Houses in the Hida-no-Sato open-air museum

Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山) , locally just plain Takayama (高山), is a city near the northern Japan Alps of Gifu prefecture, in the Chubu region of Japan.


Takayama is famous for its well-preserved quarter with Edo-style streets. Sometimes called "Little Kyoto of Hida" (飛騨の小京都), the traditional townscape is a major attraction to visitors, only rivalled by that of Kanazawa among cities in the Chubu region.

Much of the city had been established when it had been a castle town surrounding the Takayama Catsle (高山城) since the 15th century until the 18th century. The central Tokugawa shogunate then took over the control and demolished the castle. Over the period of some 200 years since then, the city saw development of the forestry industry and boasted the crafts made by its artisans. The art of woodcraft and other works of craftsmanship has then been passed over through the Meiji era to the present day.

Having a humid continental climate, there is a large variation in temperature in the city in summer, sometimes from 0 to 35 degrees in a day. With much of the area close to or midst of mountains, winter brings constant snowfalls to the city, with temperatures sometimes falling below -10 degrees.

Get in

Takayama is the major transport hub of the Hida region.

By train

Hida-Takayama's train station, Takayama, is located on the JR Takayama Line.

From Tokyo Station, you can reach Takayama by taking a Tokaido Shinkansen train (Nozomi or Hikari) to Nagoya and then transfer to the Wide View Hida (ワイドビューひだ) Limited Express train for the run to Takayama. The ride takes just over 4 hours via Nozomi with a good connection, and costs ¥14800. By Hikari it takes 4 1/2 hours, but the ride is fully included in the Japan Rail Pass. From Kyoto or Osaka, you can take the Shinkansen to Nagoya, then the Wide View Hida, but there is also a morning Wide View direct from Osaka and Kyoto, slightly slower but more convenient.

Another option is to travel from Shinjuku in Tokyo to Matsumoto on the Azusa/Super Azusa limited express train, then walk to Nohi Bus at the Matsumoto Bus Terminal and travel by express bus to Takayama. Holders of the JR East Rail Pass can use the Azusa at no charge and are eligible to purchase a round trip bus ticket between Matsumoto and Takayama at the discounted charge of ¥2500 (normally ¥5500). The trip takes approximately 5 1/2 hours each way depending on connections in Matsumoto. The downside is that you can only buy these tickets at the JR East Travel Service Centers at Narita or Haneda Airports, or in Takayama at the Nohi Bus Center. Those with a JR East Pass that are already in Tokyo will need to take the Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport (free with the pass) and visit the JR East counter during business hours to purchase this bus ticket.

From Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nohi Bus provides a direct bus service for ¥4000. The 3.5 hour trip without transfer is convenient if you have large luggage. It can be reserved online at the Nohi Bus's site.

By bus

Buses operated by Nohi Bus jointly with Keio Kosoku Bus from Shinjuku in Tokyo go straight to Takayama (5.5h, ¥6690). Great views along the way!

Buses to and from the Oku-Hida Onsen Villages leave from the bus station adjacent to JR Takayama station.

If you go the mountain route, there is a bus from Matsumoto (with some mountain village like Kamikochi on the way).

Get around

Takayama is small enough to cover on foot, but bicycle rental (¥600 per day from the youth hostel) is also a good option.


A street in the old section of Takayama


Takayama is famous for its two festivals:

Even though the festivals' origin is unknown, it is said that they were first celebrated between 1586 and 1692 when the Kanamori family governed the Hida Takayama area. The spring festival is associated with Hie Shrine (日枝神社) and the autumn with Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine (桜山八幡宮). Both are much alike and feature a parade of large floats (屋台 yatai) decorated with thick curtains, lacquer ware, and mechanical dolls (karakuri). Twelve floats appear in the spring festival and eleven in autumn. The procession carrying the portable shrine (mikoshi) is unique to the autumn. During both festivals, this usually quiet town is lively and filled with visitors, so it is best to book accommodation (particularly on the night of the parade) and tickets early.



Takayama is famous for its ramen noodles, cooked in miso stock with thin noodles. As elsewhere in Gifu, you are also likely to encounter hōba miso (ほうば味噌), a version of the ubiquitous Japanese bean paste grilled on a hōba leaf and served as a dip or for eating with rice as is. Sounds pretty simple, but the taste is exquisite. Takayama is also famous for its steak (飛騨牛 hidagyu). You can find it at many restaurants throughout the city.


Takayama is pretty quiet at night. Some of the few bars which are open include:




Go next

Routes through Hida-Takayama

Toyama  N  S  Gero Gifu
Toyama Shirakawa-go  N  S  Mino Gifu

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, January 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.