My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hida-Takayama - a Tourist Destination.

   Access to Takayama, like nearly all cities and towns throughout Japan, is very easy, and that is regardless of your mode ( you might find this article on Japan's Infrastructure interesting). If you are entering Japan by air, the Central Japan International Airport outside Nagoya City would be your best & closest bet (although, in saying that, the International Airports at Tokyo and Osaka are also a stones-throw away). There is also an International airport at Toyama if you are flying-in from some Asian Countries.
J.R.Limited Express.
The image on the left is the J.R.Limited Express that operates on the Takayama Main Line between the cities of Nagoya and Toyama. Both of these cities are on the Japan Rail Network giving you good access from wherever in Japan you are coming from. 
 If you are planning on driving to Takayama, then the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway would be your quickest way but, if you want to see/experience some great Japanese Scenery (and have the time), then come via one of the many National Highway Roads that access the area. And, last-but-not-least, buses. Like the rail network, the bus-service to/from Takayama is second-to-none with regular services linking the area with Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagoya, as-well-as Kanazawa, Toyama and Matsumoto. This guide will give you a better indication as to how to get here - "Getting to Takayama".
   You have worked-out how to get here, now your next step is to find somewhere to stay. Takayama has quite a selection of hotels to choose from, all providing high-quality service and located throughout the inner city and surrounding area. I shall let the folks at "Takayama Guide" impress you with what is available. 
If you are looking for accommodation in the traditional category, then I would recommend a Ryokan. To find what is available, and at what cost, Takayama Ryokan Association will be of assistance. If you want something a little downbeat from the Ryokan, the Minshuku is your best bet - roughly equivalent to the English Bed-and- Breakfast. Hida-Takayama Minshuku Association will be of assistance. 
If you are on a budget, there is a huge range of hostels available, including a Youth Hostel. This is a good 'site to help with selecting a hostel - Hostels in Hida-Takayama. If a member of your touring-party is the family dog, then you can't go past the Takayama Wan-Wan Paradise Hotel. Set in amongst the forest and located on the mountains that border Gifu and Nagano Prefectures, this is the perfect hotel (you don't have to have a dog to stay here). The restaurant, serving traditional Japanese fare, are top quality. The Onsen I would class as the best I have experienced in my time living in Japan.
Takayama WanWan Paradise Hotel.

