Time to take a look at Takayama.

On the map it didn’t look that far from Kawaguchiko in the Fuji go-ko lakes region to Takayama. However it soon became apparent when I checked the Hyperdia site for train journeys in Japan that it would take quite a few changes of direction and trains to get from one to the other. Taking most of the day we did finally make it. Sadly the last part of the journey with the train following a river valley looked good scenery wise but as it was raining and the light was fading fast we couldn’t appreciate it. On our arrival at Takayama with hundreds of other locals and travellers we had to dive into our cases for coats. Fortunately I had made a booking at th Super Hotel which was only a couple of hundred metres away. Needless to say that was a very soaking 200 metres. On our arrival we were warmly greeted and checked in quickly and efficiently by the very cute smiling reception staff. Our room was described as compact but it should have said tiny. Amazingly it had every modern convenience fitted in with Japanese ingenuity and we were soon right at home.

The following morning after breakfast, a combination Japanese/Western breakfast we headed out into a glorious sunny Takayama morning. The weekend markets had attracted Karen’s attention. On the way there we chanced upon this shrine with its impressive pagoda

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and this massive 1200 year old ginkgo tree.

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As we neared the market Karen stopped to make friends with a local on the bridge.

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Soon we were looking at the various produce stalls on one side and lots of food and souvenir products on our right side.

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The salted fish on a stick didn’t quite get our interest

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but when Karen saw a lady selling honey she was very keen to check it out. The lady offered us a tasting  of her delicious honey. Karen communicated to her that she too had bee hives back in Australia. When Karen found video footage on her iPad of our chickens and the aforementioned bees we had a real connection with this lady. By the time I took a photo of Karen and the lady and we showed her a video of an echidna in our garden too she was keen for us to not forget her so she gave us a couple of little origami cranes she had made with the parting words,’please remember me,’ A lovely encounter that we will not forget.

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These little bonsai plants also caught my eye.

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From looking in one of th souvenir shops we could see the local symbol was the Sarubobo- baby monkey. All different colours for different aspects of your life, family, study, money, love etc. the original red ones were for happiness in life. We found a lady in a nearby market stall who had hand made her own to sell so we purchased some there.

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As time was moving on we quickly walked along the path near the river to the second market near a shrine. It was also a produce market but apart from snack foods it seemed to be nearly over. One of the smallholders offered us a taste of her apples. Quite delicious so we purchased a rather large one to share. We sat nearby and enjoyed the very juicy purchase.

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Next we walked to the old part of the town and walked around the streets admiring the old buildings. Nearly all were either cafes, shops of small ryokans now. It seemed none were lived in as they had originally been. It was fascinating to see them even so.

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