The brunch at our hotel, although extensive and trying to satisfy both Japanese and Western taste buds, was awful, so we went to Omi-Cho Market instead. With appendages still twisting and twitching we watched the fishmongers corral the slippery and spiny creatures into plastic bags or styrofoam bins. We ate the freshest of sushi. Wasabi ok.
Clutching on to any last bits of Geisha culture, while Matthew showered, I made a mad-dash for Ochaya Shima, a geisha teahouse in the Higashi-chaya-gai district. Japan has deemed it A National Important Cultural Asset. Beginning in 1820 geisha entertained the high-class here. There were combs, hair ornaments and shamisen picks and a video of a geisha performance on a small stage. It was neat seeing them authentically perform on the drum, shamisen, sing, and dance with a fan. The video did not showcase their drinking game abilities or their witty verbal repertoire.
Even though the Japan RailPass literature says you do not need reservations for the Ordinary Pass, we have consistently reserved two seats. First, to ensure we are sitting next to each other and also, so we are not racing with back-packers for a seat and the overhead luggage space. We bought a bento box with almost inedible sticky-balls and some snacks for the ride.
The train ride from Toyama to Takayama through the Japan Alps was mystical with the fog hugging the trees where the valleys intertwine.
We ordered Cesaer salad and it came with bacon. Cesaer salad with bacon? Odd; but then again, "bacon added to anything ruins it," said no one ever. Takayama Is known for its sake, rice liquor; we made our own sake-crawl.
Most bars sell sake, but specialty sake bars hang a ball of cedar leaves over the entrance. We were a tad sluggish the next morning. Or it was from the corn-hole bean-bags that passed for our pillows.