My Japanese Adventures – The Sensational Sakura Safari (Part VI – Takayama)
August 27, 2012
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Having bid a fond farewell to Kanazawa, Dad and I hopped another shinkansen to Takayama and we were both a little excited. Our accommodation in Takayama would be a ryokan (Japanese Inn) called Honjin Hiranoya, a place I had booked in order to experience the more traditional Japanese side of accommodation. The train eased into the station and we disembarked, heading out the front to meet our transfer and after a short wait, a car arrived and the friendly driver had us promptly comfortable and on our way. As we entered the ryokan, we were welcomed by our hosts as though we were old friends.
After the paperwork had been taken care of, we were shown to our rooms and given a tour. There are some experiences in life that you will always remember and if you get the chance – make a stay in a ryokan one of them! Our friendly hostess would be dedicating herself to my father and I whilst we were guests at their establishment and every afternoon she would welcome us back from our day out with a green tea and a local sweet to help us relax. That was just the tip of the luxurious iceberg!
Rocking my yukata – traditionally.
We were given our own yukata to wear whenever we were in the ryokan if we were so inclined (we were SO inclined, see above) and we would be treated to fabulous breakfast feasts in our own special dining room, or taken out to one of the best restaurants in town for a delectable dinner. Our comfortable futon beds would be made while we were out at dinner and packed away again while we were at breakfast and in general we would be treated in a similar fashion to royalty. Everyone at the ryokan took great pleasure in making us feel as though we were the most important people in town.
I had chosen this ryokan primarily because it looked great on the web and partially because it was perfectly placed as the base of operations for our walking needs. My dad’s not really the public transport type, preferring to discover new places on foot and take his time meandering around city streets. There was plenty to do in Takayama too; we had arrived a couple of days before the bi-annual festival of floats! Soon the small town would be overrun with tourists coming to one of the most popular spectacles in Japan – the population would actually almost triple due to the influx of visitors!
And so we explored the town, finding our bearings and identifying locations that warranted greater inspection. After a long day of walking and sightseeing we returned to the ryokan and were greeted with smiles and a hot cup of green tea before showering, changing and heading down to dinner (where my dad found a brilliant little table-top hibachi grill that he regrets not buying from the gift store in the foyer). After enjoying a wonderful meal, we retired for the evening to plan the following day and to make sure we had enough rest!
I will readily admit that I absolutely loved my ryokan experience. What did my dad think? You tell me…