AMC The Walking Dead Saypra’s travel in Japan (Sorry still had the AMC voice in my head and with the jet lag I felt a big like a walking dead during my first days ).
On the way from Tokyo to Takayama, I had my first chance to travel in a Shinkansen, the high speed japanese train. The train is a bit larger than a normal train, with 3 seat on one side of the corridor and 2 on the other.
There is a huge amount of place for the legs (you can almost put 2 Saypra on 1 seat) and a separate power plug for every seat. Yeah! 🙂
For the night in Takayama, I booked a room in a buddhist temple, the Zenkoji temple, which is also functioning as an inn, to get money for the building maintenance.
This time, I checked on google who was operating this temple, not to be suprised like in Tokyo by the proselitism of a radical group.
The temple has good reviews on different guides and i couldn’t find anything suspicious. Everything’s fine.
I get a room just next to the main prayer room. This is a japanese style room with a futon bed on the ground. It is quite nice but not so warm, as the walls are paper walls, but the blanket is an electric warming one.
After a short walk in the city center and a stop at a small supermarket, I come back home to have dinner. In the kitchen, I meet 2 friendly french girls Alice and Annemarie. After discussing a bit, we get along quite well and decide to explore the Hida No Sato village together the next day.
On our way to the Hida No Sato village, we take some time to explore the morning market. The market is very nice and we can see several handcrafters selling their own creation.
The city center is also very nice. There are several streets only with wooden houses.
The Hida Folk village is an open air museum reproducing an entire traditional mountain village. The particularity of the houses is the roof with a curved V form, made to withstand the snowweight by heavy snowfalls.
After a last coffee with my travel buddies, I walk a bit in the temple district and take the train to Kanazawa.
The funny thing is that the reserved seat cars are almost full whereas I’m alone in my non-reserved seats car.
My first challenge in Kanazawa is to find the room I booked on AirBnB. It is very close to the touristic attractions, however it is a bit far from the train station.
In the AirBnB description, the host recommends to take a bus to reach the flat in about 10-15 minutes. I follow the bus signs to arrive at the bus station and live my first real lost in translation experience 🙂
The station names are all in japanese and nobody I asked if it was the right bus to go to Nomachi was speaking english. I try to take a quick look in google maps but it doesn t know the address given on AirBnb.
As it is not so late (19:30), I decide to walk to the station next to the flat and hope that people there will be able to help me.
It takes me about 45 minutes to get to the Nomachi station by foot. Arrived there I try to call my host, but my f* phone tells me that it can’t connect to the network. Same for SMS.
I walk a bit to try to find a map and I ask somebody about the address. The man points me in a direction but explains me that he s not sure because he’s from Tokyo and not very familiar with this area.
I tell him never mind, I will ask somebody else or one of the hotel in the street. The guy has no clue but really wants to help, so he tells me to follow him. He types something on his mobile phone and we walk around something like 1/2 minutes. Finally he gives up and takes to a bar we saw to ask for further help.
The bar is a wine bar and is proposing to taste the famous “Beaujolais Nouveau Primeur 2015”, the luxury wine from France 🙂 The waitress is speaking a very good english and so after I explain my situation, she calls my host to ask for better directions.
After 10 minutes, she comes back with a plan drawn on a small piece of paper and explains me how to reach my flat. This time, the explanation is clear and I can finally check in the flat.
On the next day, my visit starts with the Oyama Shrine. There is a small celebration with kids wearing traditional clothes. They are so proud to take photos with their parents in kimono or samurai clothes.
On the way to the samurai district, I hear some kids shouting, one seeming to give some instructions and the others simply acknowledging in a sir yes sir way.
I move towards the shouts in a side alley to arrive a school and realise that what I was hearing was some kids training baseball. So cool.
I stay a bit to watch their warm up and some of the exercices. I am really impressed by the commitment and the discipline of the boys.
The Nagamuchi Samurai District is a small area where houses were renovated to be the way they were during the samourai era in the 17th century. The houses are quite small but they hide some very nice garden.
After this, I spend some time walking around in the Kanazawa castle parc and the Kenroku-en Garden. The parc is huge and simply beautiful with autumn colors.
At around 4pm, after a coffee break, I decide to go to the 21st century museum of contemporary art before meeting Annemarie (who I met in Takayama) for dinner.
By chance, I met Annemarie at the entrance and we visit the museum together. There are 2 very interesting exhibitions, one about the interaction between the different cultures around the world, and one about the frontier between the reality and the digital world (my geek side liked this part particularly).
After a nice dinner where we had squid and different skewers (sorry for my fitness trainers in Lausanne, but I tried one with only chicken skin with soya sauce, super fat), we decide to try the bar where the waitress helped me the day before to try a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau. Unfortunately, we forgot that it was a national bank holiday and unfortunately found out that the bar was closed.
That s all for Kanazawa, I am now in the train to Kyoto.