A Getaway to the Mountains

A getaway in the mountains

When I left you yesterday my dear readers I was about to embark on some crane making while watching some World Cup. Well you will be all pleased to know that I have perfect the fine art of crane folding.

Getting the hang of it

Here is my first bunch (thanks to great Youtube instructions). By my 20th crane I was a machine. So I popped them all in a bag ready to deliver in the morning on the way to the train station.

So morning arrived, and yep, it was still pouring. But on I popped the backpack, made a detour past the Children’s Memorial to drop off the cranes, jumped on a tram and jumped on my first of three trains. Destination Takayama.

Now this is a different Japan

Going to Takayama consisted of a shinkansen to Osaka, change to another shinkansen to Nagoya (not sure why I couldn’t get one straight through), and then my first train heading north. And what a trip. In hardly anytime we had left the city and were working our way up through mountains and gorges. While the shinkansen is cool, this was something else.

2 and half hours later and I arrived in Takayama. Takayama was a bit of a wildcard on my to do list. It lacked the “must do” elements of my last ports, but promised a small quaint town in the mountains. Checking in to my hostel and dropping my bag off I found this was indeed true. Even my hostel room oozed ancient charm…

Not bad for a cheap hostel room hey Carmel

Takayama is a world away from the cities of Kyoto and Hiroshima. Undeniably Japan, but the old is not separated by city. This is all town. Given it was late in the afternoon I just wanted to acquaint myself with the town a little (and start to sample some of the local sake). As would have it most things were shutting up about 6 anyway.

Old town

So a quick bit of wandering the old streets and it was time for some more public bathing. This time in a proper onsen. This was not a beautiful moutain top onsen, but at least it was a big bath house with natural spring waters. After a few wet days it was nice to soak.

So here I am typing up, preparing for a big world cup game between Germany and England. I have this to keep me company though…

I won't care who wins

I am sure it is not the top quality sake, but my taste test was alright. And for only 400 yen ($5) for 300ml it will do quite nicely.


  1. AyakoGlen
    June 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I’m sure you didn’t care who won if you drink that bottle (even small in size)

  2. AyakoGlen
    June 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I’m sure you didn’t care who won if you drank that bottle (even small in size)

  3. Michael M
    June 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Just got the postcard.

    The castle looks massive.

    Watch out for those monkey viruses.


    Michael M(onkey).

  4. Carmel D
    June 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Your talents are wasted – you should be a travel writer Matt. Not sure about that hostel though and … as for the public bathhouse ..!


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