I loved Takayama. It was a great getaway and provided some awesome sights.
Takayama is a rural Japanese city between Nagoya and Toyama. We traveled by local JR train from Nagoya Station to Takayama Station. The trip was close to 3 hours long and we needed to ride on two different trains.
Takayama is a fantastic escape from the busy cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. It is out of the way, but not so out of the way that you can’t reach it. Takayama is home to one of the last old towns of feudal Japan. It’s simple city and lovely people, make this a great destination for anyone wanting to see another side to Japan. It’s also a great spot if you are interested in visiting Shirakawa-go, various hot springs, cave exploration and stargazing.
Takayama Station looked like the newest addition to the city. It certainly felt out of place with the rest of the city, which had more older buildings.
I photographed some of the walkways and streets as we headed to our hotel. Our hotel at the Wat Hotel & Spa Hida Takayama was new and quite impressive for a small city. The streets were quiet, but not empty. There were tourists around and plenty of side stalls to visit.
All the convenience stores were present, along with many fast food outlets. If you are Takayama, I recommend trying some local food and if possible, try the Hida Beef.
We walked to the Hida Folk Village. The walk is only 20 mins from Takayama Station. Be careful, it does get hilly when you get closer to the village.
The village maintains many of the old houses, warehouses that were used by the villages back when Takayama was mostly a wood exporting city. The village was excellently preserved.
The village was large and we easily spent about 2 hours walking around from house to house or warehouse to warehouse. Each building had its own history and significance. Many buildings had instructions and signs in English and lots of information to absorb.
The village has a stunning lake in the middle. You can see it as soon as you enter the Hida Folk Village. It’s a great spot for a selfie.
When entering into buildings, you have to take off your shoes. Most of the flooring is wood and make sounds as you walk over them. There are also some fascinating displays that you can interact with as well.
The roofs of buildings were covered in moss. This was to help insulate the buildings during the winter. I noticed that some of the winter photos looked stunning since this area can be covered in snowfall.
The Takayama Old Town is not hard to miss. It’s to the west of Takayama Station. There are two long streets with shops and restaurants on either side. You can walk around to purchase souvenirs or dine-in for some delicious local foods.
We made sure to try some hida beef. At this restaurant, we were given some instructions on how enjoy our meal. It was a pleasant experience and our hosts were polite.
After lunch, we ventured into the Takayama Castle Ruins for about 3 hours. We enjoyed the walk. We meandered our way around. Unfortunately there are no castle ruins left, but there are pedestals identifying where certain things stood.
For dinner, we saw some fantastic reviews for a place called Chahan Hana. It was no joke, this place served the most delicious fried rice and crispy chicken I’ve eaten. I was so impressed. My mum own a restaurant and worked at a fancy Chinese restaurant. I’d like to think I know good food. This place served genuinely awesome food for great value.
Our hosts treated us to some delicious food and even made origami for us. We were spoilt. We had to get a photo with our hosts.
We spent the night sharing our experience so far, and for me, I also spent some time learning Japanese.
Next time, we visit the famous gassho houses/huts in Shirakawa-go. Day 13 – Takayama – 1 July 2019 – visiting Shirakawa-go by bus and eating delicious curry.
© 2019-2020 Gary Chau