Japan Diaries 2: Day 16

Day 16 June 1, 2018

Gifu - Nagano Road Trip Day 2



A pleasant morning to you my dear reader, today is the second day of our Gifu -Nagano Trip. It is also our 16th day in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Early morning Onsen dip at Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan

Today, we plan to explore Takayama City in the morning and then Kamikochi in the afternoon. However, before everything else, I made sure to wake up very early to take one final dip at Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan's onsen because I know that I won't have a chance to do it later as we'd only eat our complimentary breakfast before finally checking out of our ryokan. 

Strictly NO TATTOOs! Read more about Onsen Etiquette HERE.

Time to take a dip!

Unlike last night, I already overcame my embarrassment of being naked in an onsen. I can now walk proudly in front of other men in my birthday suit. How did I do it? I bombarded my head with the idea that these guys do not know who I am and vice versa. I finished my onsen experience at around 5AM. When I got back to the room, my wife and daughter were still sound asleep, so instead of doing nothing, I decided to have an early morning solo stroll of Takayama City

What a great morning view from Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan.

Check out Takayama Old Town without people

I first checked out Takayama Jinya which was across our ryokan and upon discovering that it was still closed, proceeded to Sanmachi Suji District. I first crossed Nakabashi Bridge which was also near our ryokan. After crossing the bridge, It only took me a few minutes to reach the Sanmachi Suji District. It was quite a memorable experience for me as there was a moment that I was the only one strolling the historic streets that morning. I did not miss the chance to take unobstructed photos of the street and the old houses. 

Takayama Station

A look inside Takayama Station
Inside the Takayama Station

Miyagawa River

Afterward, I continued walking toward the Takayama Station to see how it looks like. I then went and checked out the Miyagawa Morning Market and arrived just as the vendors were almost done setting up their stalls. By this time, it started to drizzle so I cut short my solo stroll of Takayama and headed back to Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan

Miyagawa Morning Market

Our breakfast at Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan

It's a feast at Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan!

Yummy!

I arrived just in time for our breakfast. After the meal, we checked out as planned. We then went out to visit the Sanmachi Suji District, thankfully the drizzling stopped and we were able to enjoy walking around the historic district. By this time, the stores were opening one by one so we did not waste the opportunity to buy some souvenirs and try out some local delicacies. 

Check out the size of those sake bottles

Checking out Takayama's famed sake

Ice cream break - Ella w/ Ms. Taeko and Mr. Toshi

I was hoping that we could still check out the historic Takayama Jinya before leaving but was disappointed to find out that it was still closed after our stroll around Takayama's Old Town. Mr. Toshi suggested an alternative destination which is the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan or the Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall. 

Let's go inside the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan

Check out those floats

The floats as seen from the second floor

The Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan houses some of the floats used during the famous Takayama Festival. Aside from the well crafted and beautifully decorated floats, we also got to watch some documentary videos of the festival and learned more about the history and culture of the city. Afterward, we got to check out the one-tenth replica of the Nikko-Toshogu exhibit in the Sakurayama Nikko Kan which is in the hall beside the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan.

Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

The purification fountain of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

It was such a delight to discover that the exhibition halls were in the vicinity of the historic Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine. Of course, I did not waste the opportunity to get a goshuin there for my collection. We bid farewell to Takayama City after this and then drove to our next destination which is Kamikochi. 

Kamikochi

Kamikochi is located in Nagano Prefecture which is 50 kilometers away from where we were. About halfway there, Mr. Toshi gave me the opportunity to drive his car to the jump-off point at Sawando. From there, we transferred to a taxi which brought us to Kamikochi. Just a heads up, access to Kamikochi on a private car is under legal control throughout the year. You can reach the place by bus or by taxi. 

Time to eat lunch at Kappa Shokudo

Ready to explore Kamikochi

Family picture!!!

What do you see Ella?

I wonder what they were checking out at the banks of the Asugawa River.

Gotta love Kamikochi!

We checked out Kamikochi Imperial Hotel

Before exploring Kamikochi, we treated our Japanese family to lunch at Kappa Shokudo (Restaurant). The restaurant has a great view of the Hodaka Mountain Range which gives it a great ambiance. After finishing our meal, we checked out the Kappabashi Bridge and took photos of the beautiful snow-laden mountain range while walking along the Asugawa River Route

Nakaokogen Hotel Kazaguruma

Our room for the night

Dinner time at Nakaokogen Hotel Kazaguruma!

