Takayama Travel Guide

  • Takayama
    by heydelin
  • Gassho style houses overlooking Nikko mountain
    Gassho style houses overlooking Nikko...
    by heydelin
  • me at takayama
    me at takayama
    by heydelin

Takayama Things to Do

  • Honmachi Shopping Street

    Honmachi is Takayama's main shopping street. Though not as historic as the streets across the Miyagawa, this area is still comforting and inviting, with its covered sidewalks, small restaurants selling Hida beef, and shops with local products like crafts, clothing and sake. This was one of our first stops in Takayama, and we visited a liquor store...

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  • Takayama's Miyagawa

    The Miya River, or Miyagawa, is the main river through Takayama. Through old Takayama, the river is spanned by several small bridges including Kajibashi, Yanagibashi, Ikadabashi and the famous red Nakabashi. Numerous pools in the river are filled with giant gray and orange carp and ducks. Along the river, you can also find the Miyagawa Morning...

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  • Shiroyama Park

    Shiroyama Park was originally the site of Takayama Castle, which was built from 1588-1600, in use until about 1695 then dismantled. Not much of the castle remains, other than some walls, but the site is an impressive 60 acre park, filled with walking trails and 1,000 cherry trees that bloom in the spring.At the entrance to the park stands a statue...

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  • Takayama's Old Private Houses

    Takayama's Old Private Houses, or Furui-Machi-Nmai, is a historical preservation area east of the Miyagawa River. This was the original area of the planned castle town, centered on Sannomachi Street, where houses, shops, sake breweries, and inn occupy houses that date back to the Edo Period (1600-1868). This is a great place to walk, take photos,...

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  • Hida No Sato (Hida Folk Village)

    Hida No Sato, or Hida Folk Village is famous for its collection of thatch-roofed houses. The small park now with over 30 buildings was opened in 1971 to preserve of the traditional architecture local to the area. For 700 Yen a person, you can visit the park, tour the building, try some local games and crafts, and see artisans producing other...

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  • Miyagawa Morning Market

    Miyagawa Morning Market is the larger of two morning markets in central Takayama. While the Jinya-mae market is almost entirely a traditional farmer's market. The Miyagawa market has farm-fresh produce, along with prepared foods, gifts, art, and more spread across 60 stalls stretching 350 meters along the beautiful river. During our visit we had...

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Takayama Hotels

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Takayama Restaurants

  • Hida Korikori Beer's Koelsch

    Hida Korikori, in the summer of 2104, offers two koelsch-style beers, their standard koelsch and Sarubobo Beer. I tried Sarubobo Beer first, and it was not a good beer. I had their koelsch immediately after the Sarubobo, and the koelsch was definitely a better beer. It poured a similar golden color, but with some sediment and a thick head that...

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  • Hida Korikori's Sarubobo Beer

    Sarubobo Beer, or "baby monkey beer," is named after the small sarubobo dolls sold in Takayama as symbols of good luck. The red sarubobo doll adorns the simple tan label on this beer. Sarubobo beer is classified as a German Kölsch. The smell is sweet and lightly soapy perhaps like a mild dish detergent. The taste is very plain and mild, not much...

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  • Hida Takayama Brewery's Pale Ale

    Hida Takayama Brewery, also called Hida Takayama Brewing Agricultural Corporation Limited, was established in 1996, making it one of the oldest ji-biru (craft beer) brewers in Japan. Their logo is an insane clown lion, and they brew a number of fairly standard beers like a pils, dark ale, stout and pale ale. The brewery was founded by a Japanese...

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  • Tenaga Ashinaga Restaurant

    Tenaga Ashinga is a restaurant that features local Hida beef and Hida pork dishes. Hida beef (Hida-gyu or 飛驒牛) is a special breed of high-quality Wagyu beef local to Gifu Prefecture. We had two of the Hida beef meals, including one with a mix of pork, beef, and kimchi over rice. Rich and very delicious. Our meals came with a...

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  • Hida Takayama Brewery's Weizen

    Hida Takayama Brewery, also called Hida Takayama Brewing Agricultural Corporation Limited, was established in 1996, making it one of the oldest ji-biru (craft beer) brewers in Japan. Their logo is an insane clown lion, and they brew a number of fairly standard beers like a pils, dark ale, stout and pale ale. The brewery was founded by a Japanese...

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  • Hida Takayama Brewery Karumina Belgian...

    Hida Takayama Brewery, also called Hida Takayama Brewing Agricultural Corporation Limited, was established in 1996, making it one of the oldest ji-biru (craft beer) brewers in Japan. Their logo is an insane clown lion, and they brew a number of fairly standard beers like a pils, dark ale, stout and pale ale. The brewery was founded by a Japanese...

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Takayama Nightlife

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    by Ewingjr98 Written Sep 16, 2014

    Takayama’s biggest nightlife district, called Asahi-machi, is centered on Asahi-cho. Most of the establishments in this area are hostess clubs or snack/girls bars, along with a few izakayas.

    The most unique thing in the nightlife area is a tiny archery range, called Hankyudojo, where you can shoot Japanese half bows at small targets. Four people sit on stools and shoot the small bows and arrows at targets down the alley. (Address: 11-2 Asahi-cho, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture).

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Takayama Transportation

  • Driving Between Matsumoto & Takayama on...

    Route 361 from Ina to Takayama is a route through the mountains that serves as an alternate to Route 158 between Matsumoto and Takayama. This route is further south and it is over 100 km (about 20 km longer than Route 158). While this route has some very mountainous stretches, overall it is an easier drive than Route 158, and it passes through some...

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  • Driving Between Matsumoto & Takayama on...

