After a restful sleep and a bountiful breakfast at our lovely ryokan, we set out for the morning market.
Kokubun-ji is the oldest temple in Takayama. It was originally built in 746 by Emperor Shomu as one of several provincial temples dedicated to the peace of the nation. The original temple was burnt down. The oldest surviving building in the temple is the wooden Main Hall, dates from the 16th century.
A three story pagoda was reconstructed in 1821 during the Edo period.
and standing by it is a gingko tree said to be 1,200 years old
There are two morning markets in Takayama: Jinya-mae Market in front of the Takayama Jinya, and Miyagawa Market along the Miyagawa River in the old town.
We chose to visit Miyagawa market, because I would like to check out this specialty food that I had read about online.
As it turned out the market was quite small, with a few pickles and mushrooms stands. so I directed my attention to the river and the moss on the tree
The marshmallow was light and fluffy, I gobbled it all up in one bite.
Next door, a guy was making traditional Japanese sweets behind a shop window
showcasing an incredible knife skill
Above the river, eagles circling high in the sky
And an egret resting by the rushing stream
The sky turned a darker grey and it started to drizzle. Good time to head to the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan Exhibition Hall (高山祭屋台会館).
The Takayama Spring Festival, held on April 14th and 15th, is to pray for a good harvest. The Autumn Festival, held on October 9th and 10th, is for giving thanks. The Takayama Autumn Festival is ranked as one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan.
The festivals are famous for its large ornate floats. Four of which are exhibited at the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan.
These elaborately decorated floats are several hundred years old and beautiful examples of Takayama’s legendary craftsmanship.
Mikoshi is a portable shrine. It is the pride of the Hachiman Shrine, where the Autumn Festival takes place. Its magnificent shape and sublime decoration make it one of the best national treasures in Japan. This portable shrine weighs 2.5 tons. In order to carry the shrine it utilizes two long bars and up to eighty people. Before the war, whenever the festival was held, this float joined in the parade. After the war, because of the difficulty of finding eighty volunteers of the same height, a smaller replacement float has been used in the Autumn Festival.
To be continued…