Day 72, November 2016,
Wake later than usual, about 8am at michi no eki Himi, so we are well rested. We walk to the sea front, basically across the road, to see the view that was one reason for coming here. Namely, the snow capped mountains rising straight out of the sea. That is, appearing to rise out of the sea, if you get closer there is the city of Toyama and a lot of industry to destroy the illusion. From Noto Peninsula it really seems that the snowy peaks rise out of the sea. We can see the mountains and get the idea but, it is a little too hazy for the striking image.
Nanao, Noto Peninsula
We make our way up Noto Hanto to Nanao, a fishy town , where we look at a fish market. Across the water the distant mountains are clearer but nothing like sharp. The peaks are visible, glinting in the sunlight as it has become a very warm, sunny day.
We arrived in Nanao by way of a highway, which is free, but decide to return by the regular coast road.
After grabbing a picnic from a convenience store, we lunch on a beach with a view of the distant peaks across the water. This is obviously a swimming beach in summer as evidenced by the lifeguard towers but, deserted now.
To wind our way back to Takayama, we decide to take the highway past Shirakawago .The highway, we think, will provide a more relaxed drive and time to enjoy the view. On this trip, we tend to avoid highways, whenever possible, so this choice is out of character. In the event this involves driving through constant tunnels and, after one tunnel of 9 km., we abandon the highway.
So, exiting the highway at Shirakawago, we return to the regular road through the mountains to Takayama. We pass the rock fill dam (Miboro dam) that we had noticed on the outward trip. Interesting, as we had never seen a dam of such construction before.
A little after 4pm., we arrive in Takayama and after checking in, at our Super Hotel, take a walk around the old town.
It is getting dark and everything is closing but, there are a large number of people on the street mostly western or Chinese tourists. As we continue to wander, the streets become increasingly dark. Night fell a while ago but more and more shops are now shutting up for the night and turning off their lights. We begin to worry about finding somewhere to eat, maybe a repeat of Tsuwano where all the bars had closed by 8pm and we had to buy dinner in 7-11.
Luckily, we find a regular izakaya, one not specializing in the local beef, open until late. We return to our hotel to plug in, recharge, or download assorted electronic media (obviously not my department) and then return to the izakaya – “Murasaki” – which is deserted as we walk in.
This is a happy choice as the quality of the food is good. As we eat and drink the place begins to fill up not only with people but, unfortunately, smoke. We walk back to our hotel and I write this. Tomorrow we plan to explore Takayama more fully and hope the hotel will permit us to leave the car where it is, at least, until lunchtime.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.