Travel Reports

Takayama and Shirakawa-go

By Bolor-Erdene Kn. Posted on February 12, 2013

As a person living in the city of Nagoya, arriving in Takayama and walking in Furui Machinami felt as if I had stepped back in time. The calmness and simple charm had attracted me right away. Being a historical town, there was much to be learned about the town's importance in Japan's history. Besides ancient history, the town would transport any traveler back into Japan's past with its country atmosphere and old streets. The highlights of the cities are its old streets, the governor's house and its temples. Trying the local sake and beef is a must for every traveler. The local beef reminded me of Mongolian beef back home. As the town with a unique sake-making history, it demonstrated the way to make sake. Its many flavors, from hard to soft, give you an exclusive taste of Japan.

One of the hidden gems in Takayama is a place called Hida Folk Village just fifteen minutes away from Takayama Station by bus. It is an open-air museum of a Japanese folk village. The place displays over 30 houses of various families as they were in the old days. At that place, I truly felt as if I had stepped into Edo-era Japan. Its uniqueness in its simplicity was marvelous. I think that everyone who wants to feel and experience old Japan should visit Hida Folk Village. One would get a good idea about how people in those days lived. The massive houses with their steep, thatched roofs look like big praying hands. All the buildings are carefully preserved, and their indoor fireplaces feel very comforting when it is cold outside.

Before traveling there, Shirakawa-go was advertised a great deal in the media as well as being recommended by people who had been there. After seeing the place, I now realize why they did so. I would want to advertise it even more. Shirakawa-go has been chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it provides a fascinating view of an ancient Japanese traditional house village. Surrounded by mountains and located in an isolated location, the place is spellbinding. Its huge houses give us an example that is very different from the look of a typical Japanese village. The unique history of that small town in a very isolated place was interesting to learn.

For people who are interested in seeing the real and ancient Japan, I highly recommend they visit Takayama for its old streets and Shirakawa-go for its simple charm.

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Bolor-Erdene Kn

Bolor is currently studying law in Nagoya University. Coming from Mongolia, he is an avid sports lover and has been training in boxing, but more recently he has started taking up kempo.

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