21 May 2014

A Japanese Alpine village

From Fukuoka, we were back on the Shinkanzen to Takayama. Takayama is a little town right up the mountains in Central Japan. Actually it is situated in a valley with the Japanese Alps all around it. It took us a little more than 5 hours from Southern Japan to Central Japan - a journey of more than 800 km. we had to change trains in Osaka because the only train that goes to Takayama is the limited express. 

On the way we saw really beautiful scenery - crystal clear rivers , gorges that take your breath away, fields of spring wildflowers. Parts of this scenery reminded me so much of New Zealand - except that sometimes we would see cherry blossoms or the Zakura tree.  We passed a number of small towns too that looked quite picturesque. 


In Takayama we stayed at a lovely hotel called .... Which was within walking distance of the railway station. The weather was cool and breezy - perfect spring weather!  Our room too was fantastic - it faced a small stream running behind the hotel and we could see glimpses of the mountains in the distance. That evening we took an exploratory walk around the town and saw a lot of interesting things. First of all, Takayama is actually an old Meiji emperor town. Some of the shops in the town goes back to the 17th century and the roads are cobbled still. However there is also a modern part of town with a few high rises ( about 10 stories) . We passed an old shrine that looked as if it has stood there since the 17th century! Then we crossed the river - this is really a fantastic place. The river is so clear you can see the stones in it and there are Japanese carp or koi ! Imagine that. In Malaysia the koi is an expensive fish and is only reared in man made ponds but here they swim freely. 

The river we passed by. 
That night I had a steam bath and slept like a log! 

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