JAPAN 2015
Shirakawa-go to Takayama
Cycling in the Alps
Thursday 09 April 2015
Learning from our mistake the previous day, we were one the road by 8:45, heading back down into Shirakawa-go village. En-route and now in daylight we enjoyed some excellent views of the Shokawa valley and the Gassho-zukuri farmhouses in the village below. The snow was with us still as we snaked south along route 156, cycling through tunnels and alongside picturesque lakes
At Shokawacho the road swung east and started climbing but once over the pass at 1,200m we began a long descent towards our destination, the historic city of Hida-Takayama.

On arriving in to Takayama we made a brief pit stop at the ubiquitous golden arches for some vital sustenance before checking in at K's. It was then time to hit the streets in search of history and culture in Takayama's 'Old Town'.
Still Smarting from our puncture-fest yesterday we couldn't resist stopping for some replacement tubes when we stumbled across a rare bike shop. But how to ask for inner tubes in Japanese? Fear not, for I had the answer... I'd been wanting to try out Google's Translate app since arriving, so spoke our request into the phone and waited for it to translate into flawless Japanese. Instead, a very puzzled look from the owner! We'll never know exactly what it translated my request to but it evidently wasn't decipherable. We had to revert to the universal language of hand gestures, nervous chuckling and lots of nodding to complete the transaction.
Takayama's historic merchant centre has many buildings dating back to the Edo period 1600-1868 and there are shrines, breweries, art galleries and folk museums in which to fill your cultural boots.

The city is also noted for its 'Hida-gyu' beef, which comes from black-haired Japanese cattle raised in the Gifu Prefecture for at least 14 months. As a vegetarian, Tamsyn was unfortunately unable to join us in this local speciality but Stu and I kept the carnivore flag waving by doubling up on Hida skewers. Delicious!