Hida Furukawa, Gifu → Hida Takayama, Gifu

Map of Gifu Prefecture with author’s route from Hida Furukawa to Hida Takayama highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS →

A Japanese couple pose for the camera in the entryway of their house. 📍 Hida Furukawa, Gifu

The social conservatism of rural Japan only became apparent when I finished my bowl of rice at the breakfast table. When that happened, Mr. Funatani yelled for his wife to give me some more. We were sitting no farther than an arm’s reach from the rice cooker, but his ass wasn’t about to become unglued from his chair, and I watched his wife return to the kitchen from the rear of their weird, rambling, wonderful house, and give me another bowl of rice, which I thanked profusely. It’s not that Mr. Funatani was opposed to nourishing me personally, quite the contrary: the previous night, he first poured me sake, then he poured me Kirishima shōchū while he sang enka with the sassy bartender, then he poured me whisky in his kitchen, and I retreated to his guest bedroom with a pleasant buzz. But that was alcohol in the evening, and this was rice in the morning, and there was a difference, and when I left, I thanked them both for their kindness.

Traditional Hida-style Japanese houses on a street in Hida Furukawa, Gifu.

A path by a stream lined with large cherry trees.

Looking southeast on the road between Furukawa and Takayama in Hida, with Mount Norikura on the horizon.

📍 Hida Furukawa, Gifu

The author’s left hand with a row of Japanese coins in descending order laid across it. 📍 Hida Takayama, Gifu

When I picked the penultimate ¥100 coin from my purse to pay for a skewer of dango, and saw the coins that were left, I realized that when you have one of each Japanese coin, you’re worth ¥666.

Looking out on the Hida Mountains from underneath the eaves of a thatch-roofed Japanese farmhouse. 📍 Hida Folk Village, Hida Takayama, Gifu

These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.