Japan Day 36-37: Riding Shirakawa to Takayama and Rest Day

The weather wasn’t looking great in the morning, lots of grey clouds and a fair amount of humidity, like it wanted to rain at any moment. My weather forecast said that the rain wouldn’t start until the afternoon, so there was enough time to make it to Takayama without getting soaked. After getting up a 100m hill headed east, a car pulled up along side me and the driver said the road was closed and I had to turn around. I ended up going south instead, covering 90% of the last ride and climbing a fair amount afterwards. The two big drops in elevation were very relaxing, although the graph makes them look terrifying. Most of the cars were on the expressway, so I had the road to myself and I could easily descend at 30-40km/hr for a few kms and not worry about cars approaching.

Even though it was muggy, I felt cold on the descent and stopped at the first restaurant I found for a hot meal. The beef udon warmed me up and I easily glided for the rest of the ride into Takayama.

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Checking into my hostel was easy and I met two girls in my dorm, Julie from France and Manja from Denmark and we planned to go to the morning markets together the next day. In the meantime I was looking for a big dinner to reward my five hours of cycling, however the city is quite touristy and expensive. I opted to have some Indian food and fell in love with their ridiculously over sized naan bread. If I’m ever super hungry again, I now know that Indian food is the solution. I was feeling quite exhausted and went to bed early, relieved that there were no snorers in my dorm tonight.

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Day 37: Rainy day in Takayama

The morning market ended up being fairly quiet due to the rain, but there was a cute cafe for breakfast where I had an interesting home made dish. It was a pile of rice, an omelette and a tomato and beef bolognaise sauce. It really hit the spot and gave me plenty of energy for sightseeing.

Manja (the Danish girl) was leaving in the afternoon, so Julie (the French girl) and I went to the Showa Museum, which is a retro style museum, filled with Japanese stuff from the 1950s. It was really cool and so detailed, they had at least a dozen different rooms filled with so many unique, everyday items. In most of the cities I’ve visited, they have kimono hire for around 3,000 yen (~$40 AUD), so I never tried it, but they had a section in the museum to try on different costumes and take photos. The Super Nintendo room was probably the most fun, you could play Street Fighter or Classic Mario, plus they had loads of other games on the wall.

Back at the hostel we met two other travellers, Lasse from Denmark and Priya from Australia, they were both really cool and we had a good chat and laugh about our respective countries. We all went out for dinner to have BBQ Hida beef, the most famous beef in the city, although on the pricey side, so it was only in my budget to try once. The meat was so tender and juicy, the restaurant was right next to a butcher and had a ton of awards out the front too.

Afterwards we looked for a cheese and wine bar that someone had saw earlier, but we couldn’t seem to find it again. We tried a few different routes, but with no success we went for plan B, cheese and wine from 7/11. It was surprisingly good, although I haven’t had much cheese in the last few weeks, so I wasn’t too fussy. We went back to the hostel for our mini feast and played card games until we were all exhausted. Despite it being a rainy day, I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed hanging out with such a cool group of people.

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