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Hida Takayama

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Old Townscape

Situated in the heart of Hida-Takayama, the cherished Old Townscape can be found here - remaining undisturbed by the progress of time. The old buildings and streets can be easily explored on foot, and there is much to see here. In addition to the well-preserved architecture, there is an intangible sense of culture and history, which has been passed down from generation to generation and carefully respected and protected. Merely by taking a stroll through the town, visitors can immerse themselves in this ancient atmosphere of days gone by. There are plenty of museums and shops to enjoy as well!

Yatai Kaikan (Festival Float Exhibition Hall)
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Takayama Matsuri is a festival famous for its multitude of floats that parade around the streets in spring and summer seasons, with elegant and delicate decorations. Most of the working floats are said to be over 150 years old. The floats have been kept in good condition through renovation and careful handling. When not in use, they are housed and exhibited in this museum to give visitors a chance to experience the feel of the Takayama Matsuri.

Admission prices: ¥820 for adults, ¥410 for children
Opening Hours: 8:30 - 17:00 (Mar. - Nov.),
9:00 - 16:30 (Dec. - Feb.)

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Sanmachi-dori
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The old townscape that remains in the area of Sanmachi-dori will let visitors wander into Japan of times past. The streets of Sanmachi-dori are excellent for taking a leisurely stroll; lined with elegant town houses adorned with beautiful deep-brown lattices. Restaurants and cafes in the area offer a taste of local specialties and desserts, experienced in a genuine Takayama setting. At sake breweries,visitors are welcome to sample a few drops; shops offer a variety of traditionally crafted Japanese accessories. At dawn and in the evenings, the vacant streets become an ideal location to take photographs that capture the magical beauty of the place.

Takayama Jinya (Historical Government House)
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Takayama Jinya was set up by the Edo Shogunate in the 18th century for administering the territory of Hida. It acted as a central office to govern the Hida region - known for being rich in timber, gold and silver. There are a number of buildings remaining from before, including storehouses for rice, a courthouse and a police station. There is even the remains of an old punishment device known as an “ishidaki” which visitors can see. The compound offers a fascinating insight into the ways the area was administered in the past.

Admission prices: ¥430 for adults, free for children
Opening Hours: 8:45 - 17:00 (Mar. - July, Sept. - Oct.),
8:45 - 18:00 (Aug.), 8:45 - 16:30 (Nov. - Feb.)
Closed: Dec. 29, 31 and Jan. 1.

Shishi Kaikan (Karakuri Doll Museum)
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Karakuri dolls are traditional Japanese clockwork dolls that perform impressive acts such as climbing a staircase and gliding through the air.
This is the only museum in Japan where a performance of karakuri dolls can be seen. The show can be watched at any time within the opening hours.

Admission prices: ¥600 for adults, ¥400 for children
Opening Hours: 9:05 - 16:25 Closed irregularly.

Kusakabe Mingeikan (Kusakabe Heritage House)
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The mansion is a quintessential merchant’s house of Takayamaka, and has been designated as an Important National Cultural Property. After the house burned down in the great fire of Takayama in 1875, it was reconstructed to its current form four years later by a local master carpenter. The house retains the architectural style that was unique to Takayama in the Edo period. From the compact appearance of the exterior, it is difficult to visualize the vast expanse of the house’s interior. The house also serves as a folk craft museum, and houses various exhibits such as: a Buddhist altar, used to enshrine Buddhist statues and ancestors at home; an open hearth; and a trousseau. Through the exhibits, it is possible to get a feel of how life was like back then. The house is also an ideal place to take a short break - tea and rice crackers are served to all visitors, and charming classic chairs are available for taking a rest.

Admission prices: ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for children  Opening Hours: 9:00 - 16:30 (Mar. - Nov.), 9:00 - 16:00 (Dec. - Feb.).
Closed: Tues. in Dec. - Feb., Jan. 4 - 6  NOTE: Opening hours change to 9:00 - 15:00 between Dec. 29 and Jan. 3.

Yoshijimake Jutaku (Yoshijima Heritage House)
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The residence of the Yoshijima family was built in 1907, and is now open to the public. Both the interior and the exterior of the house have been very well preserved. The Yoshijima family was a wealthy merchant family, who ran businesses in sake brewing and finance for generations. The beautifully crafted house is one of the largest among those that were built during the time. The sunlight from the top window creates a beautiful contrast of light and shade, accentuating the well-polished beams of the framework that extend all the way to the lofty ceiling.

