DAY 8: Friday
Komeda Coffee (Aichi)
The final day of our trip began with much-needed caffeine at Komeda Coffee, a popular chain in the Nagoya area known for its pleasingly affordable breakfast. Before 11 a.m., any drink on the menu comes with a big puffy slice of toast and your choice of topping. By our guide’s recommendation I went for anko red bean, advice for which I will be forever grateful. Beans on bread never tasted so sweet.
Tokugawa Art Museum (Aichi)
It was then on to the Tokugawa Art Museum, which houses the private collection of culturally significant artifacts handed down through the Owari branch of the Tokugawa Clan, once rulers of what is now Aichi Prefecture. A stark contrast to the homely pleasures of Shirakawa-go or jikabuki, the items on display here ooze luxury and refinement to a breathtaking degree.
From lavish Noh costumes to master-crafted swords, golden wall hangings and millennia-old Chinese scrolls: I would certainly have accepted an invitation to playtime at the Owari household. On display only for a few weeks a year due to their fragility, the museum also has some of the earliest known examples of the illustrated version of The Tale of Genji on scroll, but the slightly later bound version on permanent display was certainly impressive enough for me.
So that concludes the account of my Shoryudo escapades, enough even to make the great Genji jealous I’m sure. Will I go again? Most certainly. One of the luxuries of traveling in Japan is the variety of experiences you are afforded depending on the season, and visiting the Takayama spring festival is already on my to-do list for next year.
I was going to end on a pun mixing Shoryudo with arcade classic Street Fighter’s “Shoryuken,” but that would just be silly.