Takayama Station has undergone a wholesale change since our last visit to this city. In many ways it is surprising that they kept the old one for so long considering the tourist traffic here.
Today we are off to Unazuki Onsen, continuing our diversion off the NEWS route. We start with the local train to Inotani. They’ve also upgraded the trains on this line, replacing the old KiHa 52 diesel railmotors with a more modern version. Only inward facing seats unfortunately.
The scenery should be just as good though and the windows are bigger and cleaner so a better view too!
The sweet straw smell of a tatami mat is the trigger for many precious memories of staying in a ryokans. This one lists our names and those of other guest on boards near the entrance.
Across from the hotel is the Kokubunji temple with a three story pagoda and a 1,200 year old ginkgo tree.
There are many tourists here and indeed it is one of our favourite places in Japan. While I checked into the hotel, the other two bathed their feet in the Miyagawa River alongside huge koi carp.
We were all so tired that it was difficult to motivate ourselves to head out for dinner. We wandered the streets searching for food, past many smoky izakaya, eventually choosing the reasonably priced Tenaga Ashinaga. There I had another Takayama favourite hoba miso. Hida beef and mountain vegetables with miso paste grilled on a magnolia leaf.
To end off the day a scorching bath to relieve blistered feet in the ryokan’s public baths and a strawberries and cream sponge birthday cake from Monbille. We thought we’d be finishing it for breakfast, but nope, all gone. Even Alex, who normally dislikes cream, devoured a couple of slices.
We were walking around Takayama after searching for a birthday cake for B when we came across this unprepossessing museum. From the outside you would think it a rundown little Japanese toy store, but inside is a remarkable collection of old objects, many still working.
After you buy the ticket and head behind the curtain you enter a recreation of a street of shops from the middle of the Showa Era which ran between 1926 to 1989. The shops contain a range of goods from across the era, including working black and white televisions displaying old programs.
There are old video games (some running on commercial emulators) and even ancient pachinko machines, which shoot balls up where the then take a path downwards scoring points. A little less bright and noisy than the current generation of gambling machines.
A great addition to the collection of Takayama history museums!
After my first taste of Hida beef no other beef tasted right ever again. We had a range of top range marbled cuts as a celebration of B’s birthday and they were so good. Grilling them ourselves at the table with local vegetables. Perfect.