Wake in our Super Hotel at Takayama, D. says the only super thing is the price, to a very dismal morning. After grabbing the chance of a morning shower, down to a disappointing breakfast. D. says that at this price I have no grounds to complain but, I point out that the first time we stayed with this chain it was much better. After breakfast we ask about the car – it is perfectly fine to leave the car where it is until 2 pm. but at an extra cost of 300 yen. This is cheaper than a city car park so, we agree.
Rain suits are necessary for the wet streets of Takayama, as we join several hundred, damp tourists. The tourists are notably from China, Germany, Italy, Korea, and Spain. Plus a few Americans, Aussies and Brits. We rediscover the festival float garages we remembered from 30 years earlier but, have no idea where we stayed. One of these floats, so the note explained, has a doll that represents a boy called Koroko or something like that who was carrying a basket or bucket when a red faced dragon appeared from the basket/bucket and danced angrily. This, to me, begged many more questions.
We enter a few shops but, our wet boots and rain suits make us reluctant to enter many places. There are interesting things to catch the eye, a huge weeping willow, a large, rough carved Maneki Neko, a strange wooden door and, lots of traditional buildings of course. We wander until midday and start thinking about lunch.
Hida beef is the main thing and we check out some overpriced, ramen shops and a couple of, very overpriced, Italian places until we remember we passed a Joyful on our way into town. So we head for the car, set off for Joyful leaving Takayama behind.
On the way to Joyful, we again pass a building, as hideous as it is large, that is the headquarters of some religious group. It has a vast misshapen roof topped tastefully with a giant peach. Someone, I suppose, thought it was a good idea.
Gujo Hachiman 郡上八幡
After lunch, we set off in the direction Gujo Hachiman. This, R.472, is a good road, through a mountain valley, running along a raging torrent of river. Rain is falling steadily for most of the drive and, by 2:30 it seems more like 4:30.
The town occupies a couple of valleys; there is a river and, various bridges and tunnels, a bit like Taketa (Oita pref.) in that respect. We will explore it tomorrow, when the weather promises to be better.
The michi no eki ‘Kokindeju no sato Yamato‘ is busy. A number of camper vans and other, less well-heeled, shachuhaku people already established though it is only 5:45.
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.