Are you planning a trip into the mountains of central Japan and wondering what to do in Takayama? This charming city, nestled in the heart of the Japanese Alps, is known for its well-preserved historic district, traditional festivals, and delicious local cuisine.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the best things to do in Takayama. You’ll discover the city’s rich history and culture as we explore its famous historic district of Sanmachi Suji and visit the Takayama Jinya, a historic government building that served as the local government officials during the Edo period.
You’ll also learn about the city’s delicious local sweets and beef, and get insider tips on the best places to try them. We’ll show you how to take a day trip to nearby hot springs towns and UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Shirakawa-go.
Plus, we’ll share some of the unique and interesting spots in Takayama, such as the Hida Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village and the Miyagawa River Terrace, and of course the morning markets
This guide is your ultimate resource for planning your trip to Takayama and making the most of your time in this charming city. So grab your bags and get ready to discover the magic of Takayama.
Explore the Historic District of Sanmachi Suji
Sanmachi Suji is a beautifully preserved historic district in the heart of Takayama. The district is home to many traditional buildings that date back to the Edo period (1603-1868), including merchant houses, sake breweries, and tea houses.
The buildings are built in the traditional gassho-zukuri style, which features steeply sloped thatched roofs designed to withstand heavy snowfall. Visitors can stroll along the narrow streets and admire the beautiful architecture, or stop in at one of the many shops and restaurants that line the district.
Some popular spots to visit include the Takayama Kusakabe Folk Museum, which showcases traditional Japanese crafts and art, and the Yoshijima Heritage House, a beautifully preserved Edo-period merchant house.
Visit the Takayama Jinya Old Government Office
The Takayama Jinya is a historic government building that served as the local government officials during the Edo period. The building was in use for over two hundred years and features a variety of interesting exhibits that showcase the history of Takayama.
Visitors can see the governor’s living quarters, the courtroom, and the prison cells. The Jinya is also home to a beautiful garden that features a koi pond and a tea house. The building is open to the public and is a great way to learn more about the history of the city.
Join The Local At The Takayama Morning Market
The Takayama Morning Market is a bustling market that takes place every morning in the historic district of Takayama. The market is a great place to pick up fresh produce, crafts, and souvenirs, and is a fun way to experience the local culture.
Visitors can try local delicacies like mitarashi dango and goheimochi, or browse the many stalls selling handmade pottery, textiles, and other crafts. The market is also a great place to interact with the locals and learn more about the city and its traditions.
Take a stroll through the beautiful Shiroyama Park
Shiroyama Park is a beautiful park located on a hill overlooking Takayama. The park is home to many walking trails and is a popular spot for hiking and enjoying the beautiful views of the city.
Visit the Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum of traditional Japanese houses
The Hida Folk Village is an open-air museum that showcases traditional Japanese houses. The museum is home to many traditional houses that have been well-preserved over the years. Visitors can explore the houses and learn about traditional Japanese culture.
See the beautiful red bridge, Nakabashi Bridge
The Nakabashi Bridge is a beautiful red bridge that spans the Miyagawa River in the heart of Takayama. The bridge is a popular spot for photos and is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful views of the river.
Relax at a local onsen (hot spring)
Takayama is home to many local onsens (hot springs). Take a break from your sightseeing and relax in the healing waters of the onsens.
Attend the Takayama Autumn Festival
The Takayama Autumn Festival is a traditional festival that takes place every year in October. The festival is known for its beautiful floats and traditional performances. It’s a great way to experience traditional Japanese culture and have some fun.
Visit the Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall
The Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall is a museum that showcases the beautiful floats that are used during the Takayama Festivals. Visitors can learn about the history of the festival and explore the many floats that are on display.
Take a hike in the beautiful Kamikochi Valley
The Kamikochi Valley is a beautiful valley located near Takayama. The valley is a popular spot for hiking and offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and rivers. Take a hike and experience the natural beauty of the region.
Learn about Japanese sake at the Hida Takayama Sake Brewery
The Hida Takayama Sake Brewery is a great place to learn about Japanese sake. The brewery offers tours and tastings so visitors can learn about the brewing process and taste different types of sake.
Take a Day Trip to the Nearby Hot Springs Town of Okuhida Onsen
If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip, head to the nearby town of Okuhida Onsen. This charming hot springs town is located about an hour away from Takayama and is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and rejuvenating hot springs.
There are many different hot springs in the town, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for a quiet soak or a more lively atmosphere, Okuhida Onsen has something for everyone.
