Places to go in Japan: Takayama (Just My Travel Notes)
My next destination in Japan after Kanazawa was Takayama. As I was researching this trip Takayama kept coming up as a place worth checking out – and boy was that correct. You will have to accept lots of pictures in this one because I got a little bit click happy and took so many pictures.
To get from Kanazawa to Takayama you need to take the Shinkansen to Toyama station and then transfer to the Wide-View Hida Express train. The whole journey takes only about two hours. You could technically take it as a day trip but Takayama is such a glorious place I would allow yourself some time to stay.
Our schedule only allowed us one night in Takayama, that was an absolute shame in hindsight I wish we allowed ourselves at least two to three nights to explore the region.
Takayama is located in the mountainous Hida region. The city has an incredible traditional touch and feeling to it, especially in the old town with beautifully preserved buildings.
The area was well known for its high quality timbers and carpenters and that is evident in the design and exquisite construction of the buildings in the old town.
If you happy to be in the city around Autumn and Spring you can witness the Takayama Festival. The festivals are famous for their festival floats (yatai).
Located only a short walk from the train station is the Takayama Old Town. Many of the buildings within the old town date from the Edo Period (1600-1868) and there are some whole streets that have been preserved from that period.
You could easily spend a day just wandering the old streets and exploring the shops, coffee houses and sake breweries.
As you wander be sure to try some of the Hida Beef Aburi/Nigiri. For a small amount (I think about Y400) you can sample beautifully tender strips of the famous Hida Beef. I may have indulged in a couple (…a lot).
If you are feeling like you haven’t had the chance to explore enough Temples thus far in Japan you are in luck, in Takayama you can take a walk along the Higashiyama Walking Course. Along the walk, which is about 3.5km long, you will pass over a dozen temples and shrines as well as the ruins of the Takayama castle.
Away from the old town and a short walk from the station is the Hida Kokubunji Temple. The temple is home to a large Ginko Tree said to be over 1,200 years old. The original temple was itself constructed in 746 by Emperor Shomu. The buildings however have been burnt down and rebuilt many times over the history of the site. The three story pagoda dates from around 1821.
Each morning in Takayama you can check out the morning markets from about 7am to midday. They are held along the Miyagawa River in the old town and also in front of the Takayama Jinya. These markets tend to sell local crafts, snacks and farm products.
Hotel: We stayed at the Takayama Ouan Ryokan in a Standard Double Room. The hotel features traditional tatami flooring throughout. Which means that as you enter the hotel you check in your footwear into lockers in the lobby and either walk barefoot or in provided slippers.
The rooftop of the hotel features an amazing open-air natural hot spring bath complex that has to be seen to be believed. The hot spring alone was enough to make me want to stay here much longer.
We chose this hotel as it was only about a 5 minute walk from the train station and again only about 5-10 minute walk from the old town so quite convenient for us to explore.
At the entrance to the hotel is a small hot spring foot bath that was a great place to sit and relax your feet for a quick soak after a long day of walking.
As I mentioned – we only had a short time in Takayama due to our schedule. I would have loved to spend a couple of nights here. We didn’t get to checkout the nearby city of Shirakawa-Go which is famous for it’s A-Frame rural houses. Likewise there are so many other temples and areas to explore in this region.
Thanks for following along today – hope you didn’t mind all the photos – I just loved taking photographs in Takayama. Have you been to Takayama? Let me know in the comments below what you thought. Otherwise feel free to let me know what you thought of today’s post anyway.
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Thanks again and see you tomorrow.