Our last stop for our Kamikochi trip was the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel where Mr. Toshi and I talked about its history while waiting for a taxi that will bring us back to Sawando's parking area where we left the car. From there, we drove to Nakaokogen Hotel Kazaguruma on the outskirts of Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture.

The onsen in our room. How cool is that!


Overall, I started and ended my day with a dip in an onsen. I was happy to discover that we had an onsen inside our room and so without hesitation, I made sure to take a dip in it before calling it a day. That, my dear reader, is the perfect way to end Day 16 in Japan

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Comments

  1. Oh wow - as usual this looks amazing!! I love your posts!

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    1. Thank you so much Ashli. =) I really appreciate your comment.

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  2. The no tattoo sign is interesting! I wouldn't be able to go to a spa like that as I have several tattoos. It looks like a wonderful trip and it sounds like everyone has been having fun.

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    1. Tattoos and onsen really does not mix. However, there are some liberal establishments which allows foreigners with tattoos to take a dip.

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  3. What a wonderful journey. I loved seeing the pictures your shared and reading about the places you guys explored. Than you for sharing your experience. I would love to visit one day

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. Please do check out my up coming articles. =)

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  4. Wow, nice story indeed! I hope to visit Japan very soon!

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    1. Thank you. I do hope you'd get to visit this wonderful country soon. =)

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  5. This looks like such an awesome experience! I hope to one day travel to Japan!

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  6. I love how open you are to sharing your personal experiences!

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  7. Beautiful beautiful photos! Makes me want to visit Japan. I love that breakfast spread, it looks so decadent.

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    1. Thank you Cendu. =) You should visit Japan. You'd surely love what the country has to offer.

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  8. What a beautiful experience. I wish to take my family to Japan soon.

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  9. Everything looked so beautiful. It’s so interesting seeing a city empty with no people. I’m glad you shared your experience!

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    1. Thanks Janay. Most places are like this. The only super crowded place that I have seen in Japan is Osaka City and metropolitan Tokyo.

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  10. Oh wow. What amazing pictures. Seems like a great trip.

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  11. Your blog is awesome. I can’t imagine going to Japan. I just got my passport though so maybe someday.

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    1. I do hope you get to visit this wonderful country. =)

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  12. Wow such an enjoyable family day! It is nice to have a long walks in the country side. And of course, a good onsen time after.

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  13. I have never been outside of my country so reading travel blogs keep me informed on what's out there when the time comes for me to explore. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Please do visit Japan when you can. It's one of the best destinations outside the Philippines. =)

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  14. Sounds like you really enjoyed this trip. I see there are lots of places to visit and the meal sounds delicious too. Room looks so neat and clean. I always like to stay this kind of places. I would try plan my next visit there

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    1. I'm happy to hear that. The food in Japan is really something that I look forward tasting. Someday I'd write a food article about Japan. =)

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  15. one of my close friends and her family are visiting Japan in June. I have shared your blog with her.

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  16. The onsen experience is quite funny. Looks like you had loads of fun!

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  17. Glad you enjoyed Takayama and Kamikochi. I been to Kamikochi once and it is so beautiful in the fall!

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    1. I agree. How I wish I'd get the chance to see it again either on a fall or winter someday.

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  18. Waoo looks like you are having a Great time in Japan.. I would love to visit 🤗

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  19. Looks like a great journey and you had great fun!

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  20. I must say, it's a very detailed and well researched post about Japan

    Thanks for sharing.

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  21. Your family is so cute and this seems like a beautiful experience!

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  22. The sake bottles are humongous ! I love going to Japan. Looks like you all had a great time

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    1. Hahahaha Yeah it was. Please do visit Takayama City when you revisit Japan someday.

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  23. JaoJa is a beautiful place to be !!! I can make out from your pictures that you have enjoyed every bit of it. Those floats look so royal !!! Impressive write up too !!!

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    1. Thank you my friend. Japan really is a beautiful place to be. Thanks again for visiting my blog.

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