Japan 2017 day eleven: Takayama

We were up early for our hotel breakfast. Despite it now being my second encounter I still wasn’t used to the experience of curry at breakfast. It did the job of filling me up though and we were soon on our way to the station to catch our 8.30am train to Takayama.

Takayama had caught my eye whilst researching Japan for our first trip, described as ‘Kyoto in the alps’. it seemed a pretty magical place. Ultimately we hadn’t been able to fit it into the itinerary due to its location in the mountainous Gifu prefecture which wasn’t entirely quick to reach. However whilst planning this trip that was the first place to go on the list!

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The whole train journey took 5 hours and this involved a change in Kobe. Whilst at Kobe I couldn’t pass up the chance to try their infamous beef and from the station I got some kind of beef stick to try. It was divine beyond belief! I think Kobe will have to be on the next itinerary.

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As we left Kobe the landscape started to change as we headed into the mountains. It become just the most beautiful journey. We followed the river through the mountains, weaving in and out, looking out onto rice field terraces. It felt like we were seeing ‘real Japan’. It was certainly the most rural area we’d ventured too.

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Arriving at 2pm we made our way to our hotel, The Country Hotel Takayama, which couldn’t be any more conveniently located, being right outside the station. Once again we’d got ourselves a twin room in order to get a bit more space. The hotel was comfortable, clean and with friendly staff.

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After dropping off our bags we went for a little stroll around the town, the weather was nice but it was noticeably chillier than it had been in other places. The sun was shining and we were able to dip in and out of the quaint little shops. I picked up a punnet of strawberries and munched my way around. The town was quiet, we didn’t see that many people and many of the restaurants appeared closed.

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Whilst in Takayama I wanted to experience the famous Hida beef. The beef is local to the prefecture and is the specific name given to black-haired cows raised in the area. It’s a very high quality beef that is said to rival Kobe.

When we visited Kyoto on our last trip we found many of the restaurants in the old merchant houses were reserved for the night. Takayama has a very similar old district, full of traditional houses, so I wanted to ensure ourselves a place. As a result I used the website ‘Savour Japan’ to make a reservation at the restaurant, Miyabi An.

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We really had such an amazing meal there. There was just so much food. I had the Hida beef set and Adam had a duck meal. It worked out at about 2000 yen each (£14) and that included beer so it was beyond good value. Mrs Miyabi, who runs the restaurant with her husband, were so friendly and welcoming and despite not having a strong hold of English they tried hard to communicate.

Our first impressions of Takayama was so positive, everything I’d heard about it was true. There is no view I like more than a mountain view and there were such beautiful houses. I was looking forward to the next few days very much!!

Steps walked: 11,257

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