Takayama, also known as Hida Takayama, is famous for the Takayama Festival and beautiful landscapes. Takayama is a city in the mountainous Hida district of Gifu Prefecture. The lay of the land as seen today dates from the late seventeenth century style of architecture, fused with the abundance of halls and sanctuaries. This is amazing for a city of its humble size. There are many attractive aspects to this area that will draw anyone in such as a hotel built in the Meiji Era, Temples, and the beautiful natural environment.
A visit in Takayama is viewed as a must for travelers going to Central Honshu. Despite that Takayama was a little-known village only 10 years back, its current ascent to popularity has made people forget about that fact. Phenomenal landscapes, infrastructures, warm and inviting local Japanese people will welcome you to Takayama. Give yourself a few days to appreciate it all. Takayama can be effortlessly explored by walking and it is the ideal start or end point for treks to the Hida Region and the Northern Alps.
Best Things to Do in Takayama Japan’s Tourist Attractions: Points of Interest
Takayama’s Old Town is one of the oldest towns in Japan. This little piece of history has been most carefully safeguarded from the wear and tear of time since the Edo Era, a point in time that lasted from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s. Just having the chance to bask in the beauty of the town is a testament to the effort the people have put into preserving their culture.
The fact that each and every structure in this town was built over 400 years ago is amazing in its own right. Large portions of the old houses have been transformed into shops and diners, yet there are a lot of homes here that will effectively transport you to a time before the rest of the world even knew of Japan.
Another thing to note is how they mixed some minimalist and humble modern aspects to the design of the old houses. This is what is great in Japan. They have aced the art of keeping the old in the modern times. The outside of the houses in Takayama seems like it belongs to some other time, however, the minute you venture inside, all of a sudden, you will recall that you are in the millennial year.
See the list below on some of the places you should visit in Takayama:
- Takayama Jinya
This administrative government building goes back to the seventeenth century when Japan was yet ruled by shoguns. A free guided English visit is accessible with minimal cost. The English guide has been reported to be very understandable and is very effective at giving easy to understand information. If an English guide is not available, it is advisable to wait for them as Takayama Jinya is just truly fascinating when you hear its history.
- Sake Breweries
Takayama is on the top of Japan’s list in creating astounding sake. Like wine or beer, there are endless diverse sorts of sake, so it merits examining some regardless of the possibility that you haven’t delighted in the drink before. Takayama holds a celebration every mid-March to show the year's new sake mixes. It's certainly not on as grand a scale when compared to the Spring and Autumn Festivals, yet there are traditional performances, parades including the barrels of sake and, obviously, free sake.
- Showa Museum
A standout amongst the most prominent historical centers in Takayama is the Festival Float Exhibition Hall or the Takayama Yatai Kaikan. This is where Takayama's hundreds of years old festival floats are officially housed. You can find yourself near to the floats amid the celebrations, however, they are cordoned off and isolated when housed in the historical center. This odd, family-run historical center displays a wide range of memorabilia from Japan's Showa Period. You will discover antiquated landmarks practically wherever you look in Japan, which makes this reference to Japan's current past an intriguing visit.
- Hida Folk Village
The Hida Folk Village is a gathering of the Edo period farmhouses. These expansive, tough houses are one of a kind, where unforgiving winters made it important to build homes that could withstand overwhelming snowfall and frosty temperatures. The houses are situated by a lake. Inside, each house in the Folk Village resembles an independent historical center, showing conventional apparatuses and different individual traditional artifacts. Near the farmhouses, you can be taught how to make Sarubobo dolls and different crafts at the Hida Takayama Crafts Experience Center. Huge numbers of the houses were moved to this site from adjacent Shirakawa-go, thus, this is the best place to check out traditional farmhouses in Japan.
Winter Weather in Takayama Japan
The whole of Takayama is covered in snow during winter and it is not exactly a bad thing. It is serene and peaceful to walk around Takayama during winter. Snow covers the trees, streets, rooftops, and mountains. During this time, visitors flock to Takayama to view its mountainous areas covered in snow which is gorgeous. Takayama’s winter weather lasts up to February.
Mapping Out Best Hotels in Takayama Japan
The first thing to cross out when planning a trip to anywhere would have to be the accommodations. Japan has been known to have excellent service quality for hotels and the ones in Takayama aren’t exceptions. Here are some of Takayama’s best hotels where you are sure to get that Japanese hospitality at its finest.
- Oyado koto no Yume
You will be inspired by the kind and efficient staff at this superb accommodation. This hotel offers guests a wonderful mix of modern and traditional architecture by making the halls and lobby new while keeping the guest rooms in the traditional tatami fashion. This hotel is strategically placed near a station of the JR Takayama line. Definitely, it is an accommodation great for the value.
Encompassed by the greenery of Shiroyama-kōen, this upscale ryokan on the edge of town has brilliant open air hot springs where you can have a magnificent view of the Takayama. Hoshokaku highlights Japanese style rooms in a conventional building. Visitors can absorb the pure waters of indoor and open-air hot springs and unwind in the roomy public baths.
- Sumiyoshi Ryokan
Ryokan Sumiyoshi has public baths and a little Japanese garden. There are many collectibles like pots and samurai armors showed at the hall. Rooms are fitted with tatami flooring and conventional futon bedding. A low table and television with satellite stations are available as well.
