We had an easy train trip to Hakone and on arrival were encouraged to buy a two day Hakone pass. We bought one each not thinking we would get great value from it, but it turned out to be worth it.
|Mt.Fuji from Lake Ashi|
It was getting late-ish and as we hadn’t ordered dinner at our accommodation we looked for a place to eat. All the eateries we saw around lunchtime were closed. We finally found a funny little place some sort of steak café. I was sure there was something else around but not knowing where to look we decided to eat there. Obviously it was a pretty ordinary meal. When we finished and left the placed closed.
Back to our ryokan and we had booked a private onsen, which proved to be very relaxing.
|Jinja Shrine Hakone|
From here we took the cable car to Hakone Open Air Museum. This is a wonderful and surprising place with an impressive array of 19th and 20th century sculptures which include works by Henry Moore, Rodin and Miro. There is also an excellent Picasso Pavilion. It is certainly well worth the visit as there is much to see. It was getting late but we decided to go to Miyanoshita as they
|Hakone Open air Museum|
We left early and caught the bus back to the station to catch the train to Takayama.
Our hotel was across the road from the station, which was great. Then we went to explore the town which has retained its traditional charm. Its present layout dates from the 17th century and there are a huge museums, galleries and temples, too many to do justice to in such a brief visit.
Our first stop was Hida Kokubun-ji was originally Takayama’s oldest temple which was constructed in the 8th century. This was later destroyed by fire and the oldest present building dates from the 16th century. In the courtyard there is a three-storey pagoda and a very impressive old gingko tree 1,200 years old. We wandered in and out of the interesting ‘old’ streets. There are quite a few sake breweries in the town.
|Typical Takayama street|
That night we decided to go to a Hida beef restaurant, the beef is like waygu as it marbled. On our way there I managed to trip over, and not only hurt my dignity but my hand. I had blood pouring from my finger. We were passing a pharmacy so popped in to get some band aids. Not only did I get those but the chemist bathed my hand, applied antiseptic cream and attached the band aids. I was most impressed.
The meal turned out to very enjoyable. There are many Hida beef restaurants to choose from and suspect they’re all much the same.
The next day we went the morning market a mixture of produce and crafts, markets like this are always interesting. We then wandered to the hill behind the town to what we thought was Teramachi & Shiroyama-koen where there is a marked walking path, unfortunately we lost our way, but found some interesting shrines behind which was the cemetery.
We returned to town and stopped to have a coffee at Tsutaya Café, a wonderful little coffee shop which had old vinyl records, reel to reel tapes and played wonderful old jazz. Coffee was served in quality china cups. It is run by a husband and wife and also sells leather goods made by the man. Altogether a really it is delightful place to relax and a drink coffee or tea.
After refreshments we went Takayama Museum of History and Art which has 14 themed exhibition rooms relating to local history, culture, literature and the arts. No all exhibits have English labels but overall it is very informative.
|Hida Folk Village|
|One display in Art Deco Museum|