Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peek into Takahama  たかはま

Recently I visited friends in quiet and lovely Takahama in Fukui prefecture- its about a 2 hour trip from Kyoto whether you go by road or rail.  I recommend the train as the views on  route are quite stunning - green misty mountains, deep gorges, farm villages - you get the picture. I didn't get a chance to check out the old town area which looks very much lost in time - perhaps stuck in the 40's and a bit daggy, gritty, earthy - and  therefore very intriguing  to me - think crusty old shotengai (shopping strip arcades) with cranky shopkeepers and possible treasures to be found in second hand stores etc... that will have to wait until my return trip. I did however spend a relaxing time in my friend's home high in the mountain listening to the chattering monkeys, frog chorus and frequent birdcall. 

As we were driving we were able to stray a little off the beaten track and stop on route to visit one of the top 100 natural springs in Japan - with fabulous drinking water available to fill up your own containers. There is a lovely shrine and grounds to wander and a little joint to grab a bite to eat. 
Over the sprawling grounds and up a hill (past a rather large snake who eyed us curiously) we came across a beautiful hidden part of the shrine which exudes fantastic energy
Back down the hill are some unusual constructions, plus a sprawling flower garden, koi (carp) pond and more structured landscaping
I am used to seeing maybe one hydrangea bush or two in a garden but here they were almost growing wild! Stunning!

Lunch was a hearty, flavoursome oyakodon (chicken and egg over rice). Home cooking. 
The filling station...
Back on route we were able to see a little more of the countryside
This sweet little shop was full of super fresh local produce at great prices. 
The view from my friend's verandah.....peaceful.
dreamcatcher in the garden - above and below...well we think it was a monkey... possibly taken down by a bear or wild boar... very unusual thing for a city girl to witness...
Neighbouring farmer friends came a visiting armed with homemade miso - 1 year  old at the back and 10 years old (made by her grandmother and more quite medicinal) in the front.   After tea and traditional sweets we took a walk around the local area, visiting artist friend, Myong Hee Kim's, studio where she creates her wonderful works. 
The beautiful old farm building which is now home to a very creative space. 
Wonderful, inspirational vibrations
Myong Hee Kim
Thanks for a lovely weekend Myong Hee and Bob. xx

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