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Friday, October 30, 2015

JAPAN TRAVEL : WELL PRESERVED OLD TOWN AT TAKAYAMA THE SHOGUN CITY


street in Japan

From Shirakawago, I move on by bus for one hour journey to Takayama where I will take train back to Kanazawa. It was around 2pm and still have time left for me to explore this by the way city of Takayama. Not much that I know about this City in Japan's Gifu Prefecture. It was unplanned exploration.

I took the self tour walking guide map from information counter which near the bus terminal then went to reserve seat for my train ride to Toyama for Kanazawa. I reserve seat for around 5pm train. I think should be enough time for me to walk around this interesting city.

Japanese dolls

Aihhhh!!! Kawaii!

Soba noodles

Late lunch at nearby Japanese Noodle Shop. This is first time I enter this kind of place for meal. I choose Yama-kake Soba which cost me 600 JPY. 

Yama-Kake-Soba is hot soba noodles in bonito broth garnished with grated yam and raw egg. Haih!!! I should have order Sansai Soba which comes with wild greens. Yama-Kake Soba kind of sticky with yam. I still finished my meal because it cost me 600 JPY. Uwaaaaaa!!!! I wish can just put aside that yam and raw egg. My first time eat raw eat in 41 years living. Seriously the photo look like it serve with sunny top fried egg instead of grated yam and raw egg. isk... isk... isk... me... misinterpreted!

I ate under the watchful of that friendly lady. I forced myself to finished it because don't want to be rude to her. She made the noodles with love for me. Lucky the bonito broth was nice. huhuhuhuhu... it really serve to me exactly like in the photo wor! 

grapes and trishaw in Japan

Finished my late lunch , then try to walk using the map on my hand. Ngeeeeee....as usual. I read the map in wrong direction. So end up away from the crowd which is good and bad again. Anyway...I just walk and enjoy my new discovery with open heart and mind.

Miso production

This soy sauce and miso shop also serves hot miso soup and some rice cakes snacks. Seriously...walking around Takayama make me full. I enter every shop with snacks and sample it. Cheapskate snacks buffet! I am so Asian hor?

Thirsty? Don't worry just refill water at nearby spring. Some shop even give you sample of vinegar drinks and even sake. 

street in Japan

I really love spend my whole after noon walking around this narrow streets with lined wooden merchants houses dating to the Edo Period. This is really beautifully preserved old town. Back old days this city was under direct control of the Shogun.

If you visit Takayama during spring and autumn there will be Takayama festival which considered one of Japan's best festivals. This festival going back to at least mid 1600s featuring ornate, gilded floats and puppet shows. I bet this is a blast festivals to attend.

horse statue

Walk around again and discover this old temple. Seriously , I lost track and totally out of track. So just enter because this place look like full of amazing history.

Shinto priestess in temple

Nice place with many trees. The weather was freaking hot here. But I love it because its windy too. So not that bad to walk around enjoy the view and smells the old trace of history.

school boys riding bicycles

Time for me to say goodbye to this well preserved traditional building city. I have good memory here and will treasure it until my times up!

Japanese food

Reached Kanazawa just right for dinner time. Lazy to walk around find for food. I settled with restaurant at the basement near Kanazawa train station. Hot stone seafood bibimbap style. I love this because its rice with lots of seafood top with cheese, sauce then served in hot stone bowl. Just mixed all and delicious dinner ready to eat!

This was my last night at Kanazawa and the next day I woke up early back to Tokyo by Shikansen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

JAPAN TRAVEL : OGIMACHI GASSHO STYLE HOUSES, SHIRAWAGO

village by the hills

Just like painting! Lovely house with golden readily to harvest rice field and beautiful cosmo flowers dancing lively. Smells of fresh air, green vegetable farms and fish ponds readily to accept the life cycles on earth.

Shirakawago has kept the village unspoiled and well preserved for centuries. This area of steep thatched roved farmhouses gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status in year 1995.
.

houses in Japan

How to go to Shirakawago by bus from Kanazawa?


