Takayama - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


Like travelling back in time.

About Takayama
Takayama is an idyllic town surrounded by majestic mountains. It is a two-hour train ride from Nagoya, driving along rivers and through green valleys, far into the Japanese wilderness. The city is like a time pocket from ancient Japan. Because the city is high in the mountains, it is colder here than in the big cities, and it often snows.

Old samurai home and beautiful crafts in "Little Kyoto"
Takayama is often called "Little Kyoto" and has some of the best preserved traditional town environments. The neighbourhoods around Sannomachi Street date back to the samurai era and the old wooden buildings are very beautiful. The two trading houses Yoshijimake and Kusakabe are exquisite examples of the finer family homes of the samurai era and are worth a visit. The city has a centuries-old tradition of beautiful wood crafts, and you can buy many great gifts here. You also must not forget to taste the city's famous sake and the locally produced Hida beef - as delicious as Kobe beef, but less pricey! Every morning from 7 (8 in winter) to 12 there are morning markets in two places in the town. The markets have a nice atmosphere and of course a lot of delicious food. They can be found along the Miyagawa River and in front of Takayama Jinya. The latter is also worth a visit in itself - a former administration building for the samurai government, which is now open as a museum.

Other landmarks in Takayama
Just outside the city is the open-air museum Hida no Sato. Its 500-year-old farmhouses give an impression of how the Japanese built and lived in the old days. In April and October, Takayama holds its annual spring and autumn festivals. They are some of the most traditional festivals to be found in Japan, and full of bygone pomp and splendour. Here are amazing parades with human-sized puppets, gold-clad floats, folk costumes, music and dance! Note that if you want to experience one of the festivals, you must book your trip well in advance. If you have time for day trips, both Hida Furukawa and Shirakawago are perfectly located. Both are scenic mountain towns. Shirakawago is UNESCO-protected due to its unique farmhouses, and Hida Furukawa is ideal for a bike ride - see our sightseeing tours.

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