It had started raining the evening before, which was one reason why we chose not to explore the area much. It rained all night and we were afraid it was going to continue, but by the time we left with the guide it had stopped.
When we went down for breakfast we first forwarded our luggage to our hotel in Takayama. With some careful pointing and use of Google Translate on both sides, it all got figured out just fine.
Afterwards when we went to get our food, we stood around confused for a moment as the area where the trays were didn’t seem to be the start of the line (it was being served at the Seattle’s Best area in the lobby). A fellow in front of us who looked local spoke up, in perfect English, and told us where to go. After a breakfast full of pastries, we met with our guide Kumi-san and talked for a few minutes and then went to buy all-day bus passes at the front desk.
First for the day was a walk to the Samurai District where we saw several houses of various ranks of samurai.
We then took the bus to the Omicho Market.
We took another bus to an older area of town and went into a nice little ceramic shop. It started raining right as we left, so we pulled out our jackets. The owner of the shop saw Tore and I without an umbrella and brought us one for free, someone had left it behind it sounded like. Tore still ended up putting on his windbreaker over his backpack as well, but we managed.
From there we walked to a gold leaf shop where we were able to see a lady doing the final steps in the process of making gold leaf ready for selling in stores. She even handed us a little bit to eat! (Apparently it helps digestion?) We explored around that shop for a bit before heading back out.
Thankfully it had stopped raining while we were in that shop. We next took a bus to one of the Geisha Districts (Higashi) where we saw some geisha leaving and then enjoyed the beautiful buildings. We went into a felt craft store to see the style of old geisha houses and then a jewelry shop to see a gold store room. We had lunch at a former geisha house where the proprietor’s mother had been a geisha (apparently customers still would come in and ask about her).
After we finished lunch we left and took a bus to the Kanazawa Castle. Large and white, most of it has been rebuilt fairly recently and it originally was built during/near the peaceful Edo period, so it actually never saw a battle. On the bridge, we saw the fellow who had helped us in the morning with breakfast. It turns out he’s actually from the same place in California as we are!
Next we went over Kenrokuen garden next door where the stone lantern that the city is known for is located. Several of the trees were already being supported by ropes and wood for surviving the heavy winter snowfall. Some areas also had beautiful moss as the ground covering instead of grass.
Across the street is the 21st Century Contemporary Museum of Art where we saw Leandro Erlich's "Swimming Pool" and some other interesting, and not so interesting, displays.
Tore accidentally lost his bus ticket at the museum, so we walked to Oyama Shrine.
Next we stopped by a cat "café" where cats live and you can go pet them, but we stayed outside and just looked in as it was pretty crowded and we wouldn't have been able to clean my clothes well enough to not bother Tore's allergies.
We then spent a bit of time at the Toki Game Arcade where the first floor was dedicated to crane games and the second was for “Women Only” as they could rent costumes and there were around 15 photo booths which could Photoshop you, where high school girls were taking pictures.
Our last stop with Kumi-san was Animate, an anime store in the shopping street behind our hotel. We spent quite a bit of time in there trying to find shows we recognized, but unfortunately they had very little merchandise from shows we had seen. I did think that the mini-wall scrolls they had for character portraits were genius though. No need for a full-size one. The store on the first floor had "trendy" clothing styles.