questions on Takayama/Shirakawago

Old May 28th, 2004, 05:56 AM
  #1  
emd
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questions on Takayama/Shirakawago

We want to go this area when we go from Yokohama to Kyoto. I am aware we will have a 4.5 hr early a.m. train to Taka., maybe spend rest of day there and perhaps then go by bus to Shirak. to spend night and next day there (may opt to stay in Taka. and go to Shirak. next day). I have searched on here for accomodations but only see Sumiyoshi Ryokan in Shirak., and not much mentioend in Taka. Can you tell me where you've stayed in either place? Will I need more time in either one? Looking forward to a slice of slower Japanese life and the older feel of those places. Thanks.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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Hi emd,

The Sumiyoshi is in Takayama, not Shirakawago--unless there are two ryokans with the same name. I've only been to Takayama and have stayed at the Sumiyoshi--both of which I highly recommend. I really enjoyed spending the night in Takayama because it's in the evenings that things slow down even more so you can get a better feel for "old Japan". Maybe the same can be said for Shirakawago?

As for the Sumiyoshi, it was comfortable and clean, though the hallways can be dark. Maybe they've spruced things up a bit since I've been there. But even with the dark hallways, I thought the staff was charming and the location was terrific.

I hope you will like Takayama as much as I did; it's still my favorite place in Japan.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 04:19 PM
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Shirakawago is smaller, quieter, and more traditional than Takayama. Takayama is a city with a preserved area and a museum. Both are well worth the visit as they are different - which you will see easily if you visit both.

If you are looking for quiet and traditional, I'd stay in Shirakawago. japaneseguesthouse.com has some nice places, and the frommers japan guide lists some places that are good. Try to get a place that has an irori (open hearth) for cooking and dining around...very nice - if you ask about it they will tell you if they've got one.

Bus is the only way to get from Takayama to Shirakawago unless you have your own car. I've been to both a few times each. Takayama has a morning market that is neat to see (early), and the old quarter is very interesting, as are some of the temples. I'd skip the folk museum, since you can see the real thing in livng action in Shirakawago.

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Old May 31st, 2004, 05:48 AM
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Kombanwa [email protected],[email protected] For places to stay in Takayama,[email protected] the Frommers online guide. Also, go to jnto.go.jp and find their region guides and take a look at the one for Takayama and Shirakawago (if you haven:t found it already). There are schedules for the buses, including a daily bus from Nagoya to Shirakawago (2.5 hours) on that guide along with time of travel between points in the region.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 05:54 PM
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emd
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Wow, 3 responses (really good on the Asai board), and 2 of those from people currently inside Japan, and kathyl who has been there and loves the area. Thank you all. I will take your comments into consideration and check frommers as I decide whether to stay in Takayama or Shirakawago, or maybe one night in both, and how to move towards Kyoto from this area.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 11:52 AM
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p.s. My son informed me last night that he wants to go to Hiroshima also. Wonder how I will fit that in also...
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 01:03 AM
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Am staying at Sumiyoshi tonight. Looks like it will be ok. Only 9500 or so including dinner and breakfast. Shared bath. Planning to go to Shirakawago tomorrow.

Went to the museum at Hiroshima Peace Park the other day. It was an experience. It is definitely worth adding to your trip. You might consider staying overnight on Miyajima. There were about 20 million schoolkids at both Miyajima and Peace Park.

FYI this computer is on Kokubunji Dori in Takayama. Heading from the train station, cross the river and it is on the right side. 100 yen per 30 min
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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mrwunrfl: Thanks for the update (and on hiroshima and miyajima on the other post also). I am thinking now that we will go to Takayama, Shirakawango, Hiroshima (and stay on Miyajima), and cut back a bit on the time in Kyoto to do those. More traveling around than I originally thought, but since we plan to give ourselves 5 nights in Yokohama/Tokyo area (with just one day trip in those 5 days to to Fuji area) initially to get settled and over jetlag, I think we can do it. Then we would fly from Hiroshima to Narita (w/the good tourist discount on ANA or JAL) to catch our flight out. The idea of getting out of Tokyo and Kyoto areas is sounding better and better. Can't wait for your trip report, although it is very nice getting the updates along the way! It sounds great.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Flying from Hiroshima to Narita is possible, but only once a day on ANA (actually a codeshare, flight is operated by Fairinc) at 7:50 AM. There are flights to Haneda all day long, but you need to allow 3 hours for transport between Haneda and Narita (unless you use helicopter!) due to traffic.