   Now doesn't the above image look delicious? Traditional Japanese Cuisine is very healthy and tasty (that's coming from someone who has been eating it for the past 8-years) and Hida-Takayama has many restaurants for you to experience. I won't post any names but leave it up to you to discover where to eat. But let me say this, in Japan food quality is second-to-none in the world. There are also a few Western Restaurants & cafes for that something that reminds you of back home.
Now the all-important paragraph - what to do in Takayama. This 'site will give you access to the Takayama Practicle Guide Map (English) and, as you can see, there is not a shortage of sights to see/experience. 
 Something I have never come-across, until I visited Takayama, is this system of "Tourist Guides". These people, identifiable by these yellow & black armbands, stroll throughout the "Old Streets" and are more-than-happy to help you with any inquiries you may have. Although this service is free, it would be courteous of you to pay their costs (on a recent visit to Takayama, a guide gave us a very-personal tour of Takayama-jinya). The streets are also very well signposted and maps are available everywhere you go, and in many different languages. My tip is don't try to cram too much into your day. Take it casually and experience what you are visiting without rushing it. 
If you are an early-bird, then head off down to the Morning Market (6am-to-noon), in the area around Takayama-jinya. This is one of the largest markets of it's kind in Japan and has been in operation for over 300-years. Then, after you have purchased some fresh fruit or a souvenir (or two), pop-around the corner to the Sanmachi Village. These old houses, dating back to the Edo Period, have been faithfully restored to their (almost) original state. Don't be in a hurry. There are so many wee gems of shops to discover and you never know what you will find.
Fukyuan Cafe.
Map Location.
   By now your stomach is sending you a message - "I'm hungry". The Fukyuan Cafe is located off a side-street, that itself is off a side-street that is off the main street (check the map for location) and is a quaint wee establishment that sells, apart from great coffee, small trinkets e.t.c. It has an English menu and specializes in Japanese sweets. While here, take the time to plan the remainder of your day. If you want to experience more of the historical aspect of Hida-Takayama, I would recommend the Takayama Local History Museum, or the Higashiyama Temple Area or Takayama-jinya.
If you are a fellow "outdoorholic", like myself, and you have packed your hiking, mountain-biking or skiing gear for your vacation, all I can say is - "Welcome to Paradise". Hida-Takayama is nestled-amongst the Hida Mountains, which themselves are encompassed by the Japanese Alps. Whatever your fancy - a stroll amongst nature, off-the-beaten-track, hair-raising - there is sure to be something here to satisfy your addiction. If you want to do you own thing, then surf-through Diddlefinger Maps-Japan. Using "Google Maps", this 'site uses English for place-names, in place of Kanji (in most cases). But, if you want something more organized/planned, let me recommend two - 
The Goshikigahara Hermit Road,  situated in the foothills of magnificent Mt Norikura (Map Location), provides the hiker with three options to explore the "luxurious nature which has not been explored for a long time". For a small fee, you will be provided with a guide and will include bus-fare in the park as-well-as guide book. The tour is limited to two persons with a maximum of ten.  
 Could you imagine yourself taking a guided bike-ride through the magnificent scenery of Hida-Furukawa (image on right)? Well, with the guys at Hida Satoyama Cycling, you can do just that. This is one of the best ways to discover the scenic Japanese countryside. Hida-Furukawa is just a 15-minute train-ride from Takayama and, with scenery like this, you won't want to leave. This is the "real" Japan.
Check-out more of the area at Satoyama Experience. 
   Now if this image on the right turns you on, and you are keen to check-out the local slopes, Takayama is the place. This website - Skiing and Snowboarding. - should be of use. 
   I have covered many activities for you to see/experience in Hida-Takayama. Unfortunately I have had to omit mentioning many (maybe that will give you an idea of what is available) but, if you surf-through some of the websites attached, I am sure you will find something that will satisfy your tastes. 

   I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge those who have allowed me to use their websites and images in this blog. 



  1. HI i;ll like to thank you for your website since I've been looking everywhere for info about takayama esp goshiki.

    Do you know when the tours in the park are opened? we are two people planning to go there at the begining of april 2013 and I'll really love to see some outdoors hiking if weather permits. I know their skyline is opened later due to snow but i want to do the hermit road. did you do it? if yrs, the brdige above is it from the waterfall or pond tours?

    thanks for any reply!

  2. Hi Cherly ip,
    Thank you for reading my blog. Takayama is a very lovely destination to holiday in. There is so much to see,do & experience. As I was only there for two days I didn't manage to see an much as I would have liked.
    So,in answer to your enquiry,I shall put you onto someone who would be better equipped to help you.
    His name is Akila Tanaka and is involved with the Takayama Municipal Office - He is a very nice man and there isn't much he doesn't know about regarding the area.
    If you are planning on including the Kansai Area (Kyoto,Nara,Osaka)on your trip,let me know.

  3. thank you! we will be in koyto as well. anywhere you recommend? I had to cancel the goshiki part since not opened until may :( for another time i guess . i'll deifnitely keep the info for mr tanaka. it might become handy! must be nice to live in japan :)

    1. Cherly ip,
      Please forgive me for my late response to your message. You ask "anywhere you recommend?". Well, how much time do you plan to be in Kyoto? I say that as there is plenty to see/experience in this area, whether it is within the city or out in the countryside.Kyoto City is a very beautiful place.
      If I can be of any assistance, for when you plan your Kyoto trip, please let me know.