Hida Furukawa 飛驒古川 is a small town located north of Takayama with the Miyakawa River running through it. This nicely preserved old town is like a mini-version of Takayama to me (that’s why I personally named it “Little Takayama” 小高山J).
Similar to its neighbour city, Furukawa is surrounded by mountains in Hida Region of Gifu Prefecture. It is also characterized by the small canals flowing through the streets, old white-walled storehouses and the traditional wooden buildings with high level craftsmanship skills of the local carpenters. Since Furukawa is smaller and calmer than Takayama, I felt like walking in a charming town with peaceful landscapes and the appearance of Edo period elegance.
I really enjoyed the scenic beauty on the way from Takayama to Hida Furukawa.
Finally arrived at Hida Furukawa Station 飛驒古川駅 after 15 minutes train ride! This mini station had everything tourists need: ticket centre, tiny food and beverage store, cigarette vending machine, a few benches and most importantly the coin lockers. Since we were carrying backpack, bags of souvenirs and two umbrellas, we decided to rent a locker for ¥ 400 (CAD 5.00).
The streets were nearly empty except a few cars passed by. 簡直是人烟稀少. For those who want to be away from busy and crowded cities but not ready to stay in remote forests, Furukawa would be a good option … with Japanese language as an asset.
Similar to Takayama, I saw traditional houses along the streets.
Setogawa 瀬戸川 is a canal with more than a thousand carps (鯉魚or koi) in various colours set against a background of a row of old white-walled earthen storehouses 白壁土蔵街 and stone temple walls. According to my research, this canal was constructed 400 years ago with the excess water from the moat of Masushima Castle. Setogawa provided drinking water and was used as fire protection but somehow it had been contaminated half a century ago during the high economic growth period. In 1968, local residents worked together to convert it back to clean water and release carps into the canal. Today Setagawa has become a famous tourist attraction in town J
Still some cherry blossoms found in Furukawa. Let’s take a photo by Setogawa!
This small town was very quiet, it was less visited by tourists compared to Shirakawa Village and Takayama City. An old woman saw us while she’s cleaning the street voluntarily near Setogawa and she was curious where I came from. She told us the weather was a bit cold, then after a while I saw her chatting with the neighbours. Maybe that’s the life of seniors in Furukawa …
I saw more carps than human there! The carps were super huge (about 50 cm – 60 cm long?) and all swimming slowly in one direction.
Too boring to just watch the carps swimming in Setogawa … let’s have some fun! OH! We found a house-shaped box offering carp food for ¥ 100.
Open the bag, throw a piece of bread into Setogawa …
Carps are approaching to the water surface
Now they are competing for the food …
Another house-shaped box found with organic produce for ¥ 100. Interesting!
We walked along Setogawa and entered into a gift shop. The shop was playing a nice song with familiar melody … we had this song in Cantonese version released in 1987 (梅艷芳 - 裝飾的眼淚). Even though the song playing was in Japanese, the same melody brought me back to the 80s since everything was old-fashioned in Furukawa. After return to Vancouver, I searched for the Japanese version and it was called 駅 sung by 竹内まりや.
There was a little dairy shop at the corner selling Hida dairy products 飛驒乳製品 such as Hida milk ice cream and Hida milk ice cream sandwiches (牧成舎 瀬戸川店 Cafe b: http://www.bokuseisya.com/setogawa.html). What a nice idea to spend the leisure afternoon with green tea ice cream sandwich! It tasted quite good … I wish I could try the black sesame flavour too!
Surprisingly we were the last customers since the dairy shop closed immediately after we left. It was only 4:45 pm!
Continuing the walk, we found Enko Temple 円光寺 by Setogawa. The main building of Enko temple was constructed in 1667 (the early Edo period). The temple gate was originally used as gate for Masushima Castle and it was moved to Enko temple when Masushima Castle was abandoned.
Walking back to the streets of traditional houses … any guesses about the use of Yakult box (益力多箱) and Hida milk box (飛驒牛乳箱) in the front doors?
Just like mailbox, Yakult drinks and Hida milk are delivered to the designated boxes for local residents.
I would love to take a photo of this tea shop with the vending machine and flower pots. Suddenly an old man came out from the shop and ran across the street toward me. He was saying something to me. Uh Oh! “Is it illegal to take the photo?” I asked my friend. I thought I may be in trouble (好驚呀!) Actually he was excited to see us and was very curious where I am from. My friend answered all his questions and then asked him where we could buy food for dinner. The old man asked us to wait and ran back to his shop. About 5 minutes later, he came out with a bag and grabbed two drinks from the vending machine. He ran across the street and gave us the bag containing two long buns and two bottles of Shirakawa tea (白川茶) for free!
Around 6:20 pm, we took the train back to Nagoya Station. There was a washroom on the train which I don’t recommend people to use unless necessary based on my own experience. I went to the washroom and it was very bumpy (非常CHOK!) … I felt like dancing from left to right and right to left in front of the toilet (在馬桶前Chok Chok Chok! Chok Chok Chok! 左Chok Chok! 右Chok Chok!) No wonder there were handles on both sides of the wall. I automatically pressed the left button since the flush button is always on the left. OH NO! It was a buzz (some kind of emergency button) … stop stop stop or else I didn’t know what to do when the crew came. Good it did stop after I pressed it again. Unusually, the flush button was on the right side.
We arrived Nagoya at 9:00 pm … back to the modern city with lots of people on the street. Originally I wanted to take a photo of the double-deck elevators 雙層升降機 in Midland Square in Nagoya but it was too dark at night. Double-deck elevator has two cars attached together which allows passengers on two consecutive floors to use the elevator simultaneously.
I was actually more amazed by the automatic escalators found in train stations in Nagoya and Chubu Centrair International Airport. To save energy, the escalator was motionless until someone approached it.