Takayama is yet another historical destination in Japan that should be on your “MUST VISIT” list. Join us on a fun-filled day discovering this jewel of the Gifu prefecture!
Our Takayama Tour
We will start the tour off by visiting a morning market that is held in Takayama on a daily basis until noon. Most stands sell local crafts, snacks and farm products such as vegetables, pickles, and flowers so it’s a perfect opportunity to see what the local handicrafts are. Feel free to have a chat (translated by your guide) with local vendors at the market about their products!
Takayama’s old town has been beautifully preserved with many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants. The southern half of the old town, especially the Sannomachi Street, survives in a particularly pretty state with many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries. Your guide knows this area like the back of her hand, and will also lead you down some hidden pathways. Here you can also sample a delicious bit of Hida beef, one of the best types of Wagyu out there.
Our next stop is going to be the 3.5 km long Higashiyama Walking Course, which is a pleasant walking route through Takayama’s temple town, the city’s rural “suburbs” and Shiroyama Park, a wooded hill and former site of Takayama Castle. The Higashiyama Walking Course offers a pleasant way to spend one or two hours and get to know Takayama’s calmer side, while your guide can answer all your questions about what life in Japan is really like.
Also on the itinerary is a visit to the Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum exhibiting over 30 traditional houses from the Hida region, the mountainous district of Gifu Prefecture around Takayama. A short walk from the Hida Folk Village is the Hida Takayama Crafts Experience Center, where workshops on local handicrafts are given. For a fee of 600 to 1600 yen, you get to learn how to make crafts such as beaded key chains, sarubobo dolls (a popular local doll), ceramic cups or glass wind chimes, and take them home as souvenirs. Don’t worry, our experienced guide can help to explain things should the instructor not know any English.
Also don’t hesitate to let us know if you would have an interest in any of the following: a short, special tour of a miso factory in Takayama. If you are lucky, you can experience to see the traditional miso brewery factory and talk to the employees there; a short visit at a traditional tatami mat workshop in Takayama. Experience the smell of fresh tatami mats!; dive into Japanese culture through tea ceremony. One of the tea salons in Takayama offers a special experience of a Japanese tea ceremony (cha-no-yu). You can simply taste matcha tea (1,000 JPY) or try preparing matcha tea (1,000 + 1,500 JPY) at a tea room. For all of these experiences, prior booking is required. This can be arranged through the guide, and comes at no extra cost.
Email us at [email protected] to learn more about your options in the Takayama region!
Please do note that Tuesdays are not ideal for a tour in Takayama as many shops, restaurants and museums are closed every Tuesday.
Did you know that The Takayama Festival, held in spring and autumn, is considered one of Japan’s best festivals? If you come in Spring or Autumn you might be lucky enough to catch one of these amazing festivals ranked in the top 3 of Japan’s best festivals to see.
The Spring Festival (April 14-15) is the annual festival of the Hie Shrine in the southern half of Takayama’s old town. Since the shrine is also known as Sanno-sama, the spring festival is also called Sanno Festival.
Likewise, the Autumn Festival (October 9-10) is the annual festival of the Hachiman Shrine in the northern half of the old town, and the festival is also known as Hachiman Festival.
The spring and autumn festivals have similar attractions and schedules. Each festival features its own set of about a dozen festival floats (yatai). During the year, the tall and heavily decorated floats are stored in storehouses, which are scattered across Takayama’s old town (except the floats exhibited in the Yatai Kaikan). A set of replica floats are, furthermore, exhibited year-round at the Matsuri no Mori festival museum so if you can’t make it during festival time we’ll be sure to take you to the museum to get a glimpse at these fabulous floats.