22nd December 2012.
One of the most memorable moments in Takayama is the stroll to the river in the morning. I found myself stepping into a surreal looking winter landscape as the banks of the river was partially shrouded in the morning mist, the wintery setting of quaint looking houses, naked trees covered with white snow and the icy cold waters of Miyagawa flows peacefully, allowing a beautiful reflection of the surrounding winter landscape to be casted on its calm waters.
We also visited the morning markets, there is one located in front of the Takayama Jinya while the better known one is located along the river and hence named the Miyagawa Morning Market. The market sells mostly agricultural produce such as fruits, pickled vegetables, herbs and spices.
The Old Town areas of Takayama covers small area of the city itself and it is possible to walk around the whole old town district with ease.
In comparison to the machiyas of Kyoto, the sake breweries and merchant houses in the Sanmachi have a simpler appearance. These houses with latticed bay windows date back to the Edo period.
Within these old town districts also known as Furui Machinami, you could find several souvenir stalls as well as former residences converted into museums. And besides that, eateries! One of the snacks I enjoyed very much in Takayama is their Hida Beef Bun which you could find in almost every snack shop and food kiosks in the Hida region where Takayama is located in. Hida wagyu is the regional specialty of Hida region and is rather famous in Japan although less revered than Omi and Kobe beef.
Other snacks that you could find around Takayama include Rice Cakes coated with Hoba Miso known as Gohei Mochi or Hoba Miso buns, Beef Sushi and Hida Beef Skewers. Hoba Miso is a savoury miso paste that was prepared with large leaves of the magnolia tree. It has a sweet, honey-like flavour and souvenir shops sells them with dried magnolia leaves for 630 – 1400 Yen.