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Japan Day 9/10: Kanazawa and Takayama

11/14/14 | by Charlie [mail] | Categories: Background

Leaving Kanazawa was sad. After a great hostel experience and a fun time exploring the city, it was mid-morning when I finally headed home.

The trip to Takayama wasn't terribly long at just under 2 hours, but despite that I only made it through about 40 minutes of anime. After we got out of the transfer station we headed directly into the mountains, and instead of heading into tunnels as I had on the first leg, we carved our way through one of the most incredible river valleys I've ever seen. No doubt in large part due to the fall colors in full bloom complemented by the "golden hour" trip, this was probably one of my favorite train legs I've ever been on.

An incredible several hundred km long rapids wound its way through a narrow valley with fiery, tree-covered mountains on either side. We crisscrossed the river a couple times through various small villages along the way. I really wish that my camera could do it justice, but shooting through a window and the sharp light contrasts just couldn't capture how incredible it was. It reminded me of the random drive to Arches National Park I took years back. Totally different environment, but something about traveling those valleys with rivers and high-rise beauty on either side is just unreal.

Anyways, with that introduction, Takayama was kind of a let down. It's a medium sized, "gateway to the alps" town, but lacked the truly majestic landscape I'd seen earlier. I wandered the old town, but apparently almost everything was closed on Wednesday, so it took all of 15 minutes. I took a short nature walk up a ridge and got a nice sunset view of the town, but when the sunset is at 4:30pm in a sleepy town like this, the night felt a tad wasted.

The following morning I did another long walk to several shrines and temples. On the 4 mile walk through town, I saw zero other people visiting. This may have been due to the 5 degree celsius weather coupled with the overcast rain showers. This reminded me of Stockholm, which again I'm sure is a fine city, but when the weather is that bad...blegh. I almost made it to the fold village, but the bus only left every 40 minutes and I wanted to get into Kyoto at a reasonable hour, so I simply headed to the train and grabbed some delicious Hida beef on the way out.

The ride to Kyoto was almost as nice as the previous day's. Close but no cigar! I'll be here for another few days checking out temples and so forth, so look for another less journalistic post soon :-P Happy Friday!

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A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.

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