Told the girls that we were visiting a winter wonderland place today. We caught the local bus to Shirakawago (unesco heritage town about 50min away) and as we climbed uphill to more and more snowy landscapes, the bus ride flew by in no time at all (good thinking V brought along card games which were great for the train rides!). The bus journey was pretty expensive though, about S$200 for 2 tickets (kids r foc) *for travelling in Japan, we found the website HYPERDIA to be invaluable, we used it for all our transport plans.
waiting for the bus and clowning around
Shirakawago was all we expected and more! Snowy dreamscapes like marshmallow taffy sprinkled the hillside. Old traditional barn houses called the gassho buildings look so picturesque in the slowly rising golden sun. Snow was at least 2 metre high at parts and the girls couldn't wait to build their snowman.
Can't wait to get into the serious business of snowmen building
Dreamy dreamy landscapes as far as the eyes can see
Happy kids and V
doesn't this look like those japanese wood block prints?
me and the girls
somehow it looks so empty in all our photos, but there were actually bus loads of tourists all over, I guess the snow does obscure all the people as well.... :)
looks like marshmallows right?
don't ask me what G was doing.... haha....
more shots of the gassho buildings
love the signages
V the map reader
Me in my UGGs :)
Girls in a snow hut.... they were thrilled!
Snow all over!!
Me and G - snowbuilding is hardwork!
Inside the top level of the Traditional building
Warming our hands on the hearth
We played with the snow, made snow men, igloos, even more snow men and even a snow rabbit.
At the spur of the moment, decided to go into the local onsen as there was an openair (in the mountains) type. The girls had fun soaking in it as it was not as hot as the one in our hotel. Lots of beauty products for me to play with as well, it was well worth the $20 (¥700+¥300+¥300) to get in. We had our first vending machine lunch at the onsen, which is also a hotel (should visit again next time and stay there!) really good and quite cheap too.
Lunch - curry noodles + soba with tonkatsu
We caught the next bus back to Takayama and the 2 exhausted girls were fast asleep the whole way back. Since it was the last night at Takayama, we decided to give ourselves a treat and tried the famous hida beef chunks on a magnolia leaf. Searched online and went to this restaurant (suzuya) near our hotel. Set in a traditional house, the girls also had the setsuban festival to look forward to as today was the day to commemorate the end of winter. Unfortunately, the masked figures were too scary for both of them, they burst out in tears when the 'demon' charged at them banging his metal staff menacingly. I guess I would too, he looked very scary!! Dinner was very good, the beef chunks (more like minuscule pieces) were tender and flavorful, and the accompanying miso paste vegetables were interesting tasting. We also ordered the Katsu for the girls, but it was a bit on the tough side, so they didn't quite like it.
Charms at the temple
The characters that visited the restaurant we were in. They do look a little bit scary - and these were the GOOD guys... lol
Us with dinner
Went back to the hotel via the temple as the festival was still going on. We bought some temple treats but the charcoal grilled rice flour balls were not very nice.