The high altitude of Takayama and the terrain often separate this area from the tourists visiting Asia. If they do not take the chance to go and see what this city has to offer they are missing a great opportunity. It is located in the mountains of the Hida region. Because of the distance and relatively few residents, about 90,000, this city manages to maintain a charm that other bigger and more modern cities in Japan have. Visitors to the region can enjoy the rural charm at one of the many different places that are open to them.
1. Old Town – This area is preserved in such a way that many visitors think they have stepped back in time. The streets and buildings date back over 500 years and have been home to many wealthy merchants. Tourists can view the homes, visit a coffee shop or browse through one of the shops that line the old street. There are some homes that are open to the public. The normal hours of business for many of the shops are from 9:00 am to 5:00 PM. One of the great ways to see this historic part of the city is on a rickshaw. There are many that can be rented for this purpose.
2. Higashuyama Walk – A stroll on this path takes visitors through many of the sites of Takayama. Tourists will get to see the temples, shrines, and the ruins of a castle that are along this walk. The path leads through the rural countryside and is not meant to be hurried through.
3. Morning Markets – There are two main markets that tourists can see. They open at around 6:30. The two markets are the Jinya-mae and the Miyagawa market and the vendors of these markets offer local crafts, food, and many other things for travelers to browse through and buy. It is a great way to get souvenirs of the area. Craftsmen of Takinaya are renowned for their carpentry and this is often on display at the markets.
4. Yatai Kaikan – This hall is located next to the Sakayurayama Haikichan Shrine and is the location for some floats that are used in the festivals that are so well known in Takayama. Eleven floats are on display in this hall. Some are several hundred years old and are another example of the skill of tradesmen that come from this region.
5. Matsuri no Mori – This museum is dedicated to the Takayama Festival. The main hall of this museum is designed to resemble a cave and is filled with miniature festival floats. As visitors explore the museum they will find life-size floats for the festival along with the decorations and marionettes that accompany the floats. The museum uses mechanical marionettes for display purposes so visitors can see the puppets in action. Another favorite display of the visitors is the Taike drums which are said to be the largest drums in the world. Smart travelers can find a coupon that gets them discounted admission.