It was our first time trying AirBnB. And we loved the experience. It was wonderful to be able to share the space with my friend. Much better than being in separate hotel rooms. And a wonderful way to experience living in a real Japanese house - well, it was much more spacious and luxurious than most modern houses in Japan, I'd say. But it was fun sliding the doors and windows, taking the shoes off when you get into the house, into house slippers for the wooden floors, and just socks for the tatami rooms, and then the special slippers for the bathroom - we'd occasionally get confused, but by and large we were very good.
I think traditional Japanese houses are built to let the breezes fly through in the hot and humid summers. But they are not great in the winter. No central heating. I don't know why. Is it something to do with earthquakes? It wasn't that cold when we got to Takayama, although the evenings were nippy enough. But the oil heater in the living room was badly needed in the evenings. And we had the air conditioner running on hot in the bedroom. That said, once you're in bed, with a big quilt over you, you're as cosy as a piggy in a blanket. Until you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night - no heating in the toilet (except for the heated seat, which is a godsend), in the kitchen, nor in the bathroom (my personal belief is that this lack of heating explains why the Japanese love the hot waters in the onsens). And the hall that runs around two sides of the house was cold, so we kept those sliding doors shut in the evenings. If it wasn't for the humidity and the mosquitoes, I would like to experience a Japanese summer in that house, just to feel the cooling breezes going through the house. In case you want to look at that house on AirBnB, the name is Iori Shiroyama, and it's up on a hill overlooking the town of Takayama - it's a steep walk up the hill, but well worth it.
But I digress. What I really wanted to talk about is the beautiful wooden table that was the centrepiece of the living room. Apparently Takayama is well-known for its beautiful wood and wood craftmanship. It's surrounded by forests of course, so it's not surprise. But I loved our dining table - sitting down for breakfast (a bento box delivered by a local restaurant), enjoying a cup of tea and a few Japanese sweets after a day in town, and a quiet chat at night, remembering the day that's gone and planning the day ahead. I would definitely go back to that house again - and stay a bit longer this time - the town centre is touristy, but there is a lot that we didn't have time to explore, and I would like to go up the mountains for a day trip.
PS: don't forget to feed the carp - although I have to say they stubbornly refused to come out from under their little bridge when I fed them in the mornings.