Japan Travel Guide

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Takayama

 

About

Takayama (in Japanese: 高山市, Takayama Shi) is a city in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. It is well known for its "Old Town" feel in the "Sannomachi" area (see map below), the "Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village" (or know in the Western World as "Hida Folk Villiage"), nearby Shirakawa-go (a "Real" town with traditional structures) and being in the "heart" of the Japanese Alps with some beautiful high mountain scenery.

Bridge in Takayama Gifu Japan

Bridge and Cherry Blossoms in Takayama Gifu Japan

The Takayama area was settled by inhabitants as far back at the Jomon Period (thousands of years ago) but the current town and its culture took shape at the end of the 16th century, when the Kanamori clan built Takayama Castle. The town has been under control by various clans throughout history and later came under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate but the remoteness of it kept Takayama fairly isolated which allowed Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period. During the feudal ages, Takayama was well known for it's high quality timber and highly skilled carpenters of which, is believed, worked on the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and on many of the temples in Kyoto and Nara.

Mt. Hotakadake near Takayama

Mt. Hotakadake near Takayama

The "Takayama Matsuri" or "Takayama Festival" is held in spring and autumn and is one of Japan's three most famous festivals. This festival attracts a huge number of visitors. The Spring festival is held in the Hie Shrine while the Autumn festival is held in the Hachiman Shrine. Both spring and autumn festivals feature tall and decorated floats (called "Yatai" in Japanese) and some of these even feature mechanical dolls (called "Karakuri Ningyo" in Japanese) on top. You can view some of these floats while walking through town at any time of the year as some are stored in storehouses for viewing. There are also two morning markets held in Takayama everyday where local products and crafts are sold. One is in front of the Takayama Jinya and the other near the Miyagawa river.

Entrance to Sake Brewery in Takayama Japan

Entrance to Sake Brewery in Takayama Japan

Takayama receives a LOT of snow in the winter (on average of 5.11m or 201.2 inches) and it tends to pile up in massive snow banks during this time. Also during "Rainy Season" (end of May through beginning of July) Takayama receives a LOT of rain so if you are going during this time don't expect to see the sun. Spring is cool and dry yet very short and Autumn is of course a beautiful, yet short once again, season in Takayama with clear, crisp air and changing colors. However, no matter what the season, Takayama offers a different aspect and feeling that tourists greatly appreciate. Takayama is one of the "Main Destinations" travelers to Japan add to their itinerary when they desire to visit a "Rural" and "Traditional" Japanese environment.

 

 

Access

How to get to Takayama Japan

The graphic above is a simplified "Quick Glance" at transportation options. Due to fluctuating schedules & pricing, Times & Costs are subject to change.

from Tokyo

  • by Train
    • Shinkansen & Ltd. Express Train Via Nagoya - around 14,000 yen and takes about 4 hours & 20 min.
      This is the quickest way to get to Takayama but you'll have to transfer in Nagoya to a Ltd. Express train. From Nagoya you will ride the JR Hida Ltd. Express train. Both legs of the trip are covered by the JR Pass.
    • Shinkansen & Ltd. Express Train Via Toyama - around 15,500 yen and takes about 5 hours.
      This method is just slightly longer and more expensive than the Nagoya route. If your headed strait for Takayama, you should take the Nagoya route above but if your planning on visiting destinations in the Toyama/Kanazawa area you might want to consider this route. From Toyama you will ride the JR Hida Ltd. Express. Both legs of the trip are covered by the JR Pass.
  • by Highway Express Bus
    • Both the Keio and Nohi Buss lines offer services from Shinjuku (Tokyo). - around 6,690 yen and takes about 5.5 hours
      If your staying in Shinjuku and want a simple and easy method of getting to Takayama, you might want to consider a bus. Although the ride is slightly longer than trains, you don't have to transfer and you don't have to make your way to Tokyo Station either.

Find a train route and times by Hyperdia & Jorudan

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Hotels & Lodging

View all Hotels and Lodging in & nearby Takayama

 

Area Map

Takayama Japan, Takayama Area Map

 

Attractions

View all attractions in & nearby Takayama

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