Day 5 of my Japan trip would be spent in the ancient city of Takayama 高山.
Takayama is the absolute antithesis of Tokyo – it’s calm, slow and quaint. A welcomed change from the hustle and bustle start to our trip.
After catching the bus from Hirayuno-mori
, T & I found ourselves at Takayama bus/train station. From there we started wheeling our luggage towards our ryokan – Sumiyoshi Hida Takayama (寿美吉旅館 飛騨高山)
. Despite the rain and a slight detour, we arrived at Sumiyoshi and were warmly greeted by the owners. They provided us with maps and we wasted no time in heading off to the Takayama morning markets.
Takayama Morning Market
The morning markets at Takayama are dotted with stalls selling fresh produce, snacks (which I tried as many as I can) and souvenirs. Some of the Japanese snacks I devoured include an egg cube (see above), mitarashi dango みたらし団子 (see below), matcha aka green tea ice cream, beef croquette and beef sushi.
Despite filling up on snack, I needed a hearty lunch to combat the cold and rain. T & I found an inconspicuous shop with a wooden sliding door and no windows (see above). I recognised the Chinese character on the shop banner as “noodles”, so we decided to take a gamble and go in.
Our curiosity was rewarded with an incredible bowl of chuka soba. I found out later that the shop, Menya Shirakawa 麺屋しらかわ,
is actually a famous ramen shop. For the full scoop on the shop, click here
or on that gorgeous bowl below.
Our filling and warming lunch was followed by more wandering of the quaint streets of Takayama. I noticed every souvenir and gift store would stock these little human shaped fabric dolls (see above). After some googling, I found out that they are called sarubobo (さるぼぼ) – which literally translates to baby monkey. Different coloured sarubobos will give the owner different kinds of luck.
Blue sarubobo – for luck in study and work
Pink sarubobo – for luck in love
Green sarubobo – for luck in health
Yellow sarubobo – for luck in money
Black sarubobo – to remove bad luck
I ended up purchasing a blue sarubobo and I must say my career has improved (it’s probably correlation not causation).
Some attractions in Takayama that we visited included the Takayama festival floats exhibition hall ( Matsuri Yatai Kaikan 高山祭屋台会館) which holds the famous floats and several temples that are scattered along the mountains.
Chow Tips: One of the temples had warning signs about bears. Beware of bears.
The rest of the day was spent taking in the picturesque streets and alleys of Takayama. Enjoy the photos.