On day 7 of our travels, we finally got to taste one of the top wagyu in Japan – the A5 grade Takayama Hidagyu (Hida Beef)! We started the day with a dip in the hot tub before heading out to Family Mart to have a Melonpan. Melonpan, as the name suggests, is a melon bread – a bun confectionery that is filled with rock melon fillings. Kate loved it so much that we were practically searching for it at every convenient store and confectionery. Do give it a try while you’re here – the version with an orange layer on top is a better one.
Family Mart beneath our hotel – Country Hotel Takayama
Energized, we walked along the Miyagawa River to our first stop – Torii Gate @ Miyamae Bridge…
Probably one of the most iconic landmarks in Takayama, the Torii Gate @ Miyamae Bridge is one of the largest Torii Gates we’ve seen during this trip. Walking past it, you’ll arrive at Sakurayama Hachiman-gu Shrine and the Takayama Yatai Kaikan (Float Display Exhibition)…
The entrance fee to Takayama Yatai Kaikan Float Exhibition Hall was 900 yen per person. We decided to skip it and enjoy the leisurely morning at a local cafe at the Takayama edo-period preservation area which we saw the day before.
Enroute, we also bought a baum kuchen (German spit cake) that is very popular in Japan and another matcha ice cream, which was good but not as good as that of Lake Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center
This particular cafe we visited in Takayama is located at the Kamininomachi Street Preservation Area. We can’t pin point it but you’ll walk past an entrance with a tea ceremony setting where you’ll have to leave your shoes to enter.
The barley tea and matcha cake set costs 850 yen while the matcha soy latte was 550 yen. Although a little expensive, we thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere within as well as the well-manicured Japanese garden view just outside the window.
Hida Takuma Takayama (飛騨琢磨 )
Finally, the other highlight of our trip (besides the in-room onsen at Konansou Mount Fuji), A5 grade hidagyu at Hida Takuma Takayama (飛騨琢磨)!
We reached Hida Takuma at about 1130am. Having read the reviews of Takayama hida beef, we knew that Hida Takuma served one of the best A5 Grade Hida Beef in Takayama. You may be wondering what is A5 Grade Hida Beef. For wagyu (Japanese Beef) beef from Japan, A5 is the highest grade given to the best wagyu beef from Japan. The letter A refers to the highest proportion of yield – meat that can be obtained from the cattle while the number 5 refers to the highest marbling classification for wagyu beef.
After browsing through the menu, we settled on the hida beef sukiyaki set (4400 yen) and hoba miso beef steak set at (4600 yen)…
The hida beef sukiyaki was served first and from the picture above, the marbling could clearly be seen – definition of the A5 grade wagyu hida beef. As with hidagyu served in Takayama, the hida beef steak served at Hida Takuma was served with miso on a magnolia leaf over an individual stone stove. The lady staff, though limited in English, was proficient enough to communicate with us. From time to time, we would come over to check that the sukiyaki was ready to be folded in and when the beef steak was ready. Once ready, she also delivered the rice and miso soup…
The taste? As expected, the texture was melt-in-your-mouth tender while the taste was oozing with rich fatty goodness. As we chewed, the miso and hidagyu flavours exploded in our mouths! So so good! Even the vegetables were sweet! Check out this video we took of the hidagyu beef steak and sukiyaki at Hida Takuma Takayam!
We also had Asahi draft beer (500 yen each) to accompany the meal. Eventhough miso was “salty” to taste, we didn’t feel thirsty at all after the meal. The Japanese refers this taste from miso to be “umami” – the fifth taste after salt, sweet, sour and bitter. All in all, the meal was filling, tasty, rich and flavourful! Definitely a must-visit during your trip to Takayama!
