Hoppy

I am using a new blog program in rapid weaver called poster and I do not know how to make the newest post appear first. ( If anyone knows please tell me!!) So I am going to separate the blogs so you do not have to scroll through mountains of stuff to get to the latest post. The Robot Restaurant we went to last night was mental and I will upload a separate page of pictures and videos.
We are now off to pick up our hire car for the next leg of our tour. (Hopefully pick it up)

In Asakusa there is a street called "Hoppy Street" and they make a beer called Hoppy. It's low alcohol 0.8%. You drink most of it and then add sochu, and then top it up with more Hoppy, odd but kind of nice. Shōchū is a Japanese spirit It is typically made from rice,barley, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, plus some chestnuts, sesame seeds and even carrots. In other words it's moonshine!

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Tokyo to Takayama 301km

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We have rented a car from Nippon rent a car and it was pretty straightforward. The first thing we did was hang up the lucky car charm we purchased from a temple. A Japanese "St Christopher". The sat nav works really well, probably because the motorbike sat nav I have been using for the last 10 years is so old. Our journey to Takayama was only 300 km, however after 200 km on an auto express we had to climb the mountains with a speed limit 40 and 50 k/h. Some of the tunnels had to be pre-war. But is was very interesting. There are no container lorries or artics on Japanese roads!! They must unload the containers at the ports and distribute from there. Please tell me if there is another explanation. Foreign cars are also rare. You see the odd Merc and BMW, 1 Range Rover and a Defender but I saw "0" Fiat 500's etc. I did not see a single caravan. I assume because the apartments are so small the caravan would be actually bigger, with flat land at such a premium there is no space to park them. The van size is smaller as well, no transit size vans. I assume their "Gyproc" panels are equally diminished. I did not see any Japanese SUV's, pickups or twin cabs. I expect the 4/4 market is export only, unless they tax them at a punitive rate. Lots of odd Japanese vehicles that don't make it to these shores as well. The motorway was actually quite quiet compared to the UK how they move their fright around is a mystery.
We are staying in a Ryokan in Takayama, a traditional Japanese guest house with an "Onsen" a type of hot/bath/sauna thing. Very nice. It's all very "Shogun"

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Asurano Guest House Takayama

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In Takayama the Ryokan we are staying in is a traditional guest house all shoes off and Yukata wearing. The onsen is pretty cool. Went out to eat last night and the first thing I saw was a huge Nissan crew cab 4/4 and in front of that a red Fiat 500!!! We wandered around looking for a restaurant and came across a series of alleys full of bars with tiny eating areas. We chose a BBQ restaurant and had Mackerel and the local Hida beef, a type of Waygu beef. We got a free prawn and apparently you eat it all. Rhonda was not so keen. We made friends with all the other diners and it was a fun evening, although I spoke no Japanese or Taiwanese and their English was limited.
Tried to look up this area of eateries in the guide books and there was zero information I wonder if the restaurants only make it if you pay them.

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Takayama continued

We went sight seeing today. Takayama is a mountain town, once very isolated. (judging by the roads getting here it still is) Agriculturally poor it had a lot of timber. Its isolation meant it still has original Edo-period streets lined with tiny, shops museums and sake breweries. The pure mountain water runs in covered water courses through every street.

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The guide book said there was a morning market along the river which there was. Quite small selling local produce.

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Takayama also hosts one of Japan's best known festival in the spring and autumn (coinciding with the planting and harvest) huge processional floats are dragged through the city in much the same way as the saints in Spain are paraded through the streets at Easter. The floats are all extremely old and are housed in huge "garages throughout the city. they are each representative of gods, noble men, marionettes etc. What started as simple ceremony 350 years ago became more and more elaborate.

We were fortunate to be in Takayama for their food weekend. A street was full of individual food sellers and other retailers along with music and Japanese dancers. There was a great atmosphere and lots of odd food and sake on display.

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Kanazawa

We left Takayama for Kanazawa through the mountains to a city near the coast. It was through the mountains as well it was a 112 km and I think at least 40 km was through tunnels!. We arrived in Kanazawa to another Ryokan. Less fancy than the first with only 8 rooms but not lots of instruction everywhere. It was vey close to the fish market and as we were early we had lunch there. it was quite small compared to the Tokyo market and obviously a day tripper destination for the local Japanese with tourist buses parked around the corner.

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We went up to the Kanazawa castle, most of it rebuilt after a fire in 1861, I think most of Japan has burn't down at some time or another. It has a large park attached to to and I think there was some kind of charity fund run/relay race going on. It looked exhausting in the heat. The next day we visited theHigashi (Eastern) pleasure quarter. This was one of the most grandest pleasure districts. The Geisha House is still much the same as it was in the 19th century. The other big thing about Kanazawa is gold leaf. It produces 99% of japan's gold leaf and it is everywhere from souvenirs to ice cream coatings. All good for your gut bacteria diversity. The video is me eating a sea urchin.

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