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Get ready for your pants to be charmed right off at this picturesque mountain town.

Nestled at the foot of the Japanese Alps, Takayama is literally a breath of fresh air. This mountain town’s remote location has led to excellent preservation of its charming Edo-period streets. A stroll through the old town reveals a way of life lost to time, and the copious museums will enlighten anyone searching for more historical depth. In spring and autumn, Takayama holds the Takayama Matsuri, considered one of the three most beautiful festivals in the country.

Takayama traditional store

Pick up a bag of genkotsu-ame; an Edo-period snack made with powdered soybean and sugar syrup.

Takayama’s preserved old town is just a short walk from the station. Sannomachi street is the main drag, where souvenir shops and cute cafes blend in perfectly next to historic sake distilleries and miso paste stores. Come hungry, for this is also where you’ll be able to sample local delicacies like Hida beef, the mouthwatering regional rival to Kobe beef.

This area is home to the Takayama Museum of History and Art, and the Fujii Folk Museum. At the end of the street, Takayama Shrine is also open to the public as a museum.

Takayama in Gifu, Japan

The sarubobo doll is famous to the Hida-Takayama region and is given as a good luck charm to daughters about to get married.

The Shimoninomachi-ojinmachi preservation area takes up the other half of the old town. Peek into former merchant homes that are open for touring, like Kusakabe and Yoshijima Heritage House. By the river, a morning market is held daily from early morning until noon. You’ll find fruits and vegetables, as well as regional crafts. One common souvenir to spot here is the sarubobo, an intriguing faceless red doll in traditional clothing.

Hida no Sato Takayama

The Hida Folk Village is a collection of preserved thatched-roof houses that replicate a traditional mountain village.

If you haven’t got time for a trip to nearby Shirakawa-go or Gokayama, the Hida Folk Village is a must do. It’s an open-air museum of thatched-roof houses collected from their original locations around the region. Historic artifacts of interest are on display in the houses, which you’re free to wander.


Huge and beautiful floats are paraded through the streets during the famous Takayama Matsuri.

The beloved Takayama Matsuri is actually two festivals, held every year from April 14th-15th and October 9th-10th. Ornate floats, topped with dancing marionette dolls, are paraded through the streets from day until night. Those who can’t make the festival can get a taste of it at the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall, where some of the floats are kept on display.

How To Get There


Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

By train

The closest Shinkansen stop to Takayama is Toyama. From there, take the Limited Express Hida to Takayama station (90 minutes, ¥2840). Takayama can also be reached by Limited Express from Nagoya (140 minutes, ¥5510).

By bus

Takayama can be reached from Tokyo (5.5 hours, ¥6690) and Nagoya (2.5 hours, ¥2980) via Nouhi Bus. Nouhi Bus also connects Takayama to other popular nearby destinations, such as Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa.

Where To Stay

Hida Takayama Onsen Hida Hotel Plaza
  • 2-60 Hanaokamachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu, 506-0009 Japan
  • ¥13,750 - ¥27,500
  • 4.37/5 (2,194 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Hotel Wing International Hida Takayama
  • 2-51 Hatsudamachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu, 506-0008 Japan
  • ¥8,000 - ¥12,300
  • 0.2 km
Hotakaso Yama no Iori
  • 1-58 Hatsudamachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu, 506-0008 Japan
  • ¥8,800 - ¥13,200
  • 3.5/5 (194 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Residence Hotel Takayama Station
  • 6-105 Hanasatomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu, 506-0026 Japan
  • ¥9,180 - ¥50,274
  • 4.65/5 (128 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
Country Hotel Takayama
  • 6-38 Hanasatomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu, 506-0026 Japan
  • ¥5,200 - ¥11,400
  • 3.61/5 (1,331 reviews)
  • 0.5 km