journey.
Just like we have thought, as we head off from the town awhile then the rain starts to fall down really hard.
Moreover, there are no sign for the rain that it would stop all the way to the entrance of Takayama city.
There are still snow on both sides of the road.
Stop by for something to eat first.
hese are what they show on the display in front of the cuisine.
This is what we have order, a hot dish for a rainy day. Yummy.
When we arrive, it is still not the check-in time just yet at Ayun Takayama Central Hotel (
http://ayun.seishingroup.co.jp/). The accommodation would check-in for us later and ask us to inform them once again during 03.00pm. We choose to stay at this place as it is not far from the old town area, thus, we do not need to drive into the town once again. From the hotel, we could just walk along the main street of the town and wander around the shops along both sides that sell many kind of stuffs. Well, since this city is a tourist destination city so there would be various of things to do the shopping here.
Even 7-11 convenience store is also decorated with wooden battens to go along with the atmosphere.
Keep walking further, you would reach the Hida Kokubunji Temple that has a 1,200 years Ginkgo tree inside.
The highlight of this place would be the three-story pagoda.
It is said that the ginkgo tree, the three-story pagoda and the bell shaped tower which situated in the temple area are all relocated from Takayama Castle.
This is an amulet arch which is considered as the symbol of Takayama, the amulet is called "Surabobo" which is made from stone and it is believed to be a blessing stone statue. The visitors can touch any place in the body that they want themselves to stay healthy. This stone sculpture has a shape like a monkey without a face.
It is an amulet of Japanese people in Hida Takayama, originally it is a doll made by mothers
for their child to bless them with happiness.
There are a welcome sign written in Thai language as well.
Let's go inside and worship the Buddha statue.
After finish praying, we continue wandering around town next.
It surely is a restaurant.
There are shops on both sides of the street.
There are Surabobo for sell everywhere as well.
The space area for keeping all the useful material for the popular Takayama festival.
Snacks are sold along the way.
We go for a walk in the old town area which is an ancient village that is preserved since the Edo period (during 1600-1868 year). It is located on the east side of the Miyakawa river which flows through Takayama city.
There are lot of tourists come to walk and watch the old houses with wooden battens that line connect to each other along both sides at the Sanmachi Street.
Moreover, this area has been declared as a historic site and a conservation area by government as well.
Most of the visitors who travel here will come to take a walk around this area because apart from the beautiful old houses that could be seen here, there are lots of souvenir shops, good looking foods and desserts along the way as well.
And the one that get the most attention and must try is Senbei, the traditional Japan's dessert.
A plate of rice cracker, seasoning with soy sauce and smell delicious.
At last, I have to spent money for this!!
Well, I think maybe it is in a holiday period so it's pretty crowded here.
However, the best way to admire the Takayama old town is walking.
Yet if you could barely walk, you could use the trolley service.
Nevertheless, the price is pretty expensive as well but they would take us to all the places in an old town and stop by to introduce a brief history about the places, moreover, they would even take a picture for you in those places as well.
We take a walk a bit and now we reach at red Nakabashi bridge which is the important bridge of the town.
As every year, Takayama will be holding a big annual event which is Takayama Festival. It is one out of three largest and the most beautiful events in Japan. There would be a parade and each community would decorate differently on their own for the contest. And Nakabashi Bridge is the main route for this festival as all the parade must pass this route which not so far away is situated Takayama Jinja shrine that once used to be the Government Headquarters in the era of the Shogun Tokawa.
However, nowadays it opens as a museum to all visitors and have to pay for little amount of admission fee.
They said that if you come to Takayama, you should not miss to taste the famous beef, the Hida beef from Okuhida or Hida Takayama, Gifu province.
The reason is that the beef here had won the first prize of the Wagyu contest for two years, and that is why Hida beef is popular like the Kobe beef and Mutsuzaka beef. It comes from the black hair cow that are well feed at the fields near the Japan Alps, therefore, the cows have great beef for us to eat.
Hence, for this who have a chance to visit Hida Takayama, you should not miss out to try this kind of beef. Actually, we do not eat beef, however, we are already here so we should try some anyway.
We have to try this one as we saw a lot of Japanese people buy at this place all the times.
Let's try the grilled skewers.
I am not disappointed at all as the meat is super soft like it is melting in my mouth. Anyway, I wouldn't break my rule, this is enough for me and I would not go back to eat all the beef for sure.
After we walk until we are so exhausted and most of the shops are gradually starting to close now, we then walk back to the hotel, grab our stuff to the room and take some relax. The advantage of staying here is that this hotel is in walking distance close to the old town and the train station which I think the hotel price is also reasonable with the quality. Furthermore, they provide a free ice cube in every floors and you could grab it by yourself.
The room is pretty spacious and comfortable.
I will have to end today's journey at this, and tomorrow we still have a destination to continue traveling to.
Well, please don't forget to go on a journey with us again.
You could see all the pictures from the trip and greet us at the following link