Takayama is basically an alpine mountain town that is sleepy in the summer and booming in winter. We didn't mind slowing down the pace just a bit to enjoy this area. Now, we felt like we were really in the country side. The city is best known for its inhabitants' expertise in carpentry. The town and its culture, as they exist today, took shape at the end of the 16th century, when the Kanamori clan built Takayama Castle. About a hundred years later the city came under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. However, the high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the area fairly isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period.
We stayed at another ryokan and it was a great, albeit, very traditional experience. We dined at the inn for both nights and it was an experience!
Although we were a bit surprised when we were seated in the corner table on the first night - amongst no other foreigner, natch, and there was an American flag on our table. I was delighted and Matt was mortified. Normally I would see his point, but lets face it there was no way we were blending in here!
I felt like I was on display! These cutie pies clearly haven't seen many white people in the flesh and they all stared at us. It was like being in a zoo!