Takayama

Continuing our 2013 Japan trip, we went on 9 October by train from Kanazawa to Takayama in the mountains. We stayed in one of our favourite hotels, the Associa. We had a large room in faux Parisian style and with great views of the beautiful mountain before us. Takayama had been a fortified army town but at the beginning of the Edo period, in a campaign to weaken the power of the feudal lords (Daimyo), it was ruled directly by the Shogun (Tenryo system), the castle was demolished, the samurai left and Takayama henceforth became a town of civilians and administrative centre. The town Jinya, or prefectural government office, has luckily been conserved and is the only remaining example of such a building left in Japan. It is a fascinating complex, with public sections for the work of government, private living quarters for high officials and their families, kitchens, laundries and work areas, plus large rice storerooms (taxes were paid here in rice). The building is wood, with shingle roof, tatami floors, wooden and rice sliding screens, and garden courtyards, also a prison and punishment area (not quite the “torture room” of the Lonely Planet!). We then went on to explore the lovely old streets in the Jinya’s proximity [to be continued].

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