Arriving in Nagoya City (Chubu Centrair International Airport)
On my first day in Japan I visited the historic Takayama City and Shirakawa-go. Our Jet Star flight landed in Nagoya around 6:00 am. After passing through immigration, I walked towards the custom area and they asked to check my bag, it was my first time experiencing that and I was bit surprised. Thankfully my luggage was organized so it was easy to search and put things back. That definitely woke me up.
For a quick breakfast I grabbed a cup of coffee and onigiri at the convenient store. I ordered a sim card online but the shop will open at 9:00 am. I decided to not claim it because I wanted to catch the 8:30 am bus to Takayama. From the Centrair airport I took the bus to Nagoya Station then walked towards the Meitetsu Bus Center and purchased the 8:30 am bus to Takayama. The travel time between Nagoya City to Takayama is about 2 hours.
The city is located in the mountainous are of Gifu. Takayama is also knows as “little Kyoto” because of the well preserved houses and buildings. The city is a small and rustic place. Stroll around the old town of Takayama and experience Japanese culture.
Morning Markets – The shops typically opens at 7:00AM and closes at noon , I arrived Monday so there was not a lot of tourist.
Old Town (Sanmachi) – Takayamas old town district is one of the famous destination in the area. the streets are lined with well preserved houses that are turned to shops and restaurants. Most of the shops opens at 9 or 10 in the morning. If you decide to stay for lunch don’t forget to try some Hida beef.
After spending a few hours in Takayama I bought tickets to Shirakawa-go then from Shirakawa-go to Toyoma city. I would love to spend more time in the city but my schedule was quite tight. After eating lunch I continued my journey to Shirakawa Village.
Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just like neighboring Gokayama village. The main attraction of the villages are the farmhouses with thatched roof. Ogimachi is the largest village in Shirakawa. The village can be good day trip from Takayama or if your coming from Takayama going to Kanazawa. If you are curious on whats inside the houses then you can visit the Kanda House which is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The entrance fee is 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for the kids (elementary/junior high).
Shiroyama Viewpoint located on a hill so be ready for some hiking. At the viewpoint you get a spectacular scenery which makes the hike all worth it. You can also reach the view point if you have a car.
The village has a different look and feel depending on the season. When I visited it was late spring and the villages is full of life with flowers and lush vegetation. I would love to visit Shirakawa-go during winter and experience the winter illumination.
My first day was tiring but it was all worth it. After spending a few hours in Shirakawa-go I took the bus going to Toyoma City where I will spend the night.