Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hida Takayama Tensho-ji Youth Hostel

After the long awaited trip to Takayama, we made it! Matthew and I arrived in the small city at about 9:30 pm and began walking in the direction of our hostel. The streets were empty but there was a peacefulness about it. With snow/ice on the ground and street lamps lining our walk, I was reminded of walking along Benefit Street in Providence, RI. We hustled down the narrow streets, knowing that the Hostel had a curfew, but unaware of when the curfew started. We finally made it up the walkway to the hostel a few minutes after the curfew (9:45). We were received with foreign friendliness. The Hostel is part of a temple, which seems very strange to me. Well, to be honest, many things about this accommodation seemed very strange. Not only was there a curfew, but also the lights were turned off at 10pm and light came on at 7am. The hallways and common areas were not heated; in fact, the walls consisted mainly of screens instead of solid walls. Very surprising since they get over 2 meters of snow during the winter! We were required to leave by 9:45 in the morning and could not come back until 3pm. There was no kitchen, only a hot water maker and a microwave. It was a very interesting experience. There was a bathhouse (which we did not take part in) The toilets were extremely high-tech- they warm you, clean you, and dry you off! Plus there is free Internet. So the only downfall was the cold common areas and the kicking us out during the day. But if you are ever in Takayama during the spring or summer, I am sure it would be a wonderful experience.

Speaking of Takayama, The city it's self is very small and quiet. I think i saw more tourist there than actual people that life there. The sake breweries were giving tours so I think people came from all around to experience that. The Architecture was very traditional. and there were lots of craft places to visit- Takayama is a very old craft city. Before we left we even made it by the Hida Folk Village- Hopefully Matthew will explain about that.


Anonymous said...

Everything looks so clean, no litter any where, is this common? What an interesting hostel experience. sounds like you were lucky to get in after the curfew! bonnie

Matthew said...

Yes, the streets are surpirsingly clean for the number of people who walk and bike on them. What's more amazing is the complete lack of public trash cans, especially since everything in Japan is individually wrapped. Where do all the wrappers go? Now and then we see city workers hand picking up bits of litter along the curbs, and shop owners tend to sweep their stoops daily.