Japanese prefectures are always an enjoyable place to visit for a vacation. One of the most resounding names to have exemplified this notion is the small town of Takayama, under Japan’s Gifu Prefecture. If you want to be acquainted with Japan’s intrinsic history, going to Takayama will help you get the information you are seeking.
Takayama is still pegged on 17th century Japan which shouts of Meiji-inspired houses, extensive attention to galleries, museums and historical shrines and the tranquil riverside snatched from your Asian-inspired Hollywood flick. Now finding its voice as one of Japan’s secret treasures, Takayama, despite its compact size, thrives by preserving its blessings from nature and ensures warm hospitality typical of the Japanese.
Belonging to the Gifu Prefecture, Takayama lies on the huge chunk of land named Chubu. The total land area that Takayama covers is 840.41-square kilometers and is populated by nearly 93,000 inhabitants since 2011. Takayama is on Japan’s southeastern side in terms of its position on this long island.
Takayama is on the northernmost tip of the Gifu Prefecture and is considered to be Japan’s largest city in terms of surface area. Communities connecting Takayama to its mother prefecture are Matsumoto, Hiratsuka, Echizen and Kaminoyama.
Due to its elevation and positioning near the sea, Takayama experiences a dual climate which is tagged as either humid continental or humid subtropical according to the Koppen Climate Classification. Takayama is lucky to experience four seasons. The hottest months are July and August with temperatures ranging anywhere from 36-37-degrees Celsius. September is the rainiest month which attributes to 9.27 inches of accumulated precipitation despite the fact that it can rain all year round in this city.
The winter season starts in December and will stretch as far as March with total snowfall of 186.2 inches in an annual scale. Takayama is known to be included on Japan’s list of cities with the strongest snowfall accumulation. The sun will shine brightly again when April sets in and will go as far as June. Yearly, Takayama gets a grand total of 1,623.7 sunshine hours, despite the different seasons and weather conditions.
Getting around Japan is such hassle-free because the country invested well in their sophisticated modes of transport. As a tourist in Takayama, you might want to take note of all-inclusive passes such as the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass and the Shoryudo Highway Bus Ticket which are your passports in getting around the city, along with nearby destinations.
Aside from the main train line, it is also recommended for visitors to use their highway bus systems which run six times during day time with roundtrips to Tokyo. The train terminal of Takayama can be easily reached from Nagoya, Toyama and Matsumoto.
What to See
Teddy Bear Eco Village
While it is clear that the Teddy Bear originated in the United States, people in Takayama have this innate fondness of collecting them, hence the establishment of the Teddy Bear Eco Village. This complex boasts of a whopping 1,000 stuffed bears from all over the world, some of which are said to be 140 years old.
Aside from the extensive collection of these toys, this establishment also offers a high-class cafeteria to release the stress you’ve had from traveling around Takayama.
Preserving their 17th century influence, these Merchant Houses clearly exemplify how serious Takayama locals are in respect to this notion. Located on the northern edge of the land in Sanmachi, these houses were built in the historical Edo-period and are still standing up to this very date.
Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall
Yearly, Takayama is frequented with visitors from all over the world due their Takayama Matsuri. When the festival ends and you still want to see how flamboyant the used floats are, then head straight to the Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall which is made specifically for a this purpose. Four out of the 23 multi-tiered floats are housed here for viewing and this is where festival participants gain inspiration for what to put on parade the following year.
The Karakuri Museum is made to house an extensive collection of over 800 masks, musical instruments and drums that are used in traditional Japanese festivals and events. While you’re inside this museum, be sure to experience the highlight of the place which is the two-hour puppet show guaranteed to amaze you in the best way possible.
Things to Do in Takayama
Takayama Area – JNTO