This is quite an wonderful experience to pick Takayama which lead me to Toyama and the local train JR train rides. Not doubt the local trains are slower, but it is so comfortable..so soothing. Yes, it is actually presently relaxed to see pretty mountain and rice fields slowly passed by rather then rushing through on Shinkansen. Some local train looked like they were built in the 70’s. The operation was very manual. It is quiet interesting to see the train driver signalling with various hand gestures. I really wonder if anyone will see those signal and why does he has to do that when apparently no one is looking at him?!
Anyway, another thing I love about local train is how close to nature I can be. No AC, just an old fan with nature breeze. The not too hot nor cold and still raining a bit just feel totally like home. Since I am visiting smaller than, the air quality is so much better. People also walk a lot slower too =P I shouldn’t say slow, but definitely not in constant ready to jump mode like Tokyo.
I find so much commonality from Japanese small town to Vancouver that I think I have found the third country I am willing to live for long term. Of course Canada is the first country, then Germany and now Japan. I actually found the ride to Takayama was more memorable than the visit of the city. I will not recommend other to see the highly hyped “Hida Folk Village”. Even the entrance fee was reasonable for the amount of stuff you see. Actually I consider that’s cheap for the time you could have spent in there. However, I don’t have enough culture background to understand and appreciate the history and item it was showing. The house was very dark an a bit scary to walk in when I was the only person in that house. On the other hand, the walk to morning market was absolutely delightful and highly recommended. It was interesting to see local craft, fruit & veggie and the unexpected sight of wild life in the river next to the morning market. Takayama reminded me of Nagasaki because both be are so extremely touristy. Though I am leaving Takayama loving that place unlike Nagasaki which I found unbearable.
After checking out Tokyo and Osaka, you MUST visit the smaller city/town in Japan. You should see those two exciting big cities without doubt, but the smaller city is just totally adorable and you are likely going to fall in love with it once you allow yourself to slowly absorb into the surrounding (both the people and face). Knowing basic Japanese or at the very least being able to recognize Kanji is necessary to travel to those places though.
Oh yes, met couple very nice persons during today’s trip. An middle age man who was travelling likely with his wife were so interested in my travel plan he dropped by to ask to take a picture with me. Too bad my Japanese is so limited that I couldn’t carry any meaningful conversion. Otherwise, it would have been really fun to find out more about his background and where he is from. The other nice person was a small snack shop middle age lady along the road to Hida Folk Village. Bought a cheap and pretty tasty grilled mochi smothered with miso paste. The mochi was a bit more grainy that the other mochi that I’ve tried, but I actually like the texture. The miso sauce was very favourful. That lady was very friendly and helped me to take a picture while I was eating I was eating the mochi. Both the people and the environment of smaller town is so attractive and charming.