I agree that spending more time outside the big cities is very worthwhile. Japan is much, much more than Tokyo and Kyoto.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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emd
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KimJapan: Thank you for your comment. I saw that early morning flight from HIroshima to Narita on ANA. Our flight to the US doesn't leave til 3:30 p.m. so we'll be hanging around Narita from 9:30 til our flight leaves to the U.S. But I think it is much better than going to Haneda and then to Narita and then the US all in one day. We'd need to stay in Hiroshima that night before to catch the early a.m. flight. I am all for less stress, esp. right at the end of the trip.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Since your flight leaves at 3:30 from Narita, you'd need to take an early flight to Haneda as well to allow for the transport and check in. The Hiroshima-Narita flight seems perfect for your. Narita is huge, and there's plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you from getting bored. You'll have from about 10 unitl 1 to shop around and have lunch before your flight, which isn't bad at all. And like you said, much better than stressing about whether you'll make your flight. The flight is also listed on ANA...because it's a codeshare. Just recently, airlines other than ANA, JAL and JAS have been allowed into the market...and without codeshare, no one would even know they existed. Fairinc may even be part of ANA...their website touts that their service and such is ANA standard. The good thing about Japan's domestic flights is that you don't have to check in very early. 30 minutes before is just fine. More than an hour before the first flight of the day, you won't even find staff at the check in counter.

Just a note on Hiroshima hotels...a few years ago, we stayed at the ANA hotel in Hiroshima and it was awful...small, dirty rooms, terrible service, sad breakfast buffet...so unless it's gone through a major makeover I'd give it a miss. The Rhiga is very nice, and we wished we had stayed there.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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Yes, the Righa looks good. mrwunrfl posted that he stayed at the Righa in Hiroshima, and also at the Hotel Granvia. He got a very good rate at the Granvia. I am going to look at that one also. I may have some question for you on travel btwn other cities, but I am trying to do my homework on hyperdia (and decipher the uses of the different rail passes) first.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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It is 915 AM and a beautiful day in Takayama. Sumiyoshi was good but I had a bit of trouble sleeping as the futon seemed to not do much good. The shared bath was a minus. Location is pretty good. Dinner was very good and I suppose that, if you were Japanese, the breakfast was very good too. Did not recognize the food, except for the rice, and it was not to my taste first thing in the morning.

What is the other flight that you would take in addition to the HIJ->NRT flight, emd?

Another thing about the Rihga Royal Hiroshima is that it is a half block from the main bus terminal and you could take the (non-JR) bus to the airport. There are two basic ways to go between HIJ and Hiroshima. You can take a non-JR bus all the way or you can take a bus to a JR station and then a train to Hiroshima station. I did the latter since I have a JR pass, but it was not worth the hassle.
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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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mrwunrfl, I am so glad you did this posting. I was planning to book the Sumiyoshi, but now I will look further. I do want to "Old Japan" but I do want to sleep. I sent an email to Japaneseguest...last week and still have not received a reply. Do you think I should try again???
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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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Elainee: I took mrwunrfl's advice and checked Frommers for places to stay in Takayama. There are a few other places mentioned there besides Sumiyoshi, take a look. Getting a private toilet/bathroom looks like a challenge, but Rickshaw Inn has some and the owner lived in the States and speaks English (and it says they take Am Ex). It says Sumiyoshi only has one room w/a private bathroom. Four Seasons (not part of the chain) also seems to have "washlet toilet" in the rooms (and it says they take Am Ex, MC, and Visa). I'm not sure if youcan count on them taking credit cards, but it does mention them in Frommers.
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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Takayama has lots of places to stay in every price range and level of comfort. The bath is almost always public, but most nicer places have private toilets and a shower and small tub. For the real Japanese bath experience, you need to use the public bath, and the nicest ones have a variety of types of baths for you try and maybe an outdoor one as well.

http://www.takayamaryokan.jp/top.htm is all in Japanese, but click around and you'll find a list with prices and pictures and links to home pages. There is a list on the left side of the screen...click on the second one below the brown bar (or 5th from the top) for a list by price range. Within the list, click on the individual places for a picture and often a link to the place's own website.

http://www.hida.jp/e-yado/e-yadolist.htm is a list, all in English, but with no links at all...it's just a list. It is divided quite nicely though, into categories.

Ryokan that should be comfortable as well as traditional include Tanabe http://www.i-hida.net/tanabe/, Oyado Koto no Yume http://www.takayama-koto.co.jp/

When my parents visited, we stayed at Seiryu
http://www.ryokan-seiryu.co.jp/new.html and it was very nice. We were a group of 4 adults and my then one year old daughter. The futon were thick and comfy. The room had private toilet, shower and tub. The public bath was nice. The meal was excellent...included sashimi, grilled river fish, mountain vegetables, and Hida beef....among other things.

There are lots of places...just not lots of places with English websites or in English guidebooks. Don't be afraid of the language barrier...if you find a place that looks good and you need help with the Japanese, just ask.


