Early in the morning we left the theme park public bath we had slept at and went to the Nagoya castle. It was a very lovely castle. Shortly after that we traveled by car to a city called Gifu to participate in a boys’ festival called Takebana Matsuri. We walked a lot, tried all sorts of delicious foods and spent a leisurely day walking through the streets to different parts of the carnival. There were some huge fascinating traditional cars being pushed around during the festival. We asked one of the guys pushing the carts, what the significance of this particular festival was, and he said he had no idea. That was quite amusing – given he was pushing this gigantic car for the festival. In the evening, we drove to the village of Shirakawago. On our way there we finally found a shop that sold the famous Babyfoot. We stocked up on that and food too.
Early in the morning we spent some time working with the sweetest old ladies who had a crafts shop and taught us to make table mats. Given language barriers, a lot of the work was done in silence. It was lots of fun just watching, imitating (as best as we could) and making table mats that were not too terrible looking.
After this we drove to the Japanese alps and took the ropeway to the mountain top. We had not really realized how cold some parts of Japan would be. You should have seen #mirozinjapan freezing as we prepared to take a group pic on the top of the mountain.
Our next stop was Roten Bura – natural outdoor hot springs. It was a beautiful sight seeing these natural hot pools in the middle of the freezing mountains. We started off at one pool that was a bit enclosed between cliffs – this was the women’s hot spring. There was also another enclosed one elsewhere for men and a huge exposed one for both men and women. There were naked men sitting around with a small towel placed on their crotch’s for modesty’s sake. Our large group eventually ended up in the outdoor hot spring as that had the most lovely view….but we kept our costumes on;-)
Shortly after this we went searching for cherry blossoms. We eventually did find a tree of two that was still blossoming. They were beautiful. We went back to our lovely home in the UNESCO village of Shirakawago and partied till 3am. Japanese drinking games are lots of fun!