    There are no easy, direct routes between Matsumoto and Takayama. Even though the towns are about 50 km apart in a straight line, the train route takes you all the way to Nagoya, hundreds of kilometers out of the way, on a long five hour journey. Driving between the towns is a much better option (depending on the weather and road conditions), and...

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  • Guided tour to Shirakawa-go

    There are at least 3 tour companies that offer guided tours to the World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go, the old farming village where gassho houses are located. The one I joined ISite charges (as of July 2014) 4,000 yen which is actually less than what a regular public bus would charge round trip. The English-fluent guide was very friendly,...

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Takayama Shopping

  • Shopping for souvenirs

    Towards the southern end of Kami-Sannomachi, near a couple of sake breweries, is this attractive small gallery selling original art, good quality prints and greetings cards. We wandered in so I could look at the latter and ended up being seduced by a fairly large limited edition woodblock print! We didn’t buy it immediately, having resolved not to...

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  • Souvenir shops

    There are some souvenir shop at the bus stop. Prize is average. You can find local craft or local food.

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  • Alcohol, pottery, cloth souvenirs

    Good buys from Takayama town include Hoba Miso packages, Hida sake, Shirakawa green tea and handmade cloth souvenirs. And of course, Sarubobos (the gold ones are totally eccentric).The old shophouse district, the main shopping street cutting across town (perpendicular to the JR station) and morning market near the river are good places to get them....

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Takayama Local Customs

  • Sarubobo

    I found these red-headed faceless figures a little spooky but they are very popular and you will see them all over Takayama, used as symbols in promoting shops etc. and available to buy as a souvenir in all sorts of forms, from little charms and key rings to large stuffed toys. Traditionally, these sarubobos were made by mothers and grandmothers to...

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  • A baby's blessing

    When we arrived in front of the Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine we found the steps up to the shrine blocked by a family posing for formal photos. We stopped to see what was happening and a passing guide escorting another couple around (local but with excellent English) kindly stopped to explain to us that it is traditional here in Takayama to bring...

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  • A tatami mat workshop

    We saw a couple of these traditional tatami mat workshops on our travels in Japan (the other one was in Nikko), but unfortunately on neither occasion did we manage to catch anyone actually making the mats. Nevertheless it was interesting to see the weaving frames and tools used for this process.Tatami is the traditional Japanese floor covering and...

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Takayama Tourist Traps

  • tompt's Profile Photo

    by tompt Updated Aug 5, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In several guidebooks they mention the morning markets. We visited the one in front of Takayama Jinja and also the one along the banks of the Miya river from the Kaja bridge to the north.
    But its not really the traditional market you are looking for. Many stalls are selling souvenirs like the little faceless Takayama doll next to their fresh vegetables.

    Fun Alternatives: All this stuff is also for sale in the tourists streets.

    Morning market in front of Takayama Jinja

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Takayama What to Pack

  • arianne_1504's Profile Photo

    by arianne_1504 Written Jun 26, 2010

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Though I went in mid April (supposedly Spring and yes apparently unseasonally cold), it snowed in town (again apparently rare for the time of year), I was a little unprepared and would suggest taking the following - beanie, gloves, scarf, thick jacket and jumper, thick socks (I wore three pairs of thin ones and could still feel the cold coming through my shoes). I would probably recommend tights or leggings underneath your jeans. I'm not kidding it was bloody freezing!! Days were still clear though - so sunglasses are recommended. Though the snow had melted by about 9am, it was still extremely cold during the day, and because I hadn't quite the appropriate clothing, it was probably a little less enjoyable than it could have been. Thank god for all those cosy little cafes in Takayama selling hot cocoa!!

    Takayama on my birthday - 15th April 2010 Takayama on my birthday - 15th April 2010

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Takayama Off The Beaten Path

  • Yatai storehouses

    As you walk around Takayama’s old town you may notice some strange looking buildings – very tall, narrow and plain, and painted white in contrast to the dark wood of the old houses that surround them. These are the storehouses for the yatai or festival floats, which are kept hidden away here for most of the year. Only during the four days of...

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  • Hirayu Waterfall

    Nice waterfall located in Oku-Hida that does not require any trekking!Part of an activities park area that has a huge souvenir shop that sells fresh produce from farms in the area, restaurant, toilet facilities and ashinoyu (a foot onsen).A shuttle bus (100yen both ways) from the middle of the park takes you to the end of the road (which you could...

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  • Shinhotaka Ropeway, Gorgeous mountain...

    Rated 2 stars by the Michelin Guide Japon, the observation deck on the top of this ropeway offers fantastic views of the mountains surrounding Oku-hida.Located in Shin-Hodaka Onsen in Oku-hida (north east of Takayama).There is a 2 stage ropeway that leads to the top where the observation deck is.The 1st stage from the base (where the carpark is) to...

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Takayama Favorites

  • Japan's best dressed dogs?

    They say you are either a “cat person” or a “dog person”, and I am definitely the former. But there are many dogs that I find appealing too, and in Takayama there were plenty out on the streets with their owners. I was struck by how many of them were very smartly dressed in little coats. Also, some were carried in bags and one even in a pushchair....

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  • A river runs through it

    Takayama is a mountain town, and the river that runs through it, the Miyagawa, is a clear mountain one. Trout and carp flourish here, ducks bob on the water, and we also saw a heron waiting patiently for the chance to catch a fish, no doubt. The heron, because of its habit of staying motionless like this, is regarded as a symbol of Buddhist...

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  • Grocery shopping

    If you stay in a hostel and are on a budget and don't want to spend too much money on eating out then there is a huge place for grocery shopping not far from Takayama Station. The Tourist Info Booth outside the station got a good map and can give you directions. But it is not hard to find if you want to give it a go on your own.DIRECTIONSApprox....

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