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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 05:45 PM
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Many thanks for the responses. Our latest thinking (which can still change...) After 4 days in Tokyo on our own(arriving 10/20, then a guided tour from Saturday evening to the following Sunday morning in Tokyo and Kyoto and usual tourist stuff in the area. We will stay at the Okura Hotel in Tokyo before the tour as the NY Philharmonic will be there and we have friends with the Phiharmonic. After the tour we will go to Benesse Hotel(10/31) for the first night which will give us a chance to see a different area. Monday we will go as far as Nagoya. Not that Nagoya is that interesting but it will be a long enough trip to get there. We will stay at Marriott at the station. Tuesday we will go to Magome and Tsumago and do the walk between them. Now should we plan to stay in Tsumago area or go on to Matsumoto? We think that one or two nights on a futon is about what the four of us can do. At Matsumoto we can stay at western bed hotel. If weather permits we would like to go across the mountains to Takayama perhaps doing the sidetrip to Kamikochi. We will stay 2 nights in Takayama going to Shirakawa one day. Then, if possible thru the mountains to Kanazawa for 2 days there. On 11/8 we will on back to Tokyo staying at the airport for our return on 11/9. So..how does this all sound??? The right number of days each place? I need to have hotel/ryokan reservations for each night. I need that security. Seiryu looks very nice and if Kim had her parents there, we would like it as well. I will need help with these reservations. I looked at the websites Kim recomended, and could only get a small idea of the places. It would help if I know Japanese. I could not figure out the prices...with meals, per person, etc.??? How do I contact them? I am beginning to want to make final plans, I just hate to wait until August. Thanks in advance!!
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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 06:20 PM
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Seiryu - 22 rooms, 2 of which have beds. All have private toilet and bath. Check in 3:00, check out 10:00. Rooms have yukata, bath towel, washing set, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, refrigerator, hot water pot, safe. Public bath has washing sets, shampoo, conditioner, dryer, hair bands, cotton swabs (why they list this....:0)
Public bath open 3:00pm to midnight, and 6:00 am to 8:30. Prices are per person per night, including dinner and breakfast and depend a bit on room size. If you want 4 people in one room, then weekdays are 13,800 yen per person, the night before a holiday or weekend is 15,900 and what they call special (probably high season like New Year or Obon) is 19,050 per person. Two people in one room is 13,800, 14,850 and 15,900 for the smallest size room. Prices for the rooms with beds are 16,950, 19,050, and 21,150. Rooms with beds are for 2 people max. http://www.ryokan-seiryu.co.jp/ryokin.html You can see the price list and a tiny picture of each room type. http://www.ryokan-seiryu.co.jp/ryouri.html shows the meals. The second from the bottom is the breakfast set, which is delicious...on the leaf on the little bbq is a sweet kind of miso which looks quite disgusting but is DELICIOUS with rice and meat and fish and veggies...it's awesome stuff. The top picture shows hida beef steak, which you can get for extra money. The second from the top shows the dinner. The bottom picture is the kids dinner set.

Tanabe and Koto are similarly priced, with similar meals. They also have private baths in the rooms. Niether have any rooms with beds.

To reserve, I'd fax and request fax confirmation. They require deposit usually (though we didn't pay one when we stayed at Seiryu). Seiryu takes credit cards. The other two don't indicate whether they do or not that I can find on their website.

There are places that are in a lower price range...as the price goes down, so does the quality of the bedding (thin futon), meal, service and ambience. If you want a place to sleep and don't want an "experience" then someplace like the Rickshaw or Green Hotel may be fine. Know that they are not deluxe in any way and tend to cater to the young budget minded traveler, like a recent grad on the JET program for a year or two in Japan doing some sightseeing on days off.


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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 06:27 PM
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Elainee - in Nagoya, I recommend the Nagoya Hilton exec floor rooms. The Hilton is located between the station and the main shopping area. The station area is neither particularly nice nor interesting (though we do like the Tokyu Hands department store there). The Marriott is newer but not nicer than the Hilton. I prefer the location of the Hilton. Taxi from the station to the Hilton is dead easy, and costs under 1000 yen. Don't be confused by comparing US Hiltons to Japanese ones....they are in a totally different class iin Japan. The exec floor is great...includes breakfast in the exec lounge, free drinks (including alcohol) all day long unitl 10 pm (or maybe 11), afternoon tea, evening hors d'oevres, the nicest and most helpful staff (who check train schedules and sight hours and give you directions with a smile even when you've already asked them twice before and lost the paper they wrote the info on .
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 04:57 AM
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Stayed in Takayama again last night because I could not get a place in Shirakawago. Used the extra time to visit the Hida no Sato village which I enjoyed more than I expected. Took the bus this morning to Hirayu Onsen (1 hr) and connected after 10 min to a bus to Kamikochi (30 min). Stroll, soak, picture taking in Kamikochi and then a bus to Matsumoto (100 min, I think). Am staying at the Tokyu Hotel. Basic business hotel type single room, clean and modern. I am typing this on the bar of a restaurant a 2 min walk from the Tokyu (the bar is called Peoples).

Last night was at a minshuku in Takayama called Sosuke. Good food. I put all three futons in a pile and slept fairly well. Shared bath again but didnt
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