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Three Michelin stars! Takayama, Little Kyoto of Hida (Gifu)

About Gifu and Takayama

Located in the Hida district of northern Gifu Prefecture, Takayama City is the largest city in Japan, with an area of approximately 2,000㎢, about the same size as Tokyo. The city was a castle town in the Edo period (1603-1867) and is called "Hida's Little Kyoto" for its nostalgic atmosphere with wooden merchant houses from that era. It is often referred to as "Hida Takayama" in guidebooks and attracts many tourists not only from Japan but also from overseas. Takayama has received the highest rating of three stars from Michelin Boyerget Pratique Japon, a French-language practical travel guidebook for foreign tourists visiting Japan.


How to get to Takayama, access

Takayama City is located in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture, about 2 hours by car northeast of Gifu City (about 126 km by Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway).


◆By car: It takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo by using the Chuo Expressway, Nagano Expressway, and National Route 158.


◆By public transportation:Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen "Nozomi" and get off at Nagoya Station. Then transfer to the Takayama Shinkansen (Limited Express Wide View Hida) and arrive at Takayama Station in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Or take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen "Kagayaki" to "Toyama Station". Then transfer to the Takayama Line (Limited Express Wide View Hida) and arrive at Takayama Station in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.




Photojournalistic Takayama, recommended sightseeing


Takayama City Sancho Traditional Building Preservation District

This is an old townscape that retains the atmosphere of the Edo period, and can be said to be "the place to go when talking about Takayama. The castle town was once developed by Nagachika Kanamori, a feudal lord from the Warring States to Edo period, and the houses built at that time stand side by side. To preserve the scenery, why not take a stroll in a kimono or yukata and step back in time to the Edo period?



Jinya (camp)

The camp was built during the Edo period to govern Takayama, which was under the direct control of the shogunate. Successive generations of local officials and county commissioners held office here. It is the only one of the more than 60 such offices in various parts of the country where the main structure remains to this day, and is designated as a National Historic Site. Once inside, visitors can see the rooms that retain the atmosphere of those days, as well as the huge storehouse.



Miyagawa Morning Market

This morning market has continued for a long time while being relocated several times. The two locations along the Miyagawa River and in front of the aforementioned Jinya (camp) are particularly large, and the stalls are filled with a variety of products from the Hida countryside, creating a lively atmosphere from morning.



Sarubobo, the guardian angel of Hida

Sarubobo" means "baby monkey" in the Hida dialect. It is so called because its red face resembles a baby monkey. The word "猿(monkey)" is read phonetically as "en" (meaning "good marriage") and kun-yomi (meaning "monkey") as "saru" (meaning "to be away from illness and misfortune", which is two wishes. It is said that mothers and grandmothers made the dolls to wish for a happy marriage and safe delivery for their daughters. Sarubobo Shrine is a sacred place for such Sarubobo. The Sarubobo Shrine enshrines the penetrating stones of the Awa and Hida tunnels as its sacred objects. Since the tunnel excavation was difficult and the andesite penetrating stones are considered a power spot for prayers for good luck, fertility, and easy childbirth. At the Sarubobo Workshop next door, visitors can try their hand at making sarubobo. Why not make your own sarubombo in the color of your choice according to your wishes?

(C)Hyakuraku Rabbit(CC BY-SA 3.0)


Takayama Festival

The Takayama Festival is a combination of the spring Sanno Festival held on April 14-15 and the fall Hachiman Festival held on October 9-10. Huge floats, called yatai by the locals, parade through the streets of the city, creating a powerful scene that is one of Takayama's representative sights. Visitors can enjoy a variety of programs from daytime to nighttime, including the Goshinko, Karakuri Dedication, and Yoimatsuri.




Touhouen's Neko Manjuu

Touhouen was established in 1901 and is a long-established Japanese confectionery with a history of over 100 years. One of its most popular items is "Neko Manju" with its cute appearance. Starting with the "Shofuku Nekoko Manju" made in the image of a stray cat living in a back alley next to the shop, the "Shofuku Neko Manju Fumu Fumu" with a paw paw cake, which was created in response to customer feedback from cat lovers, and the "Nekoko Zukushi" containing all kinds of Neko Manju, all kinds of manju, there are many Neko Manju that cat lovers will love. Each one is handmade, so each one has a different face, shape, and filling. In addition to Neko Manju, traditional Japanese sweets, baked sweets, roll cakes, and seasonal sweets are also very popular.


Suburban, Subzero Forest (Akigami Onsen Ryokan)

The Subzero Forest, a fantastic world of ice, is held every winter at Akigami Onsen Ryokan, located in the mountains about one hour from Takayama. Taking advantage of the cold temperatures, which can drop as low as 10 degrees below zero, water is poured over the trees to freeze them, creating many large icicles. An ice festival is held every year on the second Saturday in February, and at night the icicles are lit up, creating a fantastic world that attracts visitors.



Gateway to Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, along with Gokayama in Toyama Prefecture, for its gassho-zukuri style villages. It takes about 50 minutes by bus from Takayama City. Centered around the centuries-old gassho-zukuri houses, visitors can enjoy beautiful scenery all year round: cherry blossoms in spring, rice fields in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and snow in winter. You will surely be captivated by the original landscape of a Japanese farming village where long history and modernity are in harmony.


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