Takyama is about 4.5 – 5 hous train or bus ride from Tokyo, and because of its isolation, it has preserved the buildings about 300 years old. Lately the town is getting attention of tourists from both inside and outside of Japan, and Michelin Green Guide Japan gave it 3 stars in 2009.
Let’s explore Takayama town and find out the life and buildings of good old days in Japan!
Hida Kokubunji Temple was built in the 8th century and has been an important temple also during the Shogun period. In Takayama, you will have a chance to see dolls with red blank face “Sarubobo.” People believed Sarubobo had a power to put evils away from their babies, and once the Sarubobos ended their roles, they were sent to this temple to rest forever.
The original building of the temple was lost, but the national natural monument Gingko Tree has survived more than 1,250 years! Legend says that the master builder’s daughter was buried at the foot of this tree, and women who have babies pray here for having good breast feeding.
Near Hida Kokubunji Temple, you can find Miyagawa Morning Market along Miyagawa River. Local farmers sell fresh vegetables, grill mochi cakes, and young people make fresh coffee and cookies! This is the place you must visit while being in Takayama, to see the local life and products.
Takayama has good rice and where good rice grows, good sake are brewed. Sake breweries in Takayama has history from the Shogun period, and many of their buildings are as they were. If you’d like to try a taste of sake, they will offer you a small cup with 100 – 200 yen.
Take off your shoes and step up onto tatami mats. Rooms are divided with wooden or paper slides, and sometimes screens work to separate the space. This is how common people lived during the Shogun period, reconstructed in one of the modern breweries.
In the Old Town (Furui Machinami) of Takayama, even a pharmacy keeps their traditional showcase. People ask a pharmacist for medicines and the pharmacist tries to find out the conditions of the guest. The same as how we used to communicate in local shops.
During the Shogun period, Takayama was directly controlled by the central government and it has kept high standard for its life and culture, some people call here “Small Kyoto.”
Jinya used to be the local government’s office, controllers were sent from Edo (Tokyo) and lived in the spacious building. This is the only place in Japan where most of the Jinya constructions exist.
Samurai were originally warriors but during the peaceful Edo Shogun Period, many of them worked as bureaucrats and loved simple well-organized life. In Jinya, you will be able to understand how they worked, ate, slept at that time.
For residents in Japan, currently the Japanese government offers “GoTo Travel Campaign” with which the domestic travel can be 50% off (until 31JAN 2021). Transportation to Takayama from Tokyo costs high, don’t miss the chance to visit there with less fees!
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