This is a good place to try staying in a ryokan: English is spoken, there are rooms with western bathrooms, and it's right in the centre of this small town (and therefore within walking distance from everything, including the bus and train stations, which, incidentally, you can get to whilst staying almost completely undercover, thanks to the canopied pavements).
The ryokan staff are very friendly and welcoming - and you get a warm send-off when you leave, too. The building itself is of mixed character: looks suitably traditional from the front, but there's also a rather surprising modern extension to the side. Inside, though, all is traditional enough, and our room was lovely - and even included a couple of chairs which you could screen off so as not to spoil the effect when not in use.
You get to sleep on proper futons, and amazing dinners are brought to your room by very friendly kimono-clad ladies in the evening (our first dinner required four separate trays...). You can request vegetarian meals (also delicious), but do watch out for the occasional piece of ham, or random squid.
It's quite an 'early to bed, early to rise' place: both breakfast and dinner are only served in one-hour slots, in your room. And be warned: if you request an 8am breakfast, they come to dismantle your bed and get the table ready at c 7.30... one of the downsides of ryokan life is that after the bed has gone, it's gone all day, and you have nothing to sneak a lie-down on until bedtime.
There isn't the most amount to do in Takayama, but there are some old streets to wander (and lots of sake on sale), and some temples to explore... it's a calm and peaceful place, worth visiting for a day or so.
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- Also Known As:
- Tanabe Ryokan Hotel Takayama