The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis’ Top 6 picks in Takayama, Japan

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jul• 16•13

Takayama's San-Machi neighborhood is full of beauty at every corner

Takayama’s San-Machi neighborhood is full of beauty at every corner

Takayama is a small jewel of a city located to the north of Kyoto, and makes a refreshing two day stop. It’s unrushed, and a terrific walking town. To get here, you’ll probably take the train from Nagoya. If you do, get a window seat, as the scenery around the Hida river is at times spectacular. Here are WoWasis’ Top 6 picks for Takayama:

1)      The Takayama Showa Museum is not only one of the best things in Takayama, in our opinion here at WoWasis, it’s most of the most remarkable museums in the world. Showa refers to the period of Japanese history (1926-1987) following the Taisho era (1912-1925), and preceding the Heisei era (1988-today).   The museum showcases consumer technology of the era, and is divided up into twenty period rooms

2)      The hillside and lake-situated Hida Folk Village historical park in the city of Takayama, Japan, isn’t to be missed, and is worth a visit if you’re anywhere close to Takayama. Opened in 1971, the site consists of more than thirty buildings from the Hida area, moved here to preserve them from destruction. Architectural styles include Gassho-style thatched , and shingle-roofs. There are a number of displays of traditional Hida crafts in several of the houses, including our favorite, the wood-carrying sleds found in Hozumi’s house.  Also on the site are artisans working on traditional crafts such as wood carving and lacquerware.

Old shops are everywhere in San-Machi, Takayama

Old shops are everywhere in San-Machi, Takayama

3)      No visit to Takayama, Japan, would be complete without a visit to the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan Float Exhibition Hall. The floats are massive wooden two or three-wheeled structures, brought out twice a year for the Takayama Matsuri (festival). Four of these floats are always on a rotating visit to the museum, where you can view them from a distance of several meters, behind glass.

4)      Puppet- making has been a tradition in Japan for centuries, but we here at WoWasis admit that we were unprepared for the technical wizardry inherent in Karakuri puppets, the centerpieces of Takayama’s Karakuri Museum. Every 20 minutes or so, a puppet show is begun at the museum. Several puppets perform, as an aerialist, a walker on piers, and as a tea server, just to name three.

5)      Takayama Jinya is a large old government office that was a branch office of the Edo government from 1692 to1868, and is the only existing building of its kind in Japan today. Here are greeting halls, and garden, a conference room, and yes, an interrogation room with some nasty torture devices, including triangular sticks, used by Japanese police as late as the 20th century.
Takayama Jinya
1-5 Hackiken-machi, Takayama
Tel (0577) 32-0643
Open 8:45-5:00

Banner_Asia006)      Walk through the old Sanmachi-Suji neighborhood. There are three main streets full of old shops and buildings, quite scenic.  They are Ichi-no-machi, Ni-no-machi, and San-no-machi. There are two historical houses you can visit within the neighborhood, the Kusakabe House, which also houses a collection of folk arts, and the Yoshijima House, with its impressive red pine timbers. With the exception of the Hida Folk Village, each venue on this page is with a ten-minute walk of one-another.

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