Back on the Tak

B wanted a Japanese haircut. So last night Machiko and Mayumi found a hair salon in Tennoji with a discount voucher and arranged the whole thing for this morning. We packed our bags and checked out of our room, then headed off for Mio Plaza for the haircut.

While B was busy having her hair done Alex and I crossed over to the Abeno Harukas tower. The tower is the tallest building in Japan at 300 metres, though it is still dwarfed by the Tokyo Skytree at 634 metres and Tokyo Tower at 333 metres.

After buying the somewhat expensive (for Japan) tickets we ascended to the 16th floor in a glass elevator, then whisked up to the 60th floor with an elevator light show that delighted Alex. The views from the top were spectacular, making the old Tsutenkaku tower look like a mere blip on the landscape and the many trains weaving their way through the suburbs less than Z scale.

B was long finished by the time we returned. We did a bit of shopping, including some t-shirts to wear while I find somewhere to wash my clothes, at Ito-Yokado and Uniqlo at Q’s Mall, then hurried back to the JR station to reserve seat to Takayama.

Takayama is a well preserved city in the Central Alps of Japan famous for its Hida beef, wood crafts, historic streets and festival. We been here a few times, starting back in 2006 when we attended the famous Takayama matsuri, but this is Alex’s first time out of the womb.

From Tennoji we had to catch the Haruka express to Shin-Osaka, a Shinkansen to Nagoya and finally the Wide View Hida to Takayama.


Wide View Hida

The scenery of the Takayama Line in stunning as the train weaves its way up the Hida River valley, past rice paddies and tea plantations, blue river water flowing past craggy grey rocks. I highly recommend this ride in Japan, though we could have done without the diesel fumes in our cabin at the rear of the Green car (like first class).

I took a video, which needs a bit of editing before I upload it.

It was raining outside, possibly spoiling the festival parade tomorrow. Our spirits were high with the anticipation of eating a meal of Hida beef. We had to wait at the restaurant, but the grilled beef and hoba miso was worth it.

Hoba Miso

Back at the hotel, the Best Western lived up to the Western in its name. The “spa” was not a true Japanese bath.  Shower to wash yourself, no stools and low sinks, and a jacuzzi that than a simple bath. At least the beds are big – no more attempting to squash three into a semi-double. And with that it’s time to take advantage of that bed!

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