Arriving in Takayama 高山 (literally “high mountain”) in the early afternoon, where the train station is positioned neatly in the middle of the town and leads directly on to the main streets.
Even though they don't feature in this pic, I recall dragging my suitcase over an extraordinary number of Tenji Blocks 点字ブロック (tactile tiles) on the way to the hotel to check in. Tactile paving for people with vision impairment was invented in Japan in 1965 and is so widespread that I feel it forms part of the visual identity of many places.
Through the city-flat and out to the mountains, following the path of the Hida River 飛騨川 over two and a half hours, ascending slowly. The curving track, dense forest and jade waters, through rain at times, was a contrast to the pace and the view from the Shinkansen 新幹線.
This pic was taken just past the city of Gero 下呂, known for its onsen 温泉 (hot springs).
Lugging the suitcase on and settling in, first to Gifu Station 岐阜駅, half an hour north of Nagoya 名古屋, where the train reverses directions on to the Takayama Main Line 高山本線.
As it paused for a moment to do so, I looked out and snapped this view before it slid away.
Another view down the lines at Nagoya Station 名古屋駅 as the train approached.
Out of the rain and grey temporarily, arriving at the main station at Nagoya 名古屋, one of the country's largest cities. Off the Shinkansen 新幹線 and across a few tracks to wait for the Hida ひだ limited express and the lazy winding trip to the mountains.
Eating some Pocky ポッキー, probably, while watching the rain over the mountains.
The way the view of the landscape moves at this speed makes me wonder if the early-90s Sega developers that worked on Sonic got the idea for parallax background layers from trips taken on this line.
Trains on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen 東海道新幹線 travel at around 285-300 km/h, with the super express Nozomi のぞみ (“Wish”) making the fewest stops, the Hikari ひかり (“Light”) making a few more, and the Kodama こだま (“Echo”) stopping at all stations.
Here, a brief pause at Odawara Station 小田原駅 before continuing on. 10 minutes later, as the line heads south and then turns to the west, it's possible to get a great view of Mount Fuji 富士山, but the weather wasn't cooperating at the time.