After a good night’s sleep, we woke up to another misty and rainy morning in Ainokura. It was time for us to move on. In order to catch a direct bus to Shin-Takaoka Station (新高岡駅), we had to catch the 7:45 bus from Ainokuraguchi (相倉口) bus stop. Before breakfast, we took a final stroll around the village. Walking around the tranquil rice paddies and fields of drying reed, and breathing in the moist mountain air fixed with the fragrance of the woods and soil gave us a peaceful finale of our sojourn in the Japanese Alps. The breakfast at the minshuku was once again a hearty feast of small dishes in the traditional dining hall. After breakfast, the minshuku owner gave us a ride out to the Ainokuraguchi bus stop, sparing us for braving the elements with our backpacks.
The hour long bus journey north to Shin-Takaoka was as peaceful as our stay at Ainokura. Only four passengers including us were on the bus. The bus took us past the villages and towns in Toyama, including Johana Station (城端駅) where most buses throughout the day would end the journey for tourists to transfer for a local train. Soon our bus went up the expressway over to the city of Takaoka.
From Shin-Takaoka, it was just a 15 minute train ride on the Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) to Kanazawa (金沢), our final stop of this Japan trip before heading back to Tokyo. We felt a bit strange stepping out of the modern Kanazawa Train Station after staying several days in the mountains and countryside. Designed by architect Ryuzo Shirae in 2005, the century old train station of Kanazawa received a modern makeover, including a wooden gate inspired by a traditional Japanese torii. We took one of the many buses leaving the station for Omicho Market (近江町市場) at the city centre. Our hotel was just a block away from the famous market. With a small ground floor cafe, the sleek and modern Pacific Hotel was like a world away from the Gassho-style thatched roof minshuku of Ainokura.
We woke up to another wet day in the mountain village of Ainokura in Gokayama.
Before breakfast, we made a final stroll around the tranquil rice paddies of Ainokura.
Passing by the fields of drying reed reminded us the traditional way of living in Ainokura is still going strong.
Breakfast at Gassho Minshuku Nakaya (合掌民宿なかや) was again a delightful feast for us.
It was very kind for the owner of Gassho Minshuku Nakaya to drive us out to Ainokuraguchi (相倉口) bus stop in the rain.
The bus ride to Shin-Takaoka took a little over an hour.
Opened in 2015, the Shin-Takaoka Station (新高岡駅) in Takaoka (高岡) is a modern interchange station for the Hokuriku Shinkansen high speed railway.
There are Hokuriku Shinkansen high speed trains coming from Tokyo stopping at Shin-Takaoka on the way to Kanazawa.
In less than 15 minutes, we arrived at Kanazawa Station.
The wooden torii gate at Kanazawa welcome every visitors entering the city by train.
The modern and clean Pacific Hotel near Omicho Market offered us a comfortable resting place for our stay in Kanazawa.
A small reception counter of Pacific Hotel also doubles as a coffee bar.
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CHUBU (中部地方) 2018, Japan, 2018.05.25 – 06.03
Day 1: Tokyo (東京)
1.1 TSUKIJI OUTER MARKET (築地場外市場)
1.2 TSUKIJI INNER MARKET (築地中央卸売市場)
1.3 MORI ART MUSEUM (森美術館), 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT & CAFE KITSUNE
Day 2: Matsumoto (松本)& Kamikochi (上高地)
2.1 MATSUMOTO CASTLE (松本城), Matsumoto (松本)
2.2 “ALL ABOUT MY LOVE”, Yayoi Kusama’s Exhibition at Matsumoto City Museum of Art (松本市美術館), Matsumoto (松本)
2.3 MATSUMOTO PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (まつもと市民芸術館), Matsumoto (松本)
2.4 FROM MATSUMOTO (松本) TO KAMIKOCHI (上高地)
2.5 ARRIVAL IN KAMIKOCHI (上高地), Chūbu-Sangaku National Park (中部山岳国立公園)
Day 3: Kamikochi (上高地)
3.1 MORNING WALK IN KAMIKOCHI (上高地), Nagano Prefecture (長野県)
3.2 DAKESAWA HIKE (岳沢), Kamikochi (上高地)
Day 4: Kamikochi (上高地) & Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
4.1 TAISHO POND (大正池), Kamikochi (上高地)
4.2 RETREAT IN THE JAPANESE ALPS, Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
4.3 MOMENTS OF ESCAPE, Tsuruya Ryokan (つるや旅館), Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
Day 5: Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.1 CITY IN THE MOUNTAINS, Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.2 HIDA BEEF (飛騨牛), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.3 SAKE (日本酒) BREWERIES, Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.4 YOSHIJIMA HOUSE (吉島家住宅), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.5 HIGASHIYAMA WALKING COURSE (東山遊歩道), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
Day 6: Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山), Shirakawa-go (白川郷) & Ainokura (相倉)
6.1 MIYAGAWA MORNING MARKET (宮川朝市), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山), Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
6.2 OGIMACHI IN THE RAIN, Shirakawa-go (白川郷), Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
6.3 SOBA, TEMPLE & LOOKOUT, Shirakawa-go (白川郷)
6.4 RAINY AFTERNOON IN AINOKURA (相倉), Gokayama (五箇山)
6.5 GASSHO MINSHUKU, FLOWER BEDS & RICE PADDY FIELDS, Ainokura (相倉), Gokayama (五箇山)
6.6 CROAKING FROGS AND MOONLIGHT REFLECTIONS, Gokayama (五箇山)
Day 7: Kanazawa (金沢)
7.1 DEPARTURE IN THE RAIN, Ainokura (相倉) to Kanazawa (金沢)
7.2 A SEAFOOD PARADISE – OMICHO MARKET (近江町市場)
7.3 D T Suzuki Museum (鈴木大拙館)
7.4 Kenroku-en Garden (兼六園)
7.5 Oyama Shrine (尾山神社) and Nagamachi Samurai District (長町)
7.6 Nomura Samurai House (武家屋敷跡 野村家), Nagamachi Samurai District (長町)
7.7 Sushi Ippei (一平鮨), Katamachi (片町)
Day 8: Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture (金沢, 石川県)
8.1 Iki Iki Tei (いきいき亭) and Higashide Coffee (東出珈琲店), Omicho Market (近江町市場)
8.2 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (21世紀美術館)
8.3 Kazuemachi District (主計町茶屋街)
8.4 Higashi Chaya District (東山ひがし茶屋街)
8.5 Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi (加賀友禅燈ろう流し), Asano River (浅野川)
8.6 AFTERMATH OF KAGA YUZEN TORO NAGASHI (加賀友禅燈ろう流し)
Day 9 & 10: Tokyo (東京)
9.1 Marunouchi (丸の内) & Nihonbashi (日本橋)
10.1 OEDO ANTIQUE MARKET (大江戸骨董市), Tokyo Forum (東京国際フォーラム)
10.2 FARMER’S MARKET, United Nations University (東京国連大学), Aoyama (青山)