I got up early the next morning and returned to the Takayama bus station to get on a tour bus that would take me deeper into the mountains. Normally I’m not the type to use guided bus tours but this would allow me to easily visit a pair of famous mountain villages in the Shirakawago and Gokayama regions of Japan, and lunch was would also be included. The tourists with me were broken into two groups, one with English language tour guide and one with a Japanese language tour guide. As the bus drove through the mountains the tour guides gave us the history of the places we’d be traveling to and some suggestions on individual spots to visit. At one point we stopped at a rest area (pictured above) for about 10 minutes, which gave me a chance to stretch out.
It was cloudy and occasionally rainy that day but even with the bad weather it was a very scenic drive through the mountains of central Japan. The only downside was that the tour bus was full, so I couldn’t easily move back and forth to get photos out of both sides of the bus. Most of the trees in this part of Japan were past their peak autumn colors but many still had various shades of red and yellow.
As we got deeper into the mountains I started seeing houses with steep thatched roofs. These distinctive homes meant the bus was nearing its first destination, which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.