That's All Folk

Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Jan 22, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Takayama, a japanese, less expensive version of aspen colorado... or so i imagine since i have never been to aspen... but i'm sure it's about the same. the city, of a incredibly hard to figure out population, lies in a small valley surrounded by mountains with the hida river running through... well.. i think it's called the hida river, but it could very well be named something completely different.

there really isn't too much in town, i find it more of a relaxation place. the area is littered with hot springs, and onsens, and spa hotels. there are lots of shops selling ceramics and other crafts, as well as many cafes and restaurants... at which most sell some version of hida-beef which is 'well known through out japan'. raw horse meat is also a specialty in the area although i have yet to see it, but i am not looking for it. i decided to eat decent meals in takayama since it is all about relaxing and taking it easy, so i went looking for a place advertising hida-beef and pictures in their store front that didn't look terrible disgusting.

sadly, i don't remember the name of the restaurant i ate at... it had a french name and was on a fairly busy corner... hmm... but it was reeally good. i had a hamburger steak... but this was know ordinary hamburger... it was more like meatloaf... really really fancy meatloaf served on sliced potatoes, topped with onions, leaf-lettuce, and some random other things and sauces, garnish with a slice of squash (i believe). it looked ridiculous... but tasted awesome. for dessert i ordered their 'famous' pumpkin pudding, and that was so good. the pudding tasted like a more natural pumpkin pie. it came in a tiny little jar and was topped with molasses. i might need to try and recreate this at home. but really, the only thing that felt japanese about dinner was the rice. they had forks at the table so i made use of one... it actually felt a little weird at first.

in the late morning (after waking up early to watch the saints pummel the cardinals) i walked across town to the hida folk village. this little village is up on a hill overlooking the city and surrounded by giant snow covered pine trees. i would actually need to be somewhat aware whenever walking since all the trees would lose a pile of snow randomly. it was a magical winter mine field from the sky.

inside the village you find around 20 really old, preserved houses, huts, barns, waterwheels, and such from the 1700's. they've all (or most) have been relocated to their current position from around the area, so it's not TOTALLY accurate... but it's pretty close, and pretty cool. what i found the most interesting was how little a lot of the rooms in these houses have changed from the styles of rooms i've encountered thus far. for being such a progress electronics country... japan stays pretty rooted in its history.

so that's basically it at the hida folk village. you go house to house looking in at what types of conditions certain members of a village would live in. wood cutters live here. the leader lives there. etc. it's something that i enjoyed doing and would recommend... especially to my mother. it seems like something she would just love... especially the bits where you can watch people create some of the folk crafts.

so... that's basically takayama. it's pretty. it's full of good food and shopping (if you're into that kind of thing). there are a lot of sake breweries apparently. and there are lots of hot springs and spas for you to enjoy... as long as you don't have tattoos... apparently you are not allowed into onsens with tattoos due to the correlation with the yakuza gangs.

and as i type my last sentence, some weird loud chanting has begun coming from the speakers attached to the light poles outside. what an odd sound.
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Amber on

Now that looks like food I would enjoy. No strange veggies or things from the sea. So were you not allowed into the spas? Do you have a tattoo I am unaware of?

alexbclark on

let me clarify that i do not, i will never, have a tattoo. i just found it interesting that they are banned from hot springs... unless of course it's a yakuza run hot spring (which exist).

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