We made it all by ourselves! And we have Internet, yay!
The day started off leaving Naoetsu headed for Takyama, and starting the solo part of our trip. We boarded the first train just fine, but fell asleep and missed our transfer — waah, waaaah. Never fear! We made the best of it and after speaking to our first non – English speaker all by ourselves, we had reservations for the next train to Takayama and 2 hours to kill. We spoke with the Tourist Information Center and they recommended a restaurant in the train station.
But first, we still didn’t have any place to stay once we got to Takyama
The travel guide that came with our railway passes recommended an inexpensive Ryokan so Abe used a pay phone to give them a call — but no English. They actually refused to talk to him! So he called the Takyama Tourist Information Office and they (spoke English!! and) helped him make a reservation at hostel nearby. Phew! We have a place to sleep! On to food…
The area we were in was called Toyama and they were known for small shrim so that’s what we got!
Had the place to ourselves so we sat at the bar.
Lightly fried shrimpies with rice and a seaweed soup.
The two guys working there were so nice! They actually offered us forks after showing us where the chopsticks were lol and showed us the shrimp when they saw us taking pictures of our food! The area doesn’t get too many tourists, so that combined with us being the only ones there get us some special attention 🙂
The train ride to Takyama was beautiful. Straight through the mountainside.
We made sure not to miss our stop and made it to our J-Hoppers hostel at 5 pm.
This is my first time at a hostel and it’s so cool! So friendly, cheap and well located! We got a private Japanese style room. We’ve been sleeping on tatami mats this whole trip, but I have a feeling tonight will be the most comfortable so far.
With whatever daylight was left, we headed out to explore the town.
We stopped at a footbath
Cruising around town
Coolest Japanese style buildings!
Art museum– Abe loves swords.
At this point it was dark so decided we would wake up early tomorrow to go for a run and enjoy the two Morning Markets in town! Better light for pictures 😉
The town is known for its Hida Beef, so we went searching for that. The hostel gave us recommendations on restaurants but they were all closed by the time we wanted to eat 😦 so we tried a different one, and what an experience that was!
The owners were husband and wife and didn’t speak much English. We were seated at the bar and given (what we assumed) was a special, limited English menu. The only option with beef was a combo plate for $35.00!! I got that and Abe got tempura (for $14!). It turned out that the portions were very small but the food was excellent. It was too intimate of a place to take pictures, so we have no photographic evidence of the food.
We do, however, have evidence of the two drunk guys that kept telling Abe I was “cute” and “very good” accompanied by an okay sign…. insert sketched out face here…. Their son also came in and acted strangely, looking at us for a long time and smiling a lot. The weird thing is, is that we were commenting on how many MORE westerners there are in this town than other places we’ve been! But overall, they were all very nice and complimentary (they also REALLY enjoyed Abe’s muscles — “macho macho”) and it was a wild lost-in-translation experience that neither of us had had before. They all kept talking to us and was really didn’t know what was going on!
The super talkative guy in the bottom right and kept telling us that he loved us! The owner told us “heavy drinker” lol. It was probably the most expensive meal we’ve had so far, but boy does it make any interesting story!!
We’re headed to Osaka today to get ready to start the Kumano Kodo on Thursday. We’re thinking that will be the most challenging part of the trip so far — 8 hours (each day) of backpacking for 4 days. Bring it on! 🙂