Takayama City is located in Gifu Prefecture, in the Japanese Alps. It is called Little Kyoto for its traditional alleys with wooden buildings dating from the Edo period.
From the 8th century, the Japanese were forced to pay taxes on rice or cloth. As Takayama had no rice at that time, instead of paying taxes with rice, the carpenters from Takayama were sent to the capital to build temples and palaces. The carpenters of Takayama were able to acquire the knowledge of the carpenters of Nara and Kyoto, who had advanced technology. When they returned to Takayama, they used the acquired knowledge to build beautiful buildings. Thanks to this shipment of carpenters to the ancient capitals we can appreciate the beautiful buildings of today.
The entrance of Takayama Jinya in winter
Hida Province, whose capital was Takayama, came under the direct control of the Governor of the Tokugawa Shogun in 1692. From that time until 1868, Takayama Jinya was the seat of Hida government and served as a court, a place for collecting taxes. and prison, but at the same time, at the rear of the building, was the governor’s office. It is now the only building of its kind left in Japan.
Access: 10 minute walk from Takayama Station
Admission: 440 yen for adults; Free for children under 15 years
Opening hours: 8: 45-17: 00, closed from December 29 to January 1.
It is the best preserved neighborhood in Takayama. In it you can see the beautiful wooden structures that make up the old buildings that have been converted into restaurants or souvenir shops. It is also a good place to try local gastronomy and sake and to enjoy a little walk.
Takayama Tank Showroom
In Takayama, the Takayama festivals are held twice a year, once in the spring from April 14-15, and once in the fall from October 9-10. In this room, 4 of the 11 tanks used for the fall festival are displayed on a rotating basis. Most of the vehicles date from the Edo period.
Access: 10 minute walk from Takayama StationAdmission: 1000 yen for adults, 500 yen for schoolchildren and college students.
Opening hours: 9: 00-17: 00
Hida Beef -Hida Gyu （飛 騨 牛）
It is one of the specialties of Takayama. Hida Meat can be served as a steak, but the potty way is to eat it with miso paste (fermented soybean paste) and grilled on magnolia leaf, called Ho-ba （朴 葉）. In Sanmachi street we can find many restaurants that serve this local dish and we can also find raw Hida meat sushi.
As Takayama is located in the Japanese Alps, pure water is abundant in Takayama, making this city an ideal place for sake production. On Sanmachi Street, there are several breweries offering sake tastings.
Ramen is a local Japanese food: it is a soup with pasta made from wheat flour. Several Japanese cities offer their typical ramen. Takayama ramen soup is very light because the broth is made from chicken bones. Takayama’s ramen became popular thanks to the animated film “Kimi-no-nawa” in which the protagonist tried it. If you are a little hungry, feel free to try it.
Takayama Jinya morning markets and Miyagawa take place daily from 7:00 to noon.
Here women from nearby farms come to bring their fresh produce: vegetables and flowers. Some points of cultural interest, such as the Kusakabe Heritage House and the Yoshijima Heritage House, are located in the Sakurayama Hachimangi Sepulcher area, along the Enakogawa and Miyagawa rivers and Mount Kitayama.
The area retains a quiet and historic atmosphere, with Kitayama Park and its beautiful seasonal flowers.
At the top of Mount Matsukura are the ruins of Matsukura Castle.
From here you can enjoy a panoramic view of Takayama and the Japanese Alps.
In this area you can visit an artisan village accessed by a path that runs through the forest: Takayama Folk Village
Why is it very famous for traditional crafts?
About 1350 years ago, it was decided by the Taika reformers that a tax should be paid. As Takayama is in the mountains and there was little rice, grains and textiles to pay for this tax, it was decided that the villagers went to the capital to work from 250 to 300 days of the year. They worked as carpenters and built palaces, gates and temples in the capital. About 100 artisans from Takayama came and went, with the hands of these men magnificent buildings were finished. However, it is said that some craftsmen they fled from this difficult work.
The artisans returned to Takayama and used these skills to build the famous ancient temples. The techniques of the takayama artisans still endure in the traditional crafts of this area.
Introduction of traditional crafts
The Takayama region is called a treasure trove of traditional arts and crafts. These crafts range from objects made mostly of wood, such as toys and decorative pieces, to handicrafts made of straw from farming villages.
They are appreciated by tourists as authentic local souvenirs.
“Hida Shunkei” is a lacquer object called “Shunkei”, coated with a transparent varnish.
“Ichii ittobori” is a carving using the finest wood from Takayama called “Ichii” (yew) and without painting, it brought out the natural beauty of a piece of wood.
There are also many wooden products such as furniture with a rich warmth of wood.
2-hour access on the JR express train from Nagoya Station.