Temples and landscapes in Takayama with the Canon 5DSR
As the autumn envelopes us here in Melbourne I finally found time to process some more images of my travels around Japan last November 2016.
After a fascinating few days in Tokyo we boarded the train at Shinjuku station using our Japan Rail Pass, headed for the city of Takayama in the mountainous Gifu prefecture. Normally while traveling around Europe I have always preferred to hire a car as it naturally offers much greater latitude for exploration and photography, however for our first trip to Japan we decided that the train would be our best option. The Japanese railway system is extremely efficient and certainly very easy to navigate, with very comfortable seating and ticket inspectors who bow upon entering and leaving each carriage. The Japan Rail Pass must be purchased before arriving in Japan, and it is worth noting that it does not cover every line or bullet train, but it certainly offers a convenient and somewhat cost effective way of moving around the country.
Takayama is a very easy city to explore on foot, and while I certainly cannot remember the name of every temple that we visited, there is a very easy to follow walk that encompasses most of the important ones to be found in the city. One of the main reasons for taking our trip so late in the year was of course in the hope of capturing the amazing changing autumn colours, and while each location around the country had a different schedule, fortunately the transformation was well underway in Takayama.
I change lenses frequently while wandering around, and still find the the best option for me is the Think Tank Photo Speed Racer V.2, which I trialed on my last European trip. Being a belt bag (albeit with a shoulder strap) means that it takes the weight off my shoulders, while still allowing me quick access to my essential glass.
Arriving into Takayama in the late afternoon we were picked up by our host from the excellent Auberge Hidanomori and taken back to our accommodation for the next few days. As we had been on the train for a few hours we decided to take a walk in the local countryside, and followed a track from our hotel up the hill into a forested area, whereupon we came across a makeshift biscuit box drum and sign warning of bears. Melinda was naturally hesitant, but I assured her that there was nothing to worry about as I was fairly confident that we would not encounter any bears so close to suburbia. Upon returning to our hotel I asked the owner about the bears, and it turns out I was quite wrong (‘I told you so looks’ engulfed me as our host elaborated) … a couple of years ago a black bear had entered the bus station in town and attacked 3 people…the same station we had just left… Unfortunately in that year a great deal of the natural food sources such as berries and certain roots had not been successful, leading to a hungry bear population…
Anyone who has read my blog over the years will know that I don’t often mention the accommodation that we have used on our travels, however I cannot recommend the Auberge Hidanomori highly enough. The owners were so very friendly, the service impeccable, and the food simply excellent. Not to be missed if visiting Takayama!