Takayama is an old castle town surrounded by Japan Alps. Beautifully-preserved narrow streets in the city of Takayama are lined with old private houses, sake breweries, and craftsmen's shops. Stroll around the town at your pace, and you can feel the history of more than 300 years.
At a glance
Although Gifu prefecture is geographically located in the center of Japan, the northern part has long been secluded due to mountainous environment. Takayama, Okuhida and Shirakawago lie in the heart of these mountains, offering unparalleled combination of scenic beauty and locally-preserved culture.
The great natural environment in this region provides clean mountain water and rich local food, such as buckwheat noodles, miso (soybean paste), Hida beef, fresh vegetables and fruits. You can also enjoy local sake made in 8 local breweries. The pure water and cold winter make Takayama a perfect place for brewing sake. Asa-ichi (morning market) is an interesting opportunity to look at local farmers selling locally-grown vegetables.
Just by 15 minutes ride of train from Takayama, the nostalgic atmosphere of another historical town welcomes you. Hida-Furukawa is a small charming town with peaceful landscapes of white earthen old warehouses along a river. The town is famous for high level wooden architecture of local carpenters. Some parts of traditional buildings and utensils are displayed at the museum. You will also find established craftsmen shops along streets, such as traditional Japanese candles, wooden sculptures, and paper crafts.
Furukawa is an area where you can catch a glimpse of people's life in a beautiful countryside.
Okuhida Onsengo (Oku Hida Hot Spring Village)
Okuhida Onsengo is one of the sought-after hot spring resorts in Japan with a magnificent mountain landscape. Five hot spring resorts at the foot of Northen Alps, Shin-Hodaka, Tochio, Shin-Hirayu, Fukuji, and Hirayu, are collectively called Okuhida Onsengo. This mountainous area has long been relatively isolated, which allowed this region to retain an unspoiled atmosphere. Due to recent improvement of transportation, you can now experience the great nature this region has to offer.
If you like hiking or nature photography, Okuhida is a great base to stay. If you are a hot spring enthusiasts, you can immerse yourself in an open-air bath enjoying grand scenic beauty. Local food is also another attraction. Particularly, locally-grown Hida beef is one of the best beef brands in Japan.
The thatch-roofed Gassho-style homes as well as unique traditional way of life, which have been preserved under severe natural environment, are valuable treasures Japan would like to hand down to future generations. This historic village is registered as world cultural heritage of UNESCO. Gassho means "praying hand", which is the image of the steep roof of farmhouses. The Ogimachi former castle observatory is a popular spot offering a magnificent view of the whole village.
This is not just a sightseeing destination but a living place; we would like to appreciate the local people for preserving the old lifestyle. Many travelers stop by for only a few hours, but it is highly recommended to stay here and stroll around the town in the early evening - the most beautiful time of the day, local people proudly say.
There are a variety of approaches to this area. Typical routes are as follows:
- Tokyo - [1hr. 40 min., Shinkansen] - Nagoya - [2hrs. 10 min., JR Wide View Hida] - Takayama
- Shinjuku - [2hrs. 30 min., JR Super Azusa] - Matsumoto - [1hr. 30min., Bus] - Hirayu Onsen* - [1hr., Bus] - Takayama
* Hirayu is the entrance town of Okuhida Onsengo.
There are also direct bus services from Tokyo (4 hrs. 40 min to Hirayu Onsen and another 50 min. to Takayama)and other big cities.
To Shirakawago, you should check the bus schedule. The services are infrequent. From Takayama (2hrs.) or from Kanazawa (1hr. 15min). To take these buses, reservation is needed.
Bus services are infrequent and the schedule is subject to change by seasons. For drivers, please note that it is a heavily snow area and there are routes that are closed during winter seasons.
HonjinHiranoya Kachoan is the most established Japanese ryokan in Takayama... more
Wanosato is pastoral small luxury retreat with 8 rooms in Takayama's nature...more
These are some hotels and luxurious ryokans (Japanese style inns) that we recommend. We can book other ryokans or international hotels depending on your travel plan or budget. Please contact us by E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (81-3-5213-5040).