takayama, the hida folk village and shirakawa-go

Hi every-one,

I'm back home in Sydney and have just returned to work. This post comes with a warning because it's a long one. When I was planning my trip to Japan, I knew I wanted to visit Tokyo and Kyoto but other than those places, I was a bit clueless. I asked a Japanese friend for some advice and of course my friend Kylie, a frequent visitor to Japan. In the end I went with a specialist travel company and together we came up with an itinerary. That's how I came to visit Takayama and Shirakawa-go. 

I spent 2 days in Takayama, a sweet town, which inexplicably seemed to shut down each night at 6.00 p.m (and on a Tuesday and Wednesday) making it a challenge to get a meal. Each night I'd wander the streets looking for a place that was open and I was not alone.

The historic part of Takayama has narrow streets and beautiful old shops and houses. 

Takayama is a very popular tourist destination and that makes for crowded streets.

The only way to get photos without hordes of people in the shots meant getting up really early. I think I took these photos about 7.00 a.m.

Most residences had flower boxes outside.

Takayama is known for it's sake distilleries. If a ball of cedar fronds is hanging outside the building, then you know you're in the right place.

Speaking of sake shops.

Even the drains in the old historic areas were decorative.

These wisteria lined streets are pretty famous in Takayama.

takayama photo blog-2_zpsv1skat3b.jpg

I think this may have been a variety of clematis. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Takayama isn't just known for sake, it's also famous for it's miso and Hida beef. This guy sold beef skewers and he did a roaring trade. I had to wait for close to 10 minutes to get this shot of his stall without a crowd in front.

After my early morning start I took the advice from my guide book and caught a bus to the Hida Folk Village.

Many years ago, a huge dam was built in the area and many of the mountain villages were flooded. The folk village was created to preserve many of the old houses.

The houses are located around a lake and there are a variety of building styles.

O-jizo-san statues.

A shinto shrine.

The houses were set amongst beautiful trees and I even found some cherry blossoms at the village.

When I returned to Takayama these carp banners, also known Koinobori suddenly appeared on the river.

The next day it was back on the bus for the long journey to Kyoto via Shirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go is a small village with traditional houses just like the ones featured at the Hida Folk Village. It was interesting to see the houses being lived in but I wondered how the locals could bear their village being invaded on a daily basis by thousands of visitors. 

It made me feel very uncomfortable and in the end I didn't stay long and left the village on an earlier bus and caught an earlier train to Kyoto.

The roofs are so steeply pitched because of the winter snow falls.

Just to let you know this is a living, breathing community, I found this neat display of tools.

The village came complete with vegetable gardens

Linen being aired.

I found some bonsai.

Workmen doing some roof repairs.

I found some more decorative drains; locally made brushes and a close-up of those incredible thatched roofs.

Many of the smaller huts were set amongst towering timbers.

Just like these.

I even found some elusive cherry blossoms and a field of jonquils.

I know that was a big post so thanks for your patience. I'll be back next week with my Fog Linen Work shop-shoot.

Bye for now, 



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