29 Mar
Location
Home
Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
3534
Number of flights.  Click here to go to the itinerary page.
35
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
185
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
581
Countries visited.  Click here to see what we think of them. (14 posts)
15
Number of species spotted.  Click here to go to our wildlife page.
1157
Photos taken.  Click here to go to the photo gallery. (94 posts)
13288
Rainy days.  Click here to find posts relating to the weather. (50 posts)
63
Number of times scammed.  Click here to read all about it!  (2 posts)
1
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

7 November 2015

The day of gifts

14 October 2015

Narai and Takayama are two similar but contrasting places. The first is an old village on the Kiso Valley road, with one long main street that looks much as it would have done hundreds of years ago. They’ve even banished the snaking nests of overhead wires that hang over most Japanese towns. The road is lined with shops selling mostly the lacquerware famous in the area, and the only tourists were Japanese.

Narai, an Edo-era post town

Narai, an Edo-era post town


Takayama is a town that also has a beautifully preserved historic centre, but for some reason it attracts foreign visitors in greater numbers than anywhere we’ve been. On our afternoon stroll around we were surprised to see more western than Japanese faces (definitely the first time that has happened) and our restaurant for dinner held 23 western diners and 2 Japanese. Compared with 13 Japanese diners and 2 western (us!) at the charming old house where we had lunch in Narai.

We also did a lot of shopping in Narai, because we love the rich red lacquerware. We found some lovely prints in one shop, and the old lady artist was kind enough to gift us a few postcards along with the four we bought. We bought four different bowls in another shop, and the old lady was kind enough to give us a modest discount. In another shop we were given chunks of hot sweet potato by the old lady while we browsed, and when we purchased two fine lacquer mugs she not only gifted us a bag of fresh apples but called her husband out from the back room whereupon he quickly dashed off two sheets of calligraphic sketches for us, while his wife proudly showed a magazine which had published an example of his work. We didn’t quite know how to say thank you enough!

Noodle lunch in Narai

Noodle lunch in Narai


Narai is definitely our favourite experience so far.

And to cap it all, at dinner the old lady manageress was taken slightly aback when a tour group of a dozen westerners descended on her at once, and she was forced to take away half of the table that we were occupying. She was very apologetic and offered us free rice, but we were already quite full. So five minutes later she came back, still very apologetic, and made us take a free flask of sake instead. Truly a day of old ladies offering gifts!

Asunaro, our ryokan in Takayama

Asunaro, our ryokan in Takayama


Leave a Reply