Before we left Takayama to go Nagoya, we visited a souvenir/snack shop near the Takayama JR Bus Station. We bought some kit kat and tried to ask if we were able to get some tax refunds here. Surprisingly, we were able to. According to tax refund requirements in Japan, as long as you make purchases above 5000 yen for the same type of products (consumables or general items), you’ll be able to get a tax refund of 8%. The cool part about tax free shopping in Japan is that you’ll be able to get the tax refunds on the spot. But you’ll need to show your passport and fill up a tax-free form. At this particular souvenir/snack shop, although we did receive a discount of 8%, we did not have to fill up any forms or show our passport… -_-”
Just before our bus to Nagoya arrived, we also visited the Takayama JR Train Station. If you missed the float exhibition like we did, you can check out the displays (complete with descriptions) here. Before long, our bus from Takayama to Nagoya arrived…
As with all Japanese transportation, the bus departed Takayama Station at 2pm sharp and arrived at Nagoya Station at 4:45pm sharp. Along the way, we took in some views as well…
Montblanc Hotel Nagoya
Upon arrival at Nagoya bus station, we headed straight to our hotel, Montblanc Hotel Nagoya to drop off our bags – 5 minutes away by foot.[embedded content]
The room was a little small but had all that we need in a room – comfy bed, bath tub and TV!
The first attraction we visited in Nagoya? Nagoya Castle! Our initial thought was to take a night shot of Nagoya Castle and “been there done that”. Unfortunately, we were not able to get close enough for a good shot. The best night shot of Nagoya Castle we could get was from the bridge at a major junction nearby…
Thereafter, we “attempted” to walk along the river but there was really no river boardwalk/sidewalks to walk on. Then somehow, we ventured to Nagoyaza Kabuki Cafe…[embedded content]
As we walked past the outside of Nagoyaza Kabuki Cafe, the actors were performing a sword fight just outside. As you’ve seen from the video above, after one of the actors dropped down, the other actor wanted to do the “finishing move” when the injured actor stood up and said “stop stop stop!” – to the laughter of the viewing audience!
Craft Beer Koyoen
To end off the evening, we wanted to check out the local Japanese bar (izakaya) scene in Nagoya. However, as it was a friday, the authentic local bars near Nagoya train station were full. We therefore settled our dinner at Craft Beer Koyoen…
Overall, we spent 4800 yen at Koyoen – which we felt was a little on the high side. In terms of the dishes, we found most of them on the salty side. Probably to induce more beer ordering. Nonetheless, it was a filling (very filling) dinner and we were practically stuffed as we left Koyoen.
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We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the fantastic hidagyu in Takayama as well as our trip from Takayama to Nagoya. Stay tuned for our next post as we explore all the attractions in Nagoya!
If you have just completed a post from our 12 days of travels in Japan. Find out more about this trip to Japan in the following posts below.
15 Travel Experiences and Things to do in Tokyo Japan!
Top 9 Things to do in Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko Area!
Top 5 Things to do in Hida Takayama (高山)!
Top 6 Things to do in Nagoya (and food to eat)!
12 Days of Japan Travels: Tokyo Jimbocho and Imperial Palace Gardens Day 1
12 Days of Japan Travels: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Shinjuku Pablo and Shibuya Day 2
12 Days of Japan Travels: Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi, Sanrokuen and Fujizakura Inn Reviews Day 3
12 Days of Japan Travels: Lake Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center & Sightseeing Bus Tour Day 4
Konansou Mount Fuji Hotel Review (湖南庄) : In-Room Onsen and Meals with views of Mount Fuji!
12 Days of Japan Travels: Lake Saiko Wind Cave, Ide Brewery Mount Fuji and Bus Ride to Takayama Day 5
12 Days of Japan Travels: Takayama Morning Markets Jinya-Mae, Miyagawa and Takayama Hidagyu Day 6
12 Days of Japan Travels: Takayama Hidagyu (Hida Beef) and Bus Ride to Nagoya Day 7
Takayama Hidagyu Beef: All You Need To Know!
12 Days of Japan Travels: Eating our way through Nagoya Day 8
12 Days of Japan Travels: Visit Nagoya Castle and Overnight Bus Ride from Nagoya to Tokyo Day 9
12 Days of Japan Travels: Ichiran Ramen & Kamiya Pub Reviews Day 10
12 days of Japan Travels: Tsukiji Fish Market, Ippudo Ramen & Akihabara Tokyo Day 11
12 days of Japan Travels: Ueno Zoo, Ameyoko Shopping Street & Giga Butadon Day 12
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