Takayama, or not?

Aug 25th, 2008, 01:03 PM
  #1  
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Takayama, or not?

I was all set to include Takayama on my tentative Japan itinerary - the scenery (mountains!) sounded lovely, and I was interested in the Hida Folk Village, the Folkcraft Art Gallery, the merchant houses and the netsuke museum. Then I read a post from KimJapan, whose opinion I respect, saying how touristy it is.

So, I'll be heading south from Kyoto - is the scenery to the south just as good? Is there somewhere less touristy - but not too hard to reach by public transport in November - that would be a good substitute?
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 01:30 PM
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KimJapan is right that Takayama is touristy. So is Kyoto.

It is worth visiting for the reasons you gave, except that I don't remember it to be particularly scenic. But it is a nice break from the big cities of Tokyo and Kyoto.

Takayama is a city and not a mountain village (Shirakawago is a (touristy) mountain village). Very walkable, except that you would bus up to the Hida no Sato and then could walk back.

But the answer to your question, "Takayama or not", depends on where else you are going.

I'm going to finish this reply in your thread about Nara, Nikko, ...
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 02:52 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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I enjoyed Takayama and am very glad that I saw it, but I think I enjoyed Kanazawa more. The views were better in Takayama, but there were some lovely views of distant mountains from Kanazawa, and Kanazawa also has Kenrokuen, a lovely teahouse/garden (Gyokusen), a very good museum of crafts (Ishikawa Prefectural Museum for Traditional Products and Craft), etc. But both places have things that are well worth seeing!
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Aug 25th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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That's a very interesting suggestion, kja. I'd be visiting Takayama - or Kanazawa - between Tokyo and Kyoto, and I had been thinking it would take longer to get to Kanazawa - but turns out it's shorter. I am very much a mountain fan, though. BTW, thanks for the info on the netsuke museum you posted on the other thread, despite what's in the guide books it does seem to be defunct, although there is something called Ichii Itto Carvings Hall, which may be a substitute (tinyurl.com/5aelfd).
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Aug 25th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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mountain fan. Then consider going straight across: Tokyo- Matsumoto- Kamikochi- Takayama- Shirakawago- Kanazawa.
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Aug 25th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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mrwunrfl - I had thought about Tokyo- Matsumoto- Takayama- Kyoto, but I wasn't sure that the buses would be running in November. (And although I'm a mountain fan, I'm a hiker, not a skier!)
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Aug 28th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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I liked Takayama but it was about 12 years ago when I was there. But in November 2006, we went to a beautiful mountain area with wonderful Ryokans and Onsen about 2 hours west and slightly north of Tokyo over Thanksgiving. No trouble getting there at that time as it does not snow there til much later. And the foliage was great.

These beautiful Ryokans are at Onsens (hot springs): Chojukan at Hoshi onsen and Osenkaku at Takaragawa Onsen. Chojukan is a stunning Ryokan with beautiful old wood buildings set among a beautiful stream. The antique buildings and setting indoors and outdoors are wonderful and they provide wonderful Kaiseki dinners in your room. Here the bath is indoors in an antique bath house. Osenkaku Ryokan is not as beautiful a building but the Onsen is a stunning outdoor pond in an incomparable setting by a rushing river with rising steam all outdoors. We spent one night and almost a full day in each and that was wonderful.
You could take the bullet train from Tokyo to Jomo Kogen (less than 2 hours) station then take small local buses from there. Both are available through japan guest houses but you can email them directly for info especially at Chojukan. Here's a website with photos of Takaragawa onsen: http://www.anatol.org/projects/rachel/springs.html

Email Noriko Okamura at Chojukan at Hoshi onsen at: [email protected]
Email Osenkaku at Takaragawa Onsen at: [email protected]
Chojukan photos: http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/d...a/chojukan.htm

We spent one night at one and then the next night at the other and then back to Tokyo and I found that perfect. There's really only the spa, hiking, and relaxing in your spartan room in these places. The scenery is very pretty. Keep in mind that once you get to Jomo Kogen you will have to figure out which if these very local buses to get on to get to your destination but we managed to get the people at the train station to point out the right bus to us.
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Aug 28th, 2008, 11:51 PM
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There were hikers at Kamikochi and some easy walking when I was there, but it was May. I checked a bus schedule for Takayama to Shin Hotaka Onsen. It looks like there are just a couple of runs a day between Kamikochi and Hirayu Onsen but they end Oct 31.

That is not to say that bus transport is not available.at that time. There would be hiking but I think you could expect snow and cold.

I did go to Shirakawago in January. The road from Kanazawa to S-go was closed so I had to go to Takaoka to get the bus into the mountains. There was "only" four feet of snow on the ground but it was a wonderful place to visit. The Koemon minshuku, where I stayed, had boots for guests to use for getting around the village. I was the only guest that day. In the evening the family (mother, daughter of about 20, father) and I went to a nearby town for dinner and then for a soak. She drove in the snow at a pretty good clip. The snow removal effort on the roads in that area was impressive.

But yes, it may be too late to go up there for hiking in November.
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Aug 28th, 2008, 11:53 PM
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Actually, the Kanazawa-Shirakawago road may have been open (pretty sure it was now that I think about it). But the (seasonal) bus on that route was not running.
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Aug 30th, 2008, 09:12 AM
  #10  
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Thanks so much for the info. Unfortunately, I've pretty much decided that the Japan-Taiwan trip I was planning is too much (in several senses) for this year, and am now thinking about a shorter trip to Morocco. Maybe next year.
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