Miyagawa Market and Hida No Sato

We were up early this morning, meeting in the kitchen for breakfast before heading down to the Jinya-mae morning market. This is a tiny little market in front of the historic government house with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables, mostly homegrown. We bought the biggest apple I have ever seen and have just eaten it for dessert as I write this. It was grown on the stall owners farm and was sweet and crispy. Just beautiful. After we’d looked through Jinya-mae, Marnie and I headed back to the temple for Buddhist prayers at 9.30. Yukina, our host, lives and works at the temple, and she was also does the prayers. She lit incense sticks and chanted, using sticks to hit the bowls and make them sing. It only went for about ten minutes, but it was a very peaceful and meditative way to spend a morning interlude. I felt really rested afterwards.

Zenkoji temple, where we are staying

Zenkoji temple

Marnie and I rejoined Margaret and Dad at Miyagawa morning market along the river. This is a bigger market, running across the river, and the stalls range from vegetables to wooden toys to honeycomb to jewellery, just to name a few. The day was warm and sunny and beautiful and we wandered up and down sampling as much free food as we could and buying little souvenirs like sarubobo dolls and fans. We also had Hida beef (the region that Takayama belongs to is the “Hida” region) and this continued to enforce Japan’s reputation for cooking the tastiest beef ever.

Miyagawa morning market

Green tea ice-cream (not as good as Riley’s)

Flowers for sale

Hida beef skewer aka party in my mouth

After another walk through the old town, we headed to the station to catch a bus to Hida No Sato, which is an open air museum, displaying Japanese regional architecture. There are about 30 farmhouses ranging from about 100-500 years old and they’re all built up the mountain side, among the trees and shrines and rivers. It was like Sovereign Hill, but more authentic and less commercial. We took about an hour to wander through the village, but you could easily spend two hours there. They have various handicraft demonstrations and a silkworm display, and you can walk around these old houses, up to the third level on some of them. You have to take your shoes off and wear the house slippers, and a lot of the time the floor was very creaky and I thought I might fall through, but the beauty and culture of these places was mesmerising. There is a large pond in the main square of the village filled with fish and ducks and swans and there were mills at the river and storehouses for wood and grain. It was like leaping back and forth in time over centuries of a society I had very little knowledge of. I strongly, strongly recommend Hida No Sato to everyone, and it only costs 900yen for entry and a return bus trip from Takayama Station.

Hida No Sato

Peasant-chic

Hida No Sato

Hida No Sato

After we returned to Takayama, we had coffee and bought our train tickets for tomorrow. Then we went back to the temple and I showered and loaded my photos. The shower here is fantastic. Toasty warm, decent pressure, and is in a big shower room that you reserve for yourself in 15 minute blocks. It’s intensely relaxing. Then we went out for dinner at Center4 Hamburger, which Keiko recommended to us. It’s like a 1950’s American burger joint, with an English menu. It is absolutely STUFFED with international paraphernalia and beers, and they have a Hida beef burger on the menu. It’s very affordable with massive servings, which we were quite unused to after traditional Japanese cuisine, but it was delicious, and the staff were lovely.

Center4 Hamburger

We bought some things for breakfast and then headed back to the temple for dessert! Another early night, on our heated blankets and tatami mats, and then off to Hiroshima tomorrow!! Phew!

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