Day 20 – 17.04: After Long Last… Hanamiz… Shirakawago.

I woke up at around six for the first time, but I couldn’t be bothered to get up. I got up again a bit before 7:30 and soon started hearing someone’s alarm ringing; I decided to get out of bed. Having gotten out of bed, I got my stuff and prepared to leave.

Before I got out with my stuff, I was greeted by the owner; the owner spoke with an interesting Japanese American accent. He reminded me that I could leave my stuff at their storage room until I had to leave town. Thanks to his reminder, I went ahead and put myself stuff in to their storage room and headed off.

I still had no idea where to go, so I wandered around until I found an entrance to the temple that I had noticed on my map when I was looking for my accommodations.

There was a lot of construction work going on around the temple, but that didn’t seem to stop people from going in there. I also noticed a lot of black robed people going in to the main hall that you could not take pictures of. After a short while of me wandering in the temple, I realised that they had gathered for morning prayers. How? The humming kinda gave it away.

I looked around, took a couple of pictures and started getting out of the temple. On my way out, the black robed people walked in my direction, most of them very kindly nodding and saying good morning to me. I assume that they were priest students or something. Before I actually got out, I took a look at the main hall and was just amazed by how magnificent it was from the inside. It sucks that I couldn’t take any pictures.


After having left, I went to get some breakfast close to the Tour Club. I had a large dish of katsu curry for 690 円 – so cheap. I enjoyed my meal and decided to get my stuff back from the storage room.

The outside

The outside

With my stuff now with me, I moved west to see the temple that I had ignored the previous day. As I arrived, I noticed that it had a bunch of construction going on around it as well. I took a couple of pictures, but didn’t go inside and instead decided to start walking slowly towards the station.

I waited a while at the station before the train arrived, double checking my route: Nagoya (名古屋), Takayama (高山) and from there on a bus to Shirakawa-Go (白川郷). After some extra schedule checking, I also decided on spending the night in Shirakawa-Go (白川郷) instead of an afternoon, and then taking an early bus back to Takayama (高山), and from there a chain of trains to Matsumoto (松本), Nagano prefecture (長野県).

The train ride to Nagoya was just a bit of passing out, but the train ride to Takayama (高山) was another one of those rides during which I just couldn’t fall asleep. Reason one was that I was using my laptop to write stuff, and the second was the sights; I was taking another magnificent mountain route. After some two hours, we arrived to the station.

After arriving I headed straight to the bus station right next to the train station to buy myself a round trip ticket for Shirakawa-Go (白川郷). From there on it was just waiting.

The bus ride was mostly passing out, but every now and then when I woke up, I saw the insides of a tunnel. An hour later, we arrived to the historical village of Shirakawa-Go (白川郷).

Finally here! ...with all the tourists.

Finally here! …with all the tourists.

The sights were just about what you’d expect; awesome architecture surrounded by tourists. I went out of my way to avoid all of the tourists to get at least decent pictures. With the tourists out of the way, I got to taking pictures and visiting some of the houses, one of them being the Wada house. Unfortunately the material in the Wada house was in Japanese, so I didn’t get most of it.

I walked around, admiring the views and eventually I ended up at the end of a road, at an ”observatory”, with the full view of the village. The view was quite amazing to say the least. After letting myself breath a little and checking the shrine on the top, I decided to decend the nature path that also ended up on the top.

The path was somewhat steep, with uneven steps and a chance of falling rocks – the warning sign on the top told me this. The sights weren’t too impressive since they were mainly just modern buildings and road. Five minutes or so of hopping from step to step, I was down; I started looking for a place to eat.

After a bit of walking, I saw a nice looking little place on the other side of the road; I went there. There was no real indication as to it being open, but as I approached the door, an old woman opened the door and after having gotten over her surprise, she welcomed me in.


