Hey guys! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and that comes down to two things. One, I had my midterms, and two I was planning for this trip with my class, and knew that it would create lots for me to talk about and share! It takes quite a bit of time to write each post and insert photos, so thank you for being patient.
So, to begin, I’m going to link you guys to Wiki articles about the two areas I travelled to just to give you an idea geographically where they’re located. I currently live in Tokyo, so this was quite a bus ride. First, here are the Gifu and Kanazawa links. To be honest, before we left I thought these locations were a lot closer than they actually are. However the trip was enjoyable and the driver was perfect! We had a very energetic and “Genki” tour guide as well!
The first night, we left VERY early. I had to wake up at 4 and leave by 5:40am. Our tour bus didn’t leave till 7:30 am, however we all had to navigate Shinjuku Station! Which is one of, if not THE, biggest stations in the world. We all left, sleepy eyed, but really excited to see everything this trip had to offer. It helped that I sat with really chill people too, the trip wasn’t stressful at all.
The two elements I was most excited about were the history we were about to see, and the beauty of the Japanese countryside. We were set to be in the alps of Japan, and on the drive there we even got to see Fuji-san, or Mt. Fuji.
Studying something, and seeing it with your own eyes are very different things, as I keep repeating in my posts. Watching the scenery gradually change from metropolitan to farmland from the bus was comforting, as it reminded me of home. I hadn’t seen mountains in a while, in fact, since visiting my mother in Alaska. So when the mountains creeped up over the horizon, I was plastered to the window. They were snow capped due to the fast approaching winter season, and Mt. Fuji was beautiful. Most of the time they looked as if they were chiseled from a piece of driftwood, as the trees had brown and red hues similar to that of stained wood. We also got to see the sunrise and sunset from the bus, which lit the mountains on fire. It was beautiful.
There was plenty of time on the bus to sleep as well, and sleep I did. The ride had reclining seats, storage for bags and souvenirs, and cupholders. It was honestly better than the economy class on an airplane! Some of us had downloaded Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby the night before, so there was plenty to keep us busy. I didn’t end up playing, as the scenery was captivating.
Our bus tour’s first stop was Takayama! We stopped to enjoy some nice warm Ramen, which was delicious. It had the traditional long, thin noodles and tasted like heaven.
After that, we visited Hida-Takayama Town. There are streets there that were preserved from the Edo Period of Japan onward. It’s referred to as “Little Kyoto in Hida”. We saw traditional shops and merchants, as well as huge cedar leaf balls hanging outside sake shops. These are called “Sake-bayashi” or “Sugi-tama”. They hang these when new sake is ready. It begins as a green ball of leaves, and as the leaves turn brown, this shows how aged the sake is to the customers outside.
Here is a video if you’re interested in the area! I am working on a second part to this trip for a new post, so please look forward to it!
If you have any questions about the area, what we saw, or the photographs, shoot me a comment!