Restaurants to Eat at in Takayama Japan
The Takayama restaurant scene is best known for its superb Hida beef which is raised in the area. But beyond the Hida beef, Takayama’s restaurants have more to offer.
- Ajikura Tengoku
Ajikura Tengoku is around a three-minute walk from JR Takayama Station. This restaurant specializes in yakiniku, which is Japan’s style of at-table barbecue. As a restaurant that boasts of specializing in yakiniku, this restaurant does not serve just any kind of meat. This place serves just the best JA Hida Group's Farmers’ Hida beef. The seating is in the Japanese style, highlighting horigotatsu seats which imply you lounge around a low table on a tatami. The Hida beef in Ajikura Tengoku is so delicate that it truly melts in your mouth. It is prescribed to eat the beef with the salt gave as it truly brings out and improves the flavor. You can likewise plunge your meat in an assortment of exceptional yakiniku sauces which incorporate miso and soy sauce. This restaurant also serves an English menu so you surely won’t get your beef wrong.
- Matsuki Sushi
Matsuki Sushi is a customary style sushi eatery. The proprietor's granddad was a fishmonger in Toyama and began a fish shop in Takayama to make crisp fish all the more generally known. The business, in the end, changed this sushi eatery and the rest as is commonly said is history. It can be said that what is served here is Takayama’s secret delicacy. Unbeknownst to many, crisp fish is exported to the neighboring areas. There is an English menu accessible but you really got to try the Tempura Gozen set, which features eight hearty servings of sushi, tempura and miso soup with crab.
All About Takayama Festival Japan
The Takayama Festival, also known as Takayama Matsuri, is positioned as one of Japan’s three most excellent and celebrated festivals together with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and the Chichibu Yomatsuri. It Is held twice per year in Spring and Autumn seasons in the old town of Takayama and pulls in huge quantities of visitors who would want to celebrate or know more about one of Japan’s biggest celebrations.
The Takayama Spring Festival is held on the 14th and 15th of April. It is the yearly celebration of the Hie shrine, located in the southern portion of Takayama’s old town. Since the sanctum is otherwise called the Sanno-sama, the spring festival then became known as the Sanno Festival as well.
On the other hand, the Takayama Autumn Festival is the yearly celebration of the Hachiman Shrine, located in the northern portion of Takayama’s old town. It is held on the 9th and 10th of the October. The Takayama Autumn Festival is also known as the Hachiman Festival.
The spring and autumn time celebrations have comparative attractions and timetables. Every festival highlights its own arrangement of around twelve festival floats, called yatai. Amid the year, the tall and intensely enlivened yatai are put away in storage facilities, which are scattered all throughout Takayama’s old town. You may also see a production of floats displayed year round at the Matsuri no Mori festival gallery.
The Takayama Festival is an exceptionally well-known occasion, visited by thousand individuals from all over Japan and the world. It gets particularly swarmed on the off chance that one or both celebration days fall on an end of the week or national occasion.
- Festival Floats
For the whole duration of the festival, the floats are displayed on the streets of Takayama for viewers to look at. The viewers will have the privilege to check these floats from morning until the afternoon. However, in the off chance that you arrive at an unlucky time and the weather is bad, the floats will remain in their storage units but do not worry as these storage units will be open to the public for viewing.
- Karakuri Performance
A few of the festival floats are designed with Karakuri ningyo. These are intricate mechanical dolls that are not only beautifully decorated and designed, but the mechanical dolls can also move. Karakuri doll exhibitions are shown on both days of the celebration at different times and locations. You may want to get a schedule beforehand so you can plan and insert into your itinerary when to watch the Karakuri doll performance. Festival maps would most likely have the show schedules as well. Just like the display of the festival floats, if the weather does not permit for these shows to be held on the streets, it is then moved to their perspective storage houses.
- Mikoshi Procession
Witnessing the Mikoshi Procession is a must for Takayama Festival goers. The Shinto Deity never leaves the shrine except for this lone time where the Shinto Deity is brought around town for the procession. The Mikoshi Procession happens in the afternoon of both days of the festival.
- Evening Festival
At the night of the principal day celebration, the floats are pulled through the avenues of Takayama’s old town for a few hours. The night festivities, also known as the yomatsuri, is viewed as the festival’s highlights for Takayama’s festival goers. Although, if it rains, the night festivities are canceled. So keep your fingers crossed that this will not be the case when you visit.
Before you even think of participating in Takayama Festival, you should be prepared beforehand. Hotels and Ryokans in Takayama get fully booked numerous months ahead of the festival dates. Thus, it is highly encouraged that you make lodging arrangements in advance. If you are really running out of accommodation options in Takayama, you may check Furukawa and Gero Onsen, which are neighboring towns. But the best option is still to stay in Takayama, especially if you would want to celebrate the evening in the night festivities of Takayama Festival. You will get tired from all the festivities and travel that you will do in Takayama. So do not forget to treat yourself to an onsen appointment before you end your Takayama trip.
When you think of Japan, generally the places to first pop up would be Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Mount Fuji, and Hokkaido. It is unlikely for you to meet someone who puts Takayama on top of their Japan list. But beyond the famous cities of Japan are quaint beautiful towns like Takayama beaming with friendly locals and traditional cultures. Takayama is definitely the reason for you to visit a new address in Japan!