We met up with Maurice’s son Craig and his lovely Japanese wife Yuko at Takayama station. They had taken some days off from their English teaching school in Yokohama to show us around some lovely old traditional towns, one being Takayama with it’s specialty shops of quality souvenirs and Sake shops where I bought a small Sake cup and tried half a dozen different Sakes and which I could later keep.

Our first night was spent in Shirakawa-go at the Nodaniya Ryokan which is part of a local owner’s house. Check in times were about 3pm but breakfasts were served very early at 7.30am up to 8.30am and some had a time limit for breakfast. Check out times were also very early, one at 9am and one at 10am.

Shirakawa-go is a very popular tourist destination especially during the day with busloads of local and foreign tourists wandering around the quaint town with it’s thatch roofed houses. A concrete covered suspension bridge brought the bulk of tourists into the town. We took pictures from a hill high above the town and had a coffee in a very quaint shop in the middle of town. After the tourist buses left for the day it was lovely and quiet and an old style rural village.

We drove further into the mountains where we caught a double storey cable car up the Shin Hotake Ropeway to over 2000metres where it was a cold 1 degree with a cutting wind. The views over the mountains and down to the valley where we were to spend the night were however spectacular. At the higher altitudes a lot of the trees had already lost their leaves and below the trees were still changing colour.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.