Golden week is one of the most awaited national holiday in Japan. A week, where several consecutive holidays are scheduled to take place and with only two working days in between. For most working men and women, this is the perfect opportunity to dust off those luggages and cross another country on the travel list.
Though, I have intended to visit either Seoul or Taipei, I need to revise my plan mainly for two reasons: 1) My boss and his persistent approving/disapproving of vacation leave, 2) the airfare price is ridiculously expensive, as if these airlines are basking on the need for people to travel overseas
So I decided to stay put instead, find a place in Japan where I can have the relaxation that I was looking for, somewhere to hide behind the mountains and farm houses. Some place that reminded me of my country during those long summer holidays, where everyone from the city migrated to the provinces for some fresh air.
After searching for the most ideal location, I was bound for a 4 days trip to Hida-Takayama.
Before wandering on the preserved old town of Takayama, I decided to head south of the JR Takayama station and spend my first day at Hida Folk Village Area, where my dormitory accommodation was located.
To experience how the whole village used to look like or a trip back to the simple times, a visit to Hida No Sato (Hida Folk Village) is recommended. A 99,000 square meter of land, occupied by almost 30 thatched roof farm houses (gassho), with the pond in the middle and the mountain backdrop adding to the place over-all charm.
You can enter the farmhouses were everyday necessities are displayed, for a glimpse of the life and the culture of mountain farm villages. Even the kids were encouraged to give up their Nintendo DS for a day and submerged themselves into playing with traditional toys or joined the arts and crafts center.
Creating an over-all atmosphere of calmness is the man playing his flute at the nearby Silkworm display.
The people of Hida-Takayama are famed for their mastery of carpentry and woodwork.
After spending an hour or so at Hida no Sato, I took a stroll at the Folk Village area. Noticeable are the magnificent ryokans at the beginning of the Walking Path of Literature. Most of the restaurants are closed, since everyone was on holiday break and the nearest convenient store is 2 km away, which I assume is required in order to preserve the ambiance of a traditional village. Over-all, a very quite town, combined with the afternoon spring breeze will makes you want to laid back and relax.
On my quest to find a coffee shop, I ended up at the Hida-Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village. A cute museum with a shop, that focuses on the importance of ecological protection and specialized in variety of teddy bears.
Coffee, cake, and a paperback- way to start my golden week.