04.09.2009 33 °C
Friday, 04 September 2009
Early train from Takayama to Kyoto & on to Nara (4min window between shinkansen in and local train out – cinched it!). From one beautiful and strange Japanese city to another. Japan continues to completely surprise us. Takayama is famous for it’s Edo buildings which are still in use. They’re very beautiful. There’s an unnerving feeling about being in such an ancient space with postman pat’s van seeming to be driving in from every direction. Apparently our cars follow japan’s lead, so Jeremy Clarkson will have to learn to like the postman pat van.
On our miraculous arrival we managed to drop our bags and step on to the tourist superhighway. I’m glad we began our Japan adventure in the North, I don’t think I could have coped with Tokyo at the first & here in the South there are so many tourists, it has a completely different feel. There are many more tourist faces – in Takayama many Japanese and here many and Western and Japanese. The main tourist sites were flooded with schoolkids, some of whom were happy to try out their hellos. We hiked on through and past the world’s largest wood structure (it turns out that many of the shrines burn down, which part explains their 20yr Shinto renewal cycle) & saw one of the world’s largest bronze statues. It has suffered from previous earthquakes etc & now the head is a different colour to the body. I had hoped to try my luck at squeezing through Buddha’s nostril, as it were. Behind the statue one of the wood columns has a cavity the same size as the Buddha’s nostril channelled through. Apparently if you can put yourself through you’re almost guaranteed enlightenment, but I already did enlightenment today!
Forgot to mention that our stay in Takayama Temple Inn Tenjkōji was the most incredible so far. IHave never felt so relaxed. Was perplexed about the integrity of it when ‘woody’ replied to our email. He’s from Colorado, and mainly quite gruff. It turned out though that he was a great charge, and he had also managed to arrange us a beautiful garden room. It was really nice to talk with other travellers as well in the communal kitchen