Enjoy exploring the fascinating ancient buildings, bustling markets and stunning mountain views of this city located high in the Japanese Alps.
Takayama is a unique city in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture. Although this region is known as Japan’s crossroads, Takayama is located high in the Japanese Alps and the city’s relative isolation has meant that its culture has developed over the past 300 years without much influence from the outside world. Find ancient temples, heritage farmsteads and castles in this mountainous region.
The Hida-Kokubunji Temple is Takayama’s oldest structure. Explore the three-story pagoda and see a 1,200-year-old ginkgo tree. Take a step back in time at Hida Folk Village. This open-air museum consists of nearly 30 farmhouses that span the centuries. The village displays artifacts from various historical periods and features traditional Japanese handicraft demonstrations.
For spectacular views, take a bus to the summit of Mount Norikura. This dormant volcano, the third tallest in Japan, features wide plains and deep crater lakes. The road up the mountain is often closed because of heavy snowfall. For more panoramic views of the Northern Alps, visit Shinhotaka Ropeway. This aerial lift takes you up Mount Hotakadake, one of Japan’s tallest mountains. Pamper yourself at the mountain’s spa resort.
Explore the ruins of Matsukura Castle. The grounds are home to several hundred cherry trees that explode into blossom during spring. Several events, such as the Sengoku Noroshi Festival, are held here during the blooming season. Takayama Jinya is a former government outpost. The main building has been immaculately restored and is now open to the public. Stop by the farmers’ market held outside every morning.
Takayama is renowned for its exceptionally talented carpenters. See their handiwork in palaces and temples in Kyoto and Nara. As you walk through the city, take note of the buildings’ immaculately crafted decorations. Handmade wooden souvenirs, available at the local market, are very popular keepsakes.
You can easily get to Takayama by bus or by train. The city’s train station connects with most of the region’s cities and towns. You can reach Tokyo by train in just over 4 hours.