Continuing on from last week, the second installation of my travels through Japan is our trip to Takayama, a mountainous region to the west of Tokyo.
*As previously mentioned, most of the photos were taken by Tom (you can tell I'm not the photographer by the marked absence of any foodie shots).
The Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of preserved farmhouses. Steep thatched roofs, rice paddies, lush green... sitting on the cool wood floor and listening to the chirping cicadas, it is only too easy to imagine you've slipped into the past by a few hundred years.
Our timing was good, and we were in town for the Tetsuzu (handheld) fireworks festival. On a platform built by the Miyagawa river, a group of men stand in a row holding these massive bamboo fireworks, which they set off and then hold while they are showered with sparks. (Craziness.)
Above: bottles of Ramune (a delightful clear soda that has been around for years) chilling in a wooden trough of frigid mountain water.
My favorite day was our jaunt to the nearby town of Shirakawa-go: more thatched roof farmhouses, blooming cosmos, cucumbers growing plump on vines, and deep green mountains all around.
As you can see, I was a fan of taking a moment to sit on the floor, no matter where we went. When you tour anyplace with wood or tatami floors (houses, temples, castles) in Japan, you remove your shoes, and there is just something so soothing about walking around on stocking feet on the faintly squeaking boards, worn smooth over time.
Next time on Life in Japan: Kyoto.