Takayama

Today was my only full day in Takayama, and thanks to Typhoon Francisco (who thankfully veered back towards the Pacific) it was raining. A lot. The rivers are gushing but so far no flooding. My shoes are soaked again and may return to Hawaii that way (took four days and a hair dryer to almost approach dryness last time). But rain or no rain, it was a fantastic day! And here is why:

auntie

These are photos from my iPhone, so not fantastic. But this is the woman who greets me in the mornings and evenings at Sumiyoshi Ryokan. I asked to take this picture and she joked “very antique!”. She’s got a great sense of humor and is very easy, very funny, and very warm.

tea

This woman was staffing the Yoshijima Heritage House. She offered tea to me and a couple who was also touring the house, who just happened to be from Hawaii. As we talked we learned a bit more about Takayama, about how the tourist shops on the main historic street were bought out mostly be people not from Takayama, even some Yakuza. She had some distinct opinions about the importance of education too (and is a huge fan of Malala). She pointed us to some shops that were owned by Takayama artisans, and also to a fantastic noodle shop just down the street.

panorama2

Stitched panorama of the Yoshijima House. Two stories with soaring rafters. The Yoshijima’s used to brew and sell sake. There is another house just down the road also known for its architecture (Kusakabe Heritage House). Both are stunning, but this one is perhaps a little more stylish.

panorama

Another panorama of the Yoshijima House.

udon

This was from the noodle shop that the woman who served us tea had recommended. I ordered udon with carmelized herring. Delicious!

weavers

And this was the couple who weaved and sewed and owned a shop across from Yoshijima House. He did a lot of weaving, and she sewed (and I think did some weaving too). I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of their work. Their son is having his honeymoon in Hawaii soon. This is their website: http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~warabe8/

birds

The real art in Takayama is not on the main historic (i.e tourist) street. These were some beautiful birds being exhibited at a local gallery (http://www.nunoyama.jp/Pages/default.aspx). Everyone who walked in was offered some tea and chocolates.

blurry

This is a very blurry photo of me and the man who makes the birds. He and his wife live in Takayama City.

bangohan

Off the hook dinner (bangohan) at Sumiyoshi Ryokan. The food here is perhaps just as good as at Iseya, and an even better match for me. I stuffed myself silly. I’ve had the opportunity to sample a lot of miso soup on this trip and Sumiyoshi’s has a nice smoky flavor to it.

kampai1

Kampai!

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