Takayama was by far our favorite place in Japan. It reminded me of my Grandparents' town Port Hope, Michigan, but a bit bigger. Takayama is a small town nestled in the Japanese Alps, quaint and unspoiled without being too remote. We didn't see any chain franchises, only family owned stores and restaurants. The grocery store was so small that they didn't accept credit cards (though to be fair, it is difficult to find any place in Japan that accepts anything but cold hard cash). Takayama is home to many Saki breweries, a main tourist draw, and though there were more tourists than in Tsumago we still felt off the beaten path, with nary a giant Chinese tour group to be seen.
A group of four middle school-aged boys stopped us early in the morning in Takayama to ask us some questions for a project they were doing in their English class. They asked us questions like, "Where are you from?" and "Why are you here?" "Do you like Takayama?" They wrote our answers down in Japanese and we assume they would later translate into English for their school work. The last step was a photograph, presumably as evidence that they had indeed found people that looked like they spoke English (check!). We parted ways and Paul and I giggled over how cute they were (Note: After reviewing this post, Paul informed me that he does not "giggle"). We received two hand-made origami paper cranes for our trouble (pictured below).
The saki breweries in Old Town
Paul tried lots of different types of saki!
Everyone biked around town; there were very few cars.
The quaint grocery store that annoyingly did not accept credit cards.
Paul eating a sesame seed treat typical of Takayama and Matcha Tea flavored ice cream.
Kimonos and wooden clog shoes were worn by both tourists and local people