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First trip to Japan: two weeks in December

First trip to Japan: two weeks in December

Oct 30th, 2018, 10:26 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 248
In Takayama, definitely make a point of eating the Hida beef - it's memorable: we actually ate at a shop behind a butchery where they sold the beef by weight and then one sits with a grill set into one's table and grills one's own beef, a wonderful experience.
patriciatbrogan is offline  
Oct 30th, 2018, 05:40 PM
  #22  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,164
Another vote for Hida beef -- and local wild mountain vegetables.
kja is offline  
Oct 31st, 2018, 09:41 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 468
Ros, I see you are from Australia not USA. I think I got your original post confused with another's post. I will work on a Takayama plan for you this weekend. You may want to consider a 1/2 day bus trip to Shirakawa-gō. There you can experience eating bear (we did not) and enjoy the traditional thatch houses. Especially if there is snow - magical!
gailscout is offline  
Oct 31st, 2018, 05:40 PM
  #24  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,164
I trust you've consulted japan-guide.com and the JNTO website?
kja is offline  
Nov 7th, 2018, 12:17 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Your new simplified itinerary sounds great! I think giving yourself the extra time in Kyoto, and using it as a base for day trips, works well.

For Takayama, here's the Hida beef restaurant we enjoyed, plus a post on a snack we'd not seen before, at the morning market, and another on the morning market itself.
https://www.kaveyeats.com/2012/12/hi...ama-japan.html
https://www.kaveyeats.com/2012/12/ow...-takayama.html
https://www.kaveyeats.com/2012/12/mi...-takayama.html

I have some content on Kyoto, Koya-San, Miyajma, Tokyo, Kamakura, and others, plus some general guides such as a beginner's guide to understanding sake. Shout if you need any of them.
Kavey is offline  
Nov 13th, 2018, 04:41 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 468
Our favorite restaurant was Sakarajaya which is outside of the area around the train station, the river, and the old section. The food is outstanding especially the fried tofu (so creamy in the inside). We still talk about it many months later. Must make reservation before you get to Takayama - though in the winter I'm not so sure. The owner/chef is amazingly friendly and his mother helps out. The food comes out as it is prepared and the wait time between may be longer that you wish. That said, the food and friendly atmosphere will leave you with happy memories!

Coffee shop that has 25 comments with 5 stars on Google is Cafe Courier. Pour-over coffee and homemade cheesecake. The husband and wife owners are so friendly and fun, with their sketch books of all major, mostly independent, coffee shops they traveled to before opening their travel themed coffee shop. Out of the way, but a good morning walk, Boulangerie Noboriya. French schooled pastry chef with a touch of the Japanese playfulness on several of the delicious pastries. You may think you are in Paris!

Up from the older area of Takayama is an area of temples, museums and exhibit halls: Higashihayashiyamadaio and Sakurayama Nikkokan are just a few of the sites. The float exhibit hall, the miniature replications of many of Takayama's temples, shrines, etc. and walking around the area are not to be missed.

In the older area of Takayama are many saki, miso, beer tasting sites; great gift shops with local items, and just a really well preserved area. Unfortunately, my google docs with all my information have disappeared so I am unable to give you more specific information.

In Kyoto, you may want to take a tour focused on Geisha in the Gion. Kentaro, who just opened his own tour company, is a wonderful young guide. We met him through AirBNB experiences. kenstours.com I see he now does other tours. You can read about him on TripAdvisor.

Feel free to chime in if you have any more questions!
gailscout is offline  
Dec 12th, 2018, 04:28 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,280
Great post for my planning for our first trip to Japan. Thanks all who commented. I hope OP comes back with feedback from her trip which I gather could still be going on.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 07:48 PM
  #28  
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 64
Hi yestravel, we've only just returned from what was a fabulous first visit to Japan - my grateful thanks to everyone who shared suggestions and advice on this forum!
I don't yet have the time for a detailed account, but can say that each of our three destinations (Tokyo, Takayama and Kyoto) were extremely rich and rewarding places to stay: we could have spent more time in each of them. In particular, the decision to stay in Kyoto for a week was just the best. We did do two day trips (Nara and Hiroshima), but neither were as great as the days that we simply spent in different areas of Kyoto.
RosBlack is offline  
Dec 19th, 2018, 07:56 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,280
Glad you had such a great trip. Where did you stay in Takayama?
yestravel is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 01:24 AM
  #30  
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At a beautiful ryokan called Oyado Koto No Yume.
RosBlack is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 05:36 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 425
yestravel, are you looking for a hotel in Takayama?

Here is an option for a modern hotel near Takayama train station where I stayed this past October and can highly recommend it.

The hotel is "Spa Hotel Alpina Hida Takayama". We booked a 217 sq-ft twin room on high floor and non-smoking, and was assigned a room on the 8th floor with views to the mountains. The hotel is modern, clean and with a very nice onsen on the 9th floor. It is 5-min walk from JR Takayama station. If breakfast is not included in your room rate, just pay 1200Yen/pp at the front desk each morning to buy a breakfast voucher.

Last edited by Reading54; Dec 20th, 2018 at 05:41 AM.
Reading54 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 06:14 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,416
I stayed in the Spa Alpina back in 2010. Very nice.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 06:28 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Reading54 -- thanks! Yes, I am searching for a place during the October festival. Thanks for your suggestion. It seems many places are booked with only room without private bathrooms available or they haven't opened their booking yet for that far out. thursdaysd, appreciate your vote of confidence in it.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 06:32 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,715
Yestravel, if you are considering including Takayama in you trip then do take a look at Sumiyoshi Ryokan. We stayed there back in 2008 and loved it. Some photos on our blog https://accidentalnomads.com/2008/04...ans-miso-sake/

Along with the monastery stay in Koyasan, probably our favourite lodgings in Japan.
crellston is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 06:51 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,280
Hi crellston! Thanks! Given the small Fodor's world, I got that recommendation from someone you gave it to (Internetwiz). I have contacted them in both English & Japanese, but have not heard back. I'll look at your blog for other hints.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 07:22 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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And if you're going to Takayama don't miss the Art Nouveau museum.
thursdaysd is offline  
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