Admission prices: ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for children
Opening Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (Mar. to Nov.),
9:00 - 16:30 (Dec. to Feb.)
Closed: Tues. in Dec - Feb, Dec. 29 - Jan. 1

Miyagawa Asaichi (Miyagawa Morning Market)
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These charming market stalls add a distinctive color to the mornings of Takayama. Visitors are sure to enjoy perusing the lines of stalls and marveling at the intricate candy crafts. Sample the pickled vegetables that the local women have made, or purchase some locally grown fruits, fresh yoghurt or piping hot rice cakes. This is the perfect place to grab a snack and take a stroll.

Opening Hours: 7:00 - 12:00 (Apr. - Oct.),
8:00 - 12:00 (Nov. to Mar)
Open daily.

Hida Takayama Machi no Hakubutsukan (Hida Takayama Local History Museum)
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The museum houses a collection of 16th century armor that was actually used. It boasts a rich collection of exhibits, including weaponry, to depict the lives of the samurai during that period. The museum is sure to get you close to the civil war period of Takayama and Japan. With its tranquil garden and a pathway that runs alongside old storehouses, the museum is a perfect place to take a brief respite during sightseeing.

Admission prices: free
Opening Hours: 9:00 - 19:00 (the hours may vary with season) Open daily (may close irregularly).

Nakabashi (Nakabashi Bridge)
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Nakabashi is a bridge across a river that runs through the center of Takayama. The vivid splendor of the vermillion bridge is complemented by the cherry blossoms in spring, the lush greens in summer, and the white snow in winter. The bridge is beautiful in daylight, and becomes almost ethereal in the evenings when it is lit up (not illuminated in all seasons).

Yume Kojo Hida (Hida Takayama Local History Museum)
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Have fun making your own rice crackers, a classic Japanese snack. After you have grilled the crackers, you can eat them on the spot or have them packaged to take home as a souvenir.

Admission prices: free
Rice cracker making: prices start from ¥400.
Opening Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (the hours may vary with season) Open daily.

Must-go places off the beaten track

A quiet and serene landscape that has remained unspoiled over time can be found by taking just a short walk away from Takayama’s city center. The countryside, with its nostalgic quality, might make you feel as though you have wandered into an old motion picture. Touring around on foot is possible, but renting a bicycle is a better option. Most accommodation will make the necessary rental arrangements on guests’ behalf. The roads are pretty hilly outside the city center, so a power-assisted bicycle is recommended.

Hida Minzoku Mura Hida-no-Sato (Hida Folk Village)
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A 30-minute walk or a 10-minute bus ride from Takayama’s city center will bring you to a museum standing at the foot of a mountain in beautiful natural surroundings. The museum preserves life as it was more than 300 years ago in the farming villages of Hida-Takayama. The museum exhibits such buildings as gassho-zukuri style houses, with their distinctly shaped thatched roofs that resemble hands joined in prayer, a watermill, a Shinto shrine, and a festival stage together with housing utensils. By providing a whole rural village landscape, the museum offers visitors an insight into how people used to live in the past. Some of the artifacts may be handled, such as traditional children’s toys and villagers’ hats.

Admission prices: ¥700 for adults, ¥200 for children
Opening Hours: 8:30 - 17:00 Open daily.

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Higashiyama Yuhodo (Higashiyama Walking Course)
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Close to the town of Takayama lies a district called Higashiyama, where temples and shrines are clustered thickly together. It takes roughly 20 minutes on foot from the city center to reach the walking course that stretches serenely across the hilltop of Higashiyama. Get away from the bustle of the town and enjoy the surrounding nature for a little while. The seasonal variance in the scenery is astounding;blossoming flowers, tinted foliage, white snow - walking along the trail is a refreshing experience.

Enakogawa (Enakogawa River)
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A long time ago, when the castle of Takayama still stood, the trail of Enakogawa was adapted so as to surround the castle, to act as a moat. The banks of Enakogawa have now become relaxing walkways. The river is a 10-minute walkfrom the city center. The narrow river is dotted here and there with distinctive bridges - ranging from plain wooden to painted red. There is even a bridge so thin that only one person can cross at a time. In spring the banks are covered in the light pinky-white of cherry blossoms, while in autumn the magnificent red leaves add a pleasant shade of color.

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