posted on Thursday, September 08, 2005


I reached Kyoto at 19.30 after a very interesting day spent visiting Takayama main sites. The good impression I had walking in the centre the previous evening were confirmed. Unlike most japanese cities often a sequence of anonimous modern building blocks and entangled wires, Takayama still managed to maintain its charm and its centre is very much like it would have been before progress transformed Japan. I began my visit in Yoshijima-ke one of the two main old merchant houses, a japanese interior design jewel now open to the public. This was a fine example indeed. After strolling around the quaint historic part with little alleys and open air markets I set off to visit Hida no Sato. This is on top of a hill surrounded by forests and it consists o fold country farm houses called 'Gassho Zukkuri' as found in the Hida region around 1500-1700. About 15 such houses were relocated in order to preserve them for future generations. They are now skattered around a lake and a walking trail lets wander through time as you walk into each one of them. I lost count of all the pictures I took and as I was not thinking to visit here it seemed a blessing to have changed my mind I would have really missed something special. At three o'clock I was in the train station carpark absorbed in the art of bike dismantling to please JR rails and be able to transfer to Kyoto. This trip has already been so rich in sights and experiences that I hardly believe the main sights of Kyoto, Nara and Mount Koya still lie ahead!