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  • Takayama is a pleasant mountain town in the northern Japan Alps famous for its well preserved

  • old district, woodworking, and its festival.

  • Located in the mountainous Hida Region in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture, Takayama

  • (which is often called Hida Takayama to distinguish it from other places of the same name) can

  • be reached in just under two and a half hours from Nagoya via the JR Hida Limited Express

  • train and in about 5 and half hours from Tokyo by direct highway bus.

  • Here are a few other options to access Takayama, which may be helpful depending on your location.

  • Takayama has been renowned for many centuries for its high-quality timber and the skill

  • of its carpenters; aspects that are still prominently displayed through the town's architecture.

  • In the feudal days of the Edo period, when Japan was ruled by dozens of regional lords

  • (called daimyo), the shogun in Edo had direct control over a few strategically important

  • locations (such as Sado Island for its gold & silver mines, and Nagasaki for its port).

  • Takayama used to be one such location due to its excellent wood and talented craftsmen,

  • which were highly valuable commodities in those days.

  • This brought significant wealth to the town and its merchants.

  • Even today Hida lumber, wood crafts, and furniture remain famous nation-wide.

  • Takayama is also an excellent base from which you can reach many nearby worthwhile locations

  • such as the beautiful nature of Okuhida as well as Shirakawago's massive farmhouses.

  • With this in mind, here are our Top 5 Recommendations for Takayama and the nearby areas.

  • Number Five: Takayama Jinya

  • As mentioned earlier, because of its valuable timber resources, in the late 1600s

  • Takayama was put under direct control of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

  • Staffed by officials sent from Edo (or Tokyo), the Takayama Jinya building complex in the

  • middle of town served as the local government office until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

  • Today the buildings still stand and have been turned into a well-maintained museum where

  • visitors can walk through the large tatami rooms which were once offices, conference

  • rooms, and there is even an interestinginterrogation room”.

  • Also, next to the main building is the largest traditional rice storehouse in Japan which

  • now showcases many historical items and documents.

  • Number Four: Takayama Festival

  • Alongside the Kyoto Gion Matsuri and also Chichibu Night Festival, the Takayama Festival

  • is ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals.

  • Occurring twice each year this is not only a fun event to witness but also showcases

  • the town's incredible woodworking abilities.

  • The main attractions of the event are the parade of heavily decorated yatai, or festival floats,

  • performances with highly sophisticated wooden karakuri dolls decorating the floats,

  • and the procession of the ornate mikoshi through the town's streets which contain the shinto

  • deities of the main shrine.

  • Perhaps the highlight of the whole festival is on the evening of the first day when the

  • floats are pulled through the streets of Takayama's old town for several hours.

  • These two festivals which take place each Spring on April 14th and 15th as well as in

  • Autumn on October 9th and 10th.

  • During these dates, Takayama becomes extremely crowded with visitors.

  • If you hope to see one of the festivals, we highly recommend arranging accommodations

  • well in advance since lodging throughout the city gets booked many months beforehand.

  • Number Three: Okuhida Onsen

  • In our opinion, the Okuhida Region is one of the best places in Japan for experiencing

  • large outdoor hot spring baths in beautiful natural surroundings.

  • From central Takayama it's an easy side trip to any of the five onsen towns in the

  • Okuhida Region.

  • Each town has its own character and offers public bathhouses or ryokan with luxurious

  • open-air baths (called rotemburo) from which bathers can admire the surrounding Northern

  • Japan Alps while they soak.

  • We highly recommend staying overnight at one of the many onsen ryokan in the Okuhida region,

  • especially one with a rustic, local atmosphere and includes meals around a fireplace.

  • Guests of these Japanese style inns are given unlimited access to the pools at the inn where

  • they are staying.

  • Most ryokan will also welcome daytime visitors, but will charge an admission fee.

  • A prime example being the Suimeikan Karukaya.

  • If you end up the Shin-Hotaka onsen town, also be sure to ride the Shin-Hotaka ropeway

  • which features Japan's first double decker gondola and also has incredible views of the

  • Northern Japan Alps from the top.

  • Number Two: Shirakawago

  • Shirakawago is a formerly remote area where unique, massive gassho-zukuri farmhouses have

  • survived and can be viewed.

  • It can be reached in an hour by bus from the Takayama bus center located

  • just next to the JR Takayama train station.

  • Although only a few decades ago this farming village was relatively unknown, in 1995 the

  • area achieved UNESCO Cultural Heritage Status, only the fourth location to do so in Japan,

  • and has since become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire country.

  • The main attraction of Shirakawago is Ogimachi, which is the section of town with the highest

  • concentration of gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.

  • Gassho-zukurimeansconstructed like hands in prayerbecause it's said the

  • steep thatched-roofs look like the praying hands of a Buddhist monk.

  • Impressively, these extremely solid houses are constructed without using any nails

  • yet have withstood the large amounts of snow the valley receives each winter for centuries.

  • Several of these farmhouses, such as the Wada house, are open to the public and many also

  • offer overnight stays which (in our opinion) is the best way to experience Shirakawago.

  • Usually these stays are fully booked several months in advance, so we recommend making

  • reservations well ahead of time if you are hoping to spend a night in a farmhouse.

  • Shirakawago is extremely picturesque in any season.

  • In spring there are cherry blossoms, in summer the town is green and lush, fall brings beautiful

  • colors, and in winter the areas is covered in a blanket of snow and there are night illuminations.

  • If you are unable to make it all the way to Shirakawa-go from Takayama, an excellent alternative

  • is Hida no Sato.

  • This well-done open air museum features over 30 traditional buildings from the Hida region

  • and is located right in Takayama.

  • Number One: Takayama Old Town

  • Featuring buildings dating back as far the 1600s, Takayama's Old Town district is one

  • of the best preserved historic districts in the entire country and definitely a must-see destination.

  • Walking these atmospheric streets, visitors experience a first-hand glimpse of what it

  • was like to visit Takayama during the Edo period.

  • The Old Town can be reached in an easy ten minute walk from Takayama Station.

  • There are also local buses which can be boarded at the station as well.

  • The Old Town area of Takayama is made up primarily of three streets,

  • IchinoMachi, Ninomachi, and Sannomachi.

  • Particularly worthwhile is Sannomachi Street which has many old homes, shops, cafes, and

  • sake breweries, some of which have been in business since the 17th century.

  • Also nearby is the Hachiman Shrine to which the autumn Takayama Festival is dedicated,

  • and several historic houses of local merchant families that have been opened to the public.

  • In the Northern part of the Old Town is where one of Takayama's two daily morning markets is held.

  • Here vendors sell local produce and crafts.

  • We hope this top five list gives you a good place to start when planning your trip to Takayama.

  • For more information about any of the places mentioned in this video or to explore another

  • region, click the links on the screen now, or head over to japan-guide.com, your comprehensive,

  • up-to-date travel guide, first-hand from Japan.

  • Thanks for watching, be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell for more videos about Japan.

  • Happy travels.

Takayama is a pleasant mountain town in the northern Japan Alps famous for its well preserved

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Top 5 Things to do in Takayama | japan-guide.com

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    Summer posted on 2020/11/29
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