Takayama, Japan and Shirakawa-go – A stunning part of this country

The five and a quarter hour journey went quickly from Hiroshima to Takayama via Nagoya. The first part of the journey was on the bullet train and then we changed to the Hida railway and took a most beautiful scenic route to our remote destination.

The roads in Takayama were quiet and flat, the station clean and convenient to our chosen hotel, the Mercure Hida.

The foyer to this hotel felt warm and inviting with natural wood used to create a welcoming feel. The warm welcome, our room and the ambience at that this place were perfect.

We had a short walk before our planned guide arrived for a tour of Takayama. Despite the sleepy pace of life here we noticed how the locals still waited for the green man to cross the empty roads.

We met our guide Lily in the lobby of the hotel at 1pm. She had travelled all the way from Tokyo to be with us.

We walked through the beautiful streets lined with merchant houses, and over the river. The buildings made from the local wood retained their old individual characters – merchant houses, shops, homes and businesses.

We were able to visit the shrines and the Hilda Folk Museum.

Lily was a lovely guide but as the day ended and the temperature rapidly dropped she started to rush the end of the tour as she was not dressed to withstand the cold.

The following day we headed by bus to Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO site. This was once a Samurai village and it is stunning.

The tall barn-like houses used to be maintained by the villagers as a community effort. When the roofs needed work everyone would lend a hand.

We ended our day having an amazing meal in Takayama before getting back to the hotel for an early start back to Tokyo.