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Day 9 Japan - Takayama to Nagano

JAPAN | Tuesday, 12 November 2019 | Views [28]

Takayama to Nagano

Another hotel, another restless night, another interesting buffet breakfast. Bags packed and ready to leave at 9. We spent the morning exploring further around Takayama city, with our first stop at the Matsuri-no-mori museum. This very unique, partly underground, cavernous structure features the key aspects of the Takayama Festival, which takes place for two days each spring and autumn. Each festival showcases elaborate floats (known as yatai) and full size replicas of these floats as well as smaller replicas are kept at the museum to be enjoyed all year round. The festival features Karakuri (puppeteer operated marionettes) which are used to tell folk stories. The museum has cleverly created mechanical versions of these. There are also a number of massive taiko drums, believed to be the biggest drums in the world. It was remarkable to soak in the deep tones of the drums as the sound reverberated throughout the space, especially when we were able to pound them.

Our driver had us back in the old centre of Takayama by late morning and Keiko led us through Sanmachi Suji…a collection of three streets that make up Hida Takayama's famous historic district. The area was once a bustling merchant town and is now a popular destination for visitors to the area. It has distinctive old wooden architecture and charm and has a traditional Japanese village feel. We visited the markets set up along the river banks; and tasted treats from some of the food vendors. Although the breeze was a little fresh, we were lucky to have clear skies and sunshine.

In our free time we made a beeline for our researched coffee shop and allowed their smooth lattes to boost our energy before strolling back through the streets, picking up easy to eat lunch on a stick as we went; and the odd souvenir.

With Takayama done, our bus hit the road for our next overnighter. We spent most of the afternoon on board as we wound our way up, over and through the mountains to the valleys on the other side. If we’d been wondering why it had been such a chilly night, we had only to look up to see the fresh dusting of snow on the high alps; with more snow clouds drifting across them throughout the time they were within our sight. Late afternoon saw our arrival into Nagano and our hotel right in the centre of town. After a shopping and food adventure we finished our day with a drink in the top floor bar in our hotel and headed to our rooms for some R & R.

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