Visit the Hida Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village to See a Collection of Over 14,000 Teddy Bears
The Hida Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village is a must-visit for any teddy bear lover. This unique museum is home to over 14,000 teddy bears from around the world. The museum is divided into different sections, each showcasing a different theme or country. You can see everything from antique bears to modern designs, and even some one-of-a-kind creations. The museum is a fun and whimsical way to spend an afternoon in Takayama.
Take a Guided Tour of the City to Learn More About Its History and Culture
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Takayama, consider taking a guided tour of the city. There are many different tour companies that offer walking tours of the historic district, as well as bus tours that take you to some of the city’s top sights. A guided tour is a great way to get an insider’s perspective on the city and learn more about its unique customs and traditions.
Try Local Sweets Like Mitarashi Dango and Goheimochi
No trip to Takayama is complete without trying some of the local sweets. Two of the most popular treats are mitarashi dango and goheimochi. Mitarashi dango are sweet rice dumplings that are coated in a sweet and savory soy sauce glaze. Goheimochi are sticky rice cakes that are grilled and then coated in a sweet miso sauce. Both treats are delicious and can be found at local shops and restaurants throughout the city.
Take a Scenic Train Ride on the Hida Limited Express
If you’re looking for a scenic and relaxing way to explore the Japanese Alps, consider taking a ride on the Hida Limited Express. This train runs between Takayama and Toyama, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. The train has large windows and comfortable seating, making it a great way to sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Explore the Miyagawa River Terrace
The Miyagawa River Terrace is a beautiful area located along the Miyagawa River. The area is home to many traditional Japanese buildings and is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful views of the river. The area is particularly beautiful in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
Take a Day Trip to Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you have time for a day trip, consider visiting Shirakawa-go, a nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site. This picturesque village is known for its traditional gassho-style houses, which are built with steep, thatched roofs that resemble hands clasped in prayer. The village is particularly beautiful in the winter, when the houses are covered in snow.
A visit to Shirakawa-go is a great way to experience traditional Japanese architecture and learn about the history of the region. There are also many museums and cultural sites to explore in the area, making it a great day trip destination from Takayama.
See the beautiful views from the Higashiyama Temple
The Higashiyama Temple is a beautiful temple located on a hill in Takayama. The temple offers beautiful views of the city and is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Try the local specialty, Hida beef
Hida beef is a local specialty in Takayama. The beef is known for its high quality and delicious flavor. There are many restaurants in the city that serve Hida beef, so be sure to give it a try while you’re in Takayama.
Explore the Takayama Showa Museum, showcasing life in Japan during the Showa period
The Takayama Showa Museum is a museum that showcases life in Japan during the Showa period. The museum has a variety of exhibits that showcase the daily life of the Japanese people during this time. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Japan.
Take a bike ride along the Hida River
The Hida River is a beautiful river that runs through the city of Takayama. Rent a bike and take a leisurely ride along the river, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way.
See the beautiful architecture of the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan
The Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan is a museum that showcases the beautiful architecture of the Takayama Festival floats. Visitors can learn about the history of the floats and see the beautiful craftsmanship that goes into creating them.
Learn about the history of Takayama at the Takayama Museum of History and Art
The Takayama Museum of History and Art is a museum that showcases the history of Takayama. The museum has a variety of exhibits that showcase the development of the city over the years. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Takayama.
Enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at a local tea house
A traditional Japanese tea ceremony is a great way to experience the culture of Japan. There are many local tea houses in Takayama that offer tea ceremonies, so be sure to check one out and experience this beautiful cultural tradition.
Walk the Takayama Old Town Trail
The Takayama Old Town Trail is a walking path that takes visitors through some of the most beautiful historic districts in the city. The trail is a great way to experience traditional Japanese architecture and learn about the history of Takayama.
Visit the Yatai Kaikan Float Exhibition Hall
The Yatai Kaikan Float Exhibition Hall is another museum that showcases the beautiful floats used during the Takayama Festivals. The museum has a variety of exhibits that showcase the craftsmanship and history of the floats. It’s a great way to learn about the festival and see the beautiful floats up close.
The Sum Up
Takayama is a beautiful city that offers visitors a unique and authentic Japanese experience. From exploring the historic districts to trying local cuisine and attending traditional festivals, there are plenty of things to do in Takayama.
We hope this guide has helped you plan your trip and make the most of your time in this beautiful city.