November in Japan spells Autumn – the season of red leaves falling. We are currently staying 3 nights in Takayama surrounded by beautiful mountains and it’s chilly at 8 degrees. Lucky for my planning, we are across the road from the bus stop and easy access to the shops and attractions. The red bridge is clearly found, the red hedges trimmed neatly in the gardens, and the lovely reds found in the many museums.
Today we visit Hida Takayama Museum of Art filled with decorative arts, Art Nouveau and glorious glassware. Outside there’s a red London bus, something that Bill has not been on yet.
The Museum can be viewed from the Japanese Northern Alps and Takayama city. It is truly a beautiful place and we picked the best time at the start of the day when tourists were almost non existent.
Now the Hikaru Museum out of town was even more spectacular in its architecture and style. It was opened in the Spring of 1999 and showcases exhibitions of history and works of art. The courtyard is based on the pyramids of El Tajin: an archaeological site of the Maya civilisation. Western paintings, Japanese paintings, a Non theatre made of Hinoki cypress, video library, and a collection of amazing Hiroshige landscape paintings. Storytelling at its best. Jaw-dropping in its scale and we cannot imagine the cost of this mighty building.
Bill and I found ourselves suddenly being invited to dress up. What an experience. And it was free. I realised the layers and skill of the kimono carefully placed around one’s body. And the wedding dress, well, that was magical. I didn’t have time to bother about my hair but from the pictures and reality of the geisha women, hairstyles are immaculate and well kept.
After a rest, (Bill sleeps quickly) and I write, munching on a Snickers bar I decide to visit one last gallery but at 4pm it is closed. I am disappointed. The Ukiyoe Gallery Garon had some famous works by Hokusai and Hiroshige plus a dramatic 3D ukiyo-e-experience.
A few tips.
Check the closing times ( I actually did but this gallery closed earlier)
Pay money at the end of your bus trip, not at the beginning.( very sensible and practical)
Expect warm hand towels for dinners, not serviettes
Take out all litter as there are very few bins ( we found none!)
Take the steps – it’s good exercise
A museum Hida beef and rice dish costs about 7000yen, well presented and tasty