The inside of the house looked very homey. After a bit of waiting, she brought me the menu. I asked for a recommendation, and she recommended two meals. I chose the cheaper one, not really knowing what I should expect. A good ten minutes later she showed up with a plate full of – what I think was – tofu (and maybe cheese?) on different plates and a bowl of rice. Most of it was pretty good, some of it was somewhat tasteless, but all of it was quite edible and nice. I thanked the lady and was on my way to look for a place to stay.

After leaving to look in to some of the minshuku (民宿 – someone’s home in which they provide lodging for travellers) I noticed that my right ankle was hurting quite bad, forcing me to limp. My left leg wasn’t much better with a constant pressure being applied to the back of my knee. My pace slowed down and I took any excuses to stop on my way, one of which was a gift shop. I picked some stuff from there and continued on.

After some ten minutes of walking I found myself at the doorstep of a minshuku. I got in and asked if they had space. The old woman in charge of the place thought for a moment and came to the conclusion that there were no more spare rooms. Her English was very limited, but she still said that she’d call another minshuku, Bunroku (文六), to ask if they had any room left. She talked with the owner for a little while before asking if I was okay with no breakfast being served – I was. She then proceeded to give me additional information on the place and it’s location. I thanked her for her hard work and limped towards my next destination.

The walk just sucked with my both legs being semi-useless, but I still made it to the house. I was greeted by another elderly woman who then welcomed me in and showed me to my room. I got cosy, threw off my stuff and relaxed a little and recharged my phone a bit as well. She soon knocked on my door. I invited her in.

She came in to make sure that I was fine without breakfast and asked if I wanted to go to an onsen for a bath – I said yes. She then left for a little while and came back with a discount coupon to the onsen hotel a five minute walk away. She told me that it would be open until 21:00. After finishing my tea, I decided to go to the onsen.

On my way out I met some children; I assume they were her grandchildren. The lady had used a tablet to translate some of her messages when speaking to me; it belonged to the elder sister. Her expression was that of amusement when I said that I couldn’t speak Japanese very well. The owner also asked if I had a towel. Since I didn’t, she gave me one. After I had gotten my shoes on, the girl and her brother both said “see you” in English. I smiled, said “see you” back to them and was on my way.

It was really dark and foggy outside – it’s just amazing how quick the darkness arrives here. I walked for a while, checking the map every now and then to check my location, before I reached the onsens.

After getting in and removing my shoes, I gave the front desk attendant my discount ticket, paid my dues and was on my way in. I got myself a locker, stuffed my things in there and went in to the bath area.

There was one other guy at the bath, obviously judging me (lol). I washed myself and entered the oh-so-good, hot bath. The guy that was in there left pretty much right after I got in. I wondered if he had something against me. I sat in there for a while, enjoying the warm, natural water goodness before another Japanese man came about and asked where I had gotten my towel for he didn’t have one. I apologised and said that it was from the place I was staying at. He thanked me and moved on.

I got out of the pool at some point and decided to go outside where the first guy had gone to. The second I got settled in to the pool, he left again. I was then joined by the guy without a towel. We remained there for a while in silence. Minutes passed, and I felt that it was time to leave. I dried myself, got my stuff on and left back for Bunroku (文六).

My left leg had gotten better, but my right ankle was still hurting like a bitch. I limped in the darkness, got in to the minshuku and started getting changed – for some stupid reason I didn’t take change clothes to the bath. The owner came around after I had gotten my provided yukata on and made my bed. I thanked her, finished fixing the yukata on myself and got to writing.

While writing, I heard the young girl moaning in a bored voice: “お客様” (okyaku-sama / guest)twice. Even though she hadn’t come to my door, I still think that she had wanted me to come over to the living room – I feel like an arsehole for not going there. Regardless, I kept writing for a while and around 22:00 I went to sleep.

This is where the twentieth day ended.


Withdrew: 0,000

Spent: 8,050

Remaining cash: 17,327

Didn’t count the money due to not wanting to bother people.


VM – 0,380

Beef curry breakfast – 0,690

Bus return ticket – 4,420

Wada house – 0,300

Tofu dinner – 1,000

Omiyage – 0,760

Discounted Onsen – 0,500

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