Takayama is a relatively small city that you can visit on foot. And this might be the first reason why choosing it as a travel destination makes it a different trip to Japan. If you plan your stay well, you can visit many of the most remarkable city attractions in a short time. Then, you can use it as a base camp to visit other places in the region of the Japanese Alps, especially the beautiful village of Shirakawago.
Takayama Old Town, the first stop to start a different trip to Japan
Walk through the old town of Takayama, called Sanmachi Suji and pay special attention to the three streets that give the area its name. They are Ichinomachi Street, Ninomachi Street, and Sannomachi Street. This area is perfectly preserved with houses from the Edo period, at which time the city was a rich merchant town. Most of the buildings work today as museums, art galleries, craft shops or coffee shops.
Edo period Architecture
Enter one of the old houses whose architecture has hardly changed since the Edo period, such as the house of the Kusakabe family (Kusakabe Mingeikan) or the Yoshijima family (Yoshijima-ke), the Hida archaeological museum Minzoku Kokokan, the Hirata craft museumKinenkan or to the Fujii Art and Craft Gallery Bijutsu Mingei-kan. More than the exhibitions that we can find there, what really is worthwhile is being able to enter such old houses.
See the Hida temple Kokubun -ji
Visit the Hida temple Kokubun -Ji, one of the oldest in the city (it was built in the 8th century). It is easily visible from anywhere around Takayama thanks to the needle at the top of its three-storied pagoda. In the courtyard of the temple, which is always very quiet you can find a ginkgo tree more than 1,200 years old.
Visit the Takayama or Takayama sanctuary Jinja, which served as the office of the Takayama government in the Edo period. Back then the city was directly controlled by the shogun because of its valuable forest resources.
Discover more about the world of sake, local Takayama specialty, visiting some of the same factories that can be found in the old town, easily recognizable by their large Sugiyama or balls of cedar branches above the entrance. Another little detail that will make this a different trip to Japan.
Sakurayama shrine Hachimangu
A visit to the Sakurayama Shrine Hachimangu is always worth it. it is the sanctuary that organizes the famous autumn festival of Takayama or Hachiman Matsuri, which is celebrated every year on October 9 and 10.
Temples are a big deal here. Cross the grand entrance door of the Takayama temple Betsuin, headquarters of the Buddhist sect Jodo Shinshuu Otani in Takayama.
Sanno festival Matsuri
If you are not in Takayama during the celebration of the great festival Sannō Matsuri (April 14 and 15), you can also learn about it at the Takayama exhibition center Yatai Kaikan. It holds an exhibition of 4 of the 23 floats used during the festival that dates back to the 17th century. And in the Karakuri museum, you can see both the mechanical dolls (Karakuri ningyō) that are placed on festival floats and more than 200 masks of Japanese lions. If none of the above id different enough, you will have to agree that floating dolls and lion masks are a key point to a different trip to Japan.
Stroll through the stalls of the morning markets or Asaichi of Takayama. Every day is market day in the square near the Takayama Shrine (Jinja-mae Asaichi) and along the eastern bank of the Miyagawa River between the Kaiji and Yayoi bridges (Miyagawa Asaichi). Flowers, vegetables and pickles, handicrafts, etc. are the protagonists.
Relax in one of the footbaths that you find along the cit. There are more in the area near the outdoor folkloric museum Hida no Sato. For example the Hida foot bath Hanasato or the foot bath Sakura. As this country is a very big challenge for your feet, having a place to take care of them is something that makes a visit to Takayama a different trip to Japan.
Enjoy some of the proposed hiking trails such as the 3 km Kitayama route through the north of the city, the Bungaku route and the Matsura route through the Hida no Sato outdoor folkloric museum area or the aforementioned Higashiyama route through the area of the temples and the castle east of the city.
To end your different trip to Japan have. If you stay in a ryōkan, it is most likely that they serve Japanese barbecued Hida meat for breakfast; then you can go to the Maruaki restaurant and eat Hida meat until it burst; for a snack you can have some salty donuts, similar to takoyaki but not stuffed with octopus, but with meat from Hida. And for dinner, you can end the day eating a meat donburi from Hida or some meat nigiri from Hida.
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