Noodles & more noodles

Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2014

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Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

 Wandering along the streets in the old merchant quarter of Takayma we felt as though we had been transported back several centuries. Most of the restored buildings are tourist souvenir shops, but there are also lots of food outlets, many selling the famous Hida beef. Hida beef is similar to Kobe beef, with fatty marbling and rich flavour. We sampled some at an establishment used by the locals, washed down with some sake, the other locally produced specialty.

With all the sights, sounds and smells it was easy to imagine what it must have been like hundreds of years ago, the fresh snow fall just added to the effect. A couple of miles out of town we found the Hida Folk Village which apart from being freezing cold was a great way to spend the day. The village has been created using real houses moved from various towns in the Hida region. Had the not been moved to the folk village they would have been lost forever which would have been a great shame.

We quickly concluded that the original inhabitants of the houses at the folk village must have been hardy souls. The houses were drafty and freezing cold, despite the fires that were lit in most of the buildings. 

Our diet seems to still be dominated by noodles. Noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are gradually getting to know our way around Japanese menus and we are getting slightly more adventurous, but Ant is still of the opinion that anything that is luminous pink or green can't be healthy to eat, so most of the fresh produce that we saw at the local market is off limits.

We enjoyed the Royokan experience so much in Nikko that we stayed at another traditional inn in Takayama. The room was furnished in a very similar way, futon beds on tatami mats, with a low table for eating at. The facilities for ablutions were also similar in that they were built into incredibly small spaces. The other amusing little custom is the wearing of toilet slippers. It is frowned upon if you do not change from your normal indoor slippers into the toilet slippers when using the facilities. In case you forget which pair is which, the toilet slippers are very helpfully labeled as such.

After a couple of temple & shrine free days at Takayama we will be heading off to Kyoto. We are spending just over two weeks in Japan so there is a lot to fit into a short amount of time. After Kyoto we are off to Hiroshima where there is a large Mazda car production factory. It is one of the largest car factories in the world, many of the workers live on the site. Ant is curious to visit the factory to witness the legendary Japanese production line environment, so we emailed them to see if a visit is possible next week. Lo and behold they replied to the email within a couple of hours and we are able to get a tour of the factory next week.



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