I took Highway Express Bus.
- Kanazawa Station East Exit Bus Terminal Platform 2 . Departs at 8:10am (reservation is required. I just reserved it on the night before my trip)
- Total journey to Shirakawago from Kanazawa is around 1hours and 15 minutes.

flowers

Buy the map from the tourist information center 100 JPY. Then enjoy the walking guide from the map. Cross the bridge to get to the village. Just walk around and enjoy the beautiful view of this village while taking a deep breathe of fresh air.
Gassho-style farmhouses

The people of these Gassho-style or "Praying hands" style farmhouses were cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time and survived the harsh winters through the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silk worms.

flowers and koi fish

Wada house

I visited Wada house which history way back since year 1573. Just pay some entrance fees  which I am not mistaken around 300 JPY. Wada family assumed the role of headman during Edo period and was official at the guard station. This family prosper from its potassium nitrate business. In 1888 Yaemun Wada was appointed the first mayor for this village which make Wada house is the largest of Gassho Zukuri settlement in Shirakawago. mmmmmm.... rich people 's house le.

historical houses

Stepping into this house, one can feel and smells the Edo period sense.

wooden houses

The shiny black ceiling shows how many hundreds of years passed which people lived and earned their livelihood in this place. The horizontal timbers are tied to the sloping vertical timbers using branches of the mansaku tree known as neso. One thing about this type of build up, the roof of Gassho Style house is flexible enough to move with natural forces such as strong wind. Sigh!! who can win the natural forces?   

village houses

After the Wada house, I thought of finding my way to the best view to take photo. But....

Since I am always bad at reading the map. Serious, most of the time I just follow the crowd even one or two people to gain confident that I was at the right place. This time...haihhhh...where were all those crowd??? No time to waste! 

Just walked as I like and end up at this kind of routes. Damn it! I need to watch out for bear some more. OMG!

Nervous! at the same time enjoy the vegetable farms view in front of me.

village

Lovely view! Nobody walked this way though. mmmmm....tried to stay positive.
Good : Peaceful , discover nice view and so far no bear appear in front of me yet
Bad : Did I get lost here? WTH!

flowers

The more I walk, the view getting better and better. I just can't stop appreciating the beautiful scene in front of me.

flowers and fruit

What more can I ask for?
Even if I lost my way...I will be thankful for that. WTH! lol

rural village

Thank God! I found my way. Its just I took a very long detour else where and found better view than other people.



village

Although Shirakawago is designated as World Heritage Site , it is also a living village where people spend their daily lives. So...for us visitors, please respect other people living space.

farm produce

I think I walked longer than other people since I use the toughest routes. WTH! I then found one of the house selling fresh tomatoes from farm. I bought one for 200 JPY. Even a tomato feel so delicious in this environment. Oh Gosh!

That beautiful hanging chilies to chase away evil spirit!

scarecrows in the paddy field

This is one of the cafe sells coffee,  red bean soup and rice cakes. I love the cafe so lovely! But so many people in that small cafe. I cannot enter pack small space . Afraid I cannot breathe! Phobia!

building with vines

I just adore this place from outside. Imagine this is cafe make from cookies and candies. Like the one in Hansel and Gretel story book. Nice eh?

grilled rice cakes and dango

Since I planning to stop at Takayama later which means long way to go....I better grab quick bites. I found this stall selling grilled rice cakes and dango in soyu right across the 'hansel and gretel' cafe. Yummy!!!! 

Bottom right : Lost Cowboy at Shirakawago! This is what I say touring in style. I saw he have gun with him too. WTH! 


village

Time to say goodbye to this beautiful place.I spend half day enjoying the beautiful view of ancient and nature. I really wish this is well preserved till the end. With its old Japan atmosphere, Shirakawago is beautiful anytime of year but many say the best is in autumn and winter. 

To me, wondering around this place is like walking into the fairy tale book, I read during my younger age.

I then took the bus to Takayama and explore another site of Japan. Check out next post!

Few of my readers message me for my Japan itinerary. Don't worry! I will summarize everything in my last post by end of next week.

Monday, October 26, 2015

JAPAN TRAVEL : A WALK TO REMEMBER AT KANAZAWA


Japanese architecture

My feet was still hurt when I reached Kanazawa after exploring and mesmerized with the beautiful nature view of  Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Routes the day before.

This doesn't stop me from exploring Kanazawa city on the next day. If Matsumoto is a city popular with Ninja and Samurai, here at Kanazawa popular with Geisha. They even have Geisha district here.

Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture , on Japan's central Honshu. It's also known for its well preserved Edo Period districts, art museums and regional handicrafts.

statue of a naked woman

Started my morning walking towards the famous market of Kanazawa, The Omi-cho market. This market was established about the middle of the 18th century. A MUST VISIT place if you at Kanazawa. Its operating hours start around 8:00am and end around 5:00pm. There are around 170 stores including sores sell the fresh fish and seafood caught from the Sea of Japan. I seriously go crazy greedy walking around this market. So much food to sample caught my eyes. WTH!

tempura

That tempura is super delicious! I bought one only for my lunch picnic at Kenrokuen Park. I should have bought more.! No point regret. I visited around 4pm thought of buying for dinner, the market has closed. isk isk isk..Even that melon was so sweet and fresh. huhuhuhuh should have bought more.

seafood

This one cannot eat la..so raw. I love sushi but not to this extend eating in the market without even boil it first. Haih!!! I wish I book a studio with kitchenette like in Busan last time. At least can buy this and have some mini steamboat.

seafood

So delicious! I bought this for my picnic. Love the hotate though! Big and super fresh too!

eel
I bought too much edi for my picnic and my bag was super heavy for me to walk around by now. Yeahhhh! that glutton woman bought so many food for lonesome picnic.

soy bean drink

Before start my long walk to Kenrokuen Garden, drink this super authentic soy bean. Boiled the way I want it to be without sugar and thick with the goodness of bean taste. 

Haihhhh! the weather was super hot too. Gosh! its nice to take photo with this weather but not that nice to walk. Freaking sun burn! I was sweating wet by the time reach the garden. Some more end up at the wrong entrance. isk isk isk ...have to walk further is it! Ommmaaaa!!! leg so tired!!!!

Kenrokuen Garden, begun in the 17th century and a famous for it strolling style landscape garden with characteristic of a typical landscape garden of the Edo period (1603-1868). You can't get enough of Kenrokuan garden landscape which has classic landscape designs incorporating ponds and streams. 


wall made of stacked rocks

Adjacent to this Kenrokuen Garden is Kanazawa Castle. See the way they stacked the rocks old fashion built by era. From rough to sleek design rock stacking up for foundation. It still remain strong and preserved until now!

river

I have my picnic on one of the bench under one of the cherry tree over look small stream.It was hot and windy at the same time.Not bad after all. Eating deliciously with the scene of crow bathing in front of me and the others eyeing to share my food.

Crow : Ark ark ark (give me food)
Me : GO AWAY!!! I also not enough...I bought one each only la.
My conversation with crow at Kenrokuen Garden went very well. hehehehe... like this also can hor?

Bottom right : Thats the statue of Prince Yamato Takeru.  

Japanese park

Top right : Gankobashi (Flying Wild Geese) Bridge
This bridge is made of eleven red tomuro stones(andesite) laid out look like wild geese flying formation. It also called 'tortoise shell' bridge because the shape of each stepping stones.

crane

There are many tea house around too. This place is really nice to have a stroll with so many beautiful pines trees, plum groves and beautiful lakes too. If you get lucky can see some wild bird walking around freely and eagles flying above manning the garden.

This garden is actually adjacent to Kanazawa Castle. By this point, my leg almost giving up. My heart was pushing hard to move on. I follow my heart instead! whatever pain , I will bear it later.


Geisha

It was a beautiful afternoon. I visited many palaces in China and Korea, the structured and design almost the same between this  countries. Beautiful carving and colors. Here in Japan I was greeted with less grand plain black and white structure.

girls lying on grass

So relax ar ...this two girls!

Japanese architecture

Top left :Castle store room. Eerie feeling as soon as I enter this place compound. I quickly move away to other place and then end up in small jungle which end up a place where they buried the people who fought for the country during that Maeda era. Gosh!!! seriously??? Scary feeling all over me. WTH!!! 

Bottom left : Hashizume mon Gate - this gate surrounded by stone walls and double fences.

Bottom right : The castle .

five finger socks

As usual when entering castle in Japan need to take off shoes and put it in plastic then carry it around. My five fingers sock bought from store at Asakusa for 300 JPY. Very comfy and not that expensive! A must buy things when in Japan.

Sigh...most ladders are so stiff up too. WTH!

inside a Japanese castle

I love the traditional wooden construction method used to build this castle. It really remain strong. I watched the video shown in the castle on the method of traditional construction. Really interesting! Don't miss this if you visit to Kanazawa Castle. I spend more time here.

watch tower

Bottom left : That the watch tower. See the small window for archerer and also stone dropping slots.
Bottom right : Thats how the structure remain strong.

soft serve ice cream with gold and silver topping

I thought of going to Geisha district but time is getting dark soon. So I end up heading back to hotel. On the way saw this place sells soft ice cream with gold and silver topping. So luxury huh!
Thought of trying this but I unable to take ice cream very well. I just ate green tea ice cream bought from vending machine near the castle moment ago. Second ice cream for the day???? Make me feel sick!

koi fish

Sun going down soon and its getting cold too.

empty street in Japan
Lovely evening view. I like this so much!

gas station


maple leaf on ground

There goes my day at Kanazawa. I need to wake up early the next morning to catch bus to small village of Shirakawa go.

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