Honeymoon Days 4 and 5
We left Tokyo early in the morning to go to Takayama. Had to catch the 8.40am train to Nagoya, then transfer to the 10.48am to Takayama. The Shinkansen was comfortable, both of us had a good rest on board both trains. At Nagoya, while waiting for the train, we went to this little kiosk on the platform for soba. CG had a craving for udon, but all they had was soba and something like kway teow. Had to buy coupons from a vending machine, then pass the coupons to the lady to get our order. Again, pictures to the rescue! 🙂 The soba was good, and it was nice to have a bowl of steaming hot noodles in the cold weather.
We reached Takayama at about 1.30pm and proceeded to our hotel. It was a Japanese-style ryokan with tatami mats and futon beds. We left our luggage at the hotel as we could only check in after 3pm. Then we went to the bus interchange and took a public bus to the Hida-no-sato (Hida Folk Village). Not knowing the Japanese language, we did not alight at our supposed bus-stop, but the driver was very kind. He actually drove us back to Hida-no-sato! 🙂
Hida-no-sato was like a outdoor museum which houses all the different houses throughout the Hida region. It was drizzling when we reached there and there were free umbrellas for use! Just 100m into our journey in Hida-no-sato, it started to snow! It was beautiful! CG says big deal, but PG thinks it’s a big deal! Cos PG has never seen real snow other than those pathetic ones at Snow City. 😛 It was a beautiful sight to see those ancient houses covered with snow roofs. The exhibits were pretty self explanatory, as they had English translations. 🙂
After about more than an hour, we decided to head back. Since we were still early, we went to a nearby shop to buy some snacks and decided to walk down to the next bus-stop, whilst enjoying the nice cold weather. Along the way, PG slipped and fell. Thank God she was wearing many layers, so the fall was cushioned. Guess what was CG’s reaction? He laughed out loud!!! It was only after he stopped laughing that he stretched out his hand to help her up.
When we went back to the ryokan, we decided to try the public bathhouse. There were separate baths for the ladies and the men. It was really relaxing and therapeutic. And there was no one else in the bathhouse, so we practically had each bathhouse to ourselves. And since we came to Japan, we have been pampering ourselves, cos in the first hotel (it was actually a private room in a hostel), the shampoo and shower foam provided were Kanebo. In the ryokan, the shampoo and shower foam provided were Shiseido. CG tried the Shiseido aftershave and couldn’t stop raving about it. 🙂 PG tried the Shiseido shampoo and conditioner and it was fantastic!
After a nice bath, what better way to end the day than a nice dinner? We had earlier ordered dinner from the ryokan and they brought it to our rooms at 7pm. It was an elaborate dinner with shabu-shabu, sashimi, soba, wine, miso soup, some Japanese appetizers and other dishes that we have no idea what they are. All in all, it was a wonderful dinner. 🙂
After dinner, PG tried her hands at making the Japanese beds. Oh, it was chicken feet! 🙂 The ryokan provided excellent service, they wanted to come to the room to make the beds for us. Imagine their amazement when they saw that the beds had been made! 🙂
One thing about Takayama, it is a very small town with a population of only 600 (yet to be verified). By about 5.30pm, most shops were closed and the streets were deserted.
Day 5 – Tour of Takayama
Woke up early for breakfast. As said, the ryokan provided excellent service. When we were not down for breakfast at 8.20am, the ryokan staff actually came to our room to call us. Breakfast was served from 7.30am to 8.30am, and we ordered Japanese-style breakfast from the hotel. Again, it was a good spread, with PG’s favourite – miso soup. 🙂 This time, there was something additional – Yakult! 🙂
After a good breakfast, we went to the morning markets, something recommended in Lonely Planet. It was a good experience. Basically it was like our Singapore pasar malam, where stalls were set up selling handicrafts, fruits and vegetables. We bought some sliced apples and a stick of local rice balls. The apples were very sweet and juicy. As for the rice balls, we couldn’t really appreciate the taste. 😛
After the markets, we toured around the whole town. We went to the Government House, the Float Exhibition Hall etc. We bought more knick-knacks from various shops along the way. On the way back to the ryokan, we bought a stick of beef satay, some rice cake and a bottle kuri-kuri-kok （古里古里國） beer from a roadside stall. Nice! 🙂 There was a wooden bench outside the stall, where we sat to enjoy our food and beer.
One thing PG must comment, it’s super duper cold in Takayama, with the temperature at about 7 degrees Celsius in the day. Yet the schoolgirls were wearing such short skirts that could barely cover their butts! PG was resisting not running up to them and covering them with a big beach towel! CG was enjoying the eye candy though.
After 2 enjoyable days in Takayama, it was time to head back to Tokyo. It was another 4.5 hours on the train. This time, we are heading to CS and J’s place. They are very kind to put us up for 2 nights. 🙂 Haven’t really settled the plans for tomorrow, but we are probably heading for the onsen. 🙂