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takayama, the hida folk village and shirakawa-go

Hi every-one,

I'm back home in Sydney and have just returned to work. This post comes with a warning because it's a long one.

When I was planning my trip to Japan, I knew I wanted to visit Tokyo and Kyoto but other than those places, I was a bit clueless. I asked a Japanese friend for some advice and of course my friend Kylie, a frequent visitor to Japan. In the end I went with a specialist travel company and together we came up with an itinerary. That's how I came to visit Takayama and Shirakawa-go. 

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I spent 2 days in Takayama, a sweet town, which inexplicably seemed to shut down each night at 6.00 p.m (and on a Tuesday and Wednesday) making it a challenge to get a meal. Each night I'd wander the streets looking for a place that was open and I was not alone.

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The historic part of Takayama has narrow streets and beautiful old shops and houses. 

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Takayama is a very popular tourist destination and that makes for crowded streets.



The only way to get photos without hordes of people in the shots meant getting up really early. I think I took these photos about 7.00 a.m.

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Most residences had flower boxes outside.

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Takayama is known for it's sake distilleries. If a  ball of cedar fronds is hanging outside the building, then you know you're in the right place.

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Speaking of sake shops.

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Even the drains in the old historic areas were decorative.

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These wisteria lined streets are pretty famous in Takayama.

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I think this may have been a variety of clematis. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Takayama isn't just known for sake, it's also famous for it's miso and Hida beef. This guy sold beef skewers and he did a roaring trade. I had to wait for close to 10 minutes to get this shot of his stall without a crowd in front.



After my early morning start I took the advice from my guide book and caught a bus to the Hida Folk Village.

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Many years ago, a huge dam was built in the area and many of the mountain villages were flooded. The folk village was created to preserve many of the old houses.

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The houses are located around a lake and there are a variety of building styles.

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O-jizo-san statues.

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A shinto shrine.

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The houses were set amongst beautiful trees and I even found some cherry blossoms at the village.

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When I returned to Takayama these carp banners, also known Koinobori suddenly appeared on the river.

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The next day it was back on the bus for the long journey to Kyoto via Shirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go is a small village with traditional houses just like the ones featured at the Hida Folk Village. It was interesting to see the houses being lived in but I wondered how the locals could bear their village being invaded on a daily basis by thousands of visitors. 

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It made me feel very uncomfortable and in the end I didn't stay long and left the village on an earlier bus and caught an earlier train to Kyoto.

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The roofs are so steeply pitched because of the winter snow falls.

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Just to let you know this is a living, breathing community, I found this neat display of tools.

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The village came complete with vegetable gardens

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Linen being aired.

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I found some bonsai.


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Workmen doing some roof repairs.

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I found some more decorative drains; locally made brushes and a close-up of those incredible thatched roofs.

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Many of the smaller huts were set amongst towering timbers.

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Just like these.

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I even found some elusive cherry blossoms and a field of jonquils.

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I know that was a big post so thanks for your patience. I'll be back next week with my Fog Linen Work shop-shoot.


Bye for now, 

Jillian
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