There are many towns in Japan known as Takayama, but only one Hida-Takayama. Once an important timber center, the town is now known for its well preserved old quarter.
Place to visit in Takayama
Suza – The World Shrine
Headquarters of a religious cult, the Sukyo Mahikari. This impressive building features golden roofs, Shinto architecture, minarets , the Star of David, the Wheel of Dharma, an enormous hall, and even a large and beautiful fish tank. It’s definitely worth a look and a departure from the norm.
Takayama Old Town
The Takayama Old Town is a beautifully preserved area with buildings dating from the Edo Period (1603-1868). The most popular street, the Sannomachi Street, is particularly charming with shops, cafes, sake and sake breweries where you can have a taste of local goods.
Takayama Festival Float Museum
Four of the Takayama festival's eleven floats (“yatai”) are exhibited here. The elaborately decorated floats are several hundred years old and beautiful examples of Takayama's legendary craftsmanship.
Miyagawa Morning Market
In Takayama, two morning markets are held on a daily basis from early morning until noon. The market stands sell local crafts and snacks as well as farm products such as vegetables, pickles and flowers.
As the Takayama region was wealthy in resources such as timber, the city was put under control of the Tokugawa Shogunate from 1692 to 1871. During this time, Takayama Jinya served as the government headquarters for officials dispatched from Edo (present day Tokyo).
The Karakuri Museum displays over 300 “shishi” lion head masks from across Japan which are traditionally used in ritual dances. This exhibition is the only one of its kind in Japan and the masks are designated as Important Tangible Folk Cultural Assets.
The museum also features a show of “karakuri dolls” (mechanical dolls) which are controlled by various methods such as yarn and springs. These dolls are also mounted to the festival floats of the Takayama Festival.
Nikko-kan contains amazingly detailed 1:10 scale models of the popular shrines and temples of Nikko. The intricate miniature models are beautifully lit up with the light fading from dawn to dusk.
At Showa Museum visitors can walk through a retro street where various kinds of nostalgic items from the Showa Period (1926-1989) are displayed. See and feel the good ol´ days at their barbershop, classroom, living room and more. Some exhibits are interactive even including a chance to play a retro video game console.
Hida Folk Village
Hida Folk Village is an open-air museum featuring over 30 traditional houses, some built with the unique “gassho-zukuri” style of thatched roof. The houses are originally taken from various parts of the Hida region, but were relocated in order to create the museum. The carefully preserved houses are open for visitors to explore and their lit fireplaces an authentic smell and a comfy atmosphere.
Takayama Old Town Museum
…where about 150 original artworks from the Japanese artist Yamashita Kiyoshi (1922-1971) are displayed. Mr Yamashita is famous for his wanderings throughout Japan, during which he wore only a vest, garnering the nickname "The Naked General". Yamashita used the Chigiri-e method of sticking torn pieces of colored paper together to depict the scenery he saw on his travels, and some of his most famous works such as "Nagaoka no hanabi" and "Sakurajima" were made in this way.