Hida Takayama/飛騨高山(Gifu)

About Hida Takayama

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Gardens
  • Onsen
  • Festival
  • Cultural Experience
  • Temples & Shrines
  • World Heritage
  • Castles
  • Historical Sites
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Skiing and Snowboarding
  • Beautiful Places
  • National Parks
  • Beaches & Coast
  • Mountaineering & Hiking

The central area of Takayama City is called "Old Town" and is also known as "Hida's Little Kyoto" due to its well-preserved castle town and merchant town, including restaurants and souvenir stores converted from machiya (traditional houses dating back to the Edo period.) The tourist guide lists this spot as "Hida Takayama," and hordes of people visit from all over Japan every year. It has been awarded 3 stars as a must-see tourist destination in France's Michelin practical travel guide "Voyager Pratique Japon."

Drinking water flows beneath the low-slung traditional wooden facades, sake breweries hang "sake-bayashi" (a ball made of Japanese Cedar branches) at their doors, and the streets are lined with doors of traditional wooden townhouses and noren curtains of long-established shops. Chidori lattice, a traditional technique unique to Takayama, is made by cutting multiple grooves evenly into a single square-shaped piece of wood to form the latticework, then putting the pieces together like a puzzle. This secret technique of Hida's Local Artisans adds to the charm of Sanmachi Street.

Takayama City has been the central city of Hida since times of old, and merged with nine neighboring towns and villages in 2005 as part of a large-scale municipal restructuring. With an area of 2177.61 square kilometers, Takayama City is larger than Osaka and Kagawa prefectures and almost equal to the entire Tokyo metropolis, making it the largest city in Japan. After the merger, Takayama City crosses the Hida region from east to west, bordering Nagano and Toyama prefectures in the east and Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures in the west, stretching approximately 81 km from east to west and 55 km from north to south. The Hida Mountains rise to the east of the city and the Ryohaku Mountains to the west, and the central city is located in the Takayama Basin surrounded by steep mountains.
Designated as an International Conference and Tourist City, Takayama is a popular tourist destination with its traditional townscape, numerous ski resorts and hot springs, and the number of tourists from the Chukyo and Kansai regions, and more recently from the Tokyo metropolitan area and abroad, has been increasing every year.

In Takayama City, a large percentage of the city's harvest is highland vegetables such as Hida tomatoes and spinach, which take advantage of the cool climate prevalent in the region. The area is also famous for its specialty vegetables, such as Yususo pumpkins, Akishima sage, Hida single thick leeks, and Hida red turnips. At the Miyagawa morning market, the fresh vegetables are grown with great care by the local 'grandmothers' who sell them. Thick and crooked cucumbers, lively leaves, taut daikon radishes and carrots with mud still clinging to them, bright red turnips, apples, tomatoes, etc., are all on display, and it is impressive to see vegetables in their natural state; something you would never come across in urban supermarkets.

Getting there and around

Highway bus

Approx. 2 hours and 35 min. from Nagoya Meitetsu Bus Center
Approx. 5 hours and 45 min. from Shinjuku Bus Terminal
Approx. 5 hours and 20 min. from Osaka Station


Approx. 2 hours and 30 min. from JR Nagoya Station to JR Takayama Station by limited express "Hida-go"

Top Tip

Okuhida Onsengo/奥飛騨温泉郷

  • Onsen

Okuhida Onsen-kyo boasts one of the largest number of hot springs in Japan. There are five hot spring resorts: Hirayu, Fukuchi, Shin-Hairayu, Tochio, and Shin Hotaka. Among these, Hirayu Onsen has the oldest history. It is said that an old white monkey bathed in the hot spring and healed his wounds, and people who saw this began to frequent the area to heal their various ailments.

Historic streets of Hida Takayama

  • Historical Sites
  • Beautiful Places

Hida Takayama is called "Hida's Little Kyoto" and is an attractive area with an historical townscape.
The old streets are in the Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, where traditional "machiya" townhouses line the streets and retain the atmosphere of an old town from 400 years ago. Many of the machiya houses have been converted to cafes, restaurants, and stores, so visitors can enjoy shopping, taste-touring, and even authentic Japanese sake.

Takayama Festival/高山祭

  • Festival

Takayama Matsuri is an annual festival held in Takayama City, and is the collective name for the Hie Shrine "Spring Takayaama Festival (Sanno Matsuri)" held April 14-15 and the Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine "Autumn Takayama Festival (Hachiman Matsuri)" held October 9-10.
This festival ranks as one of the three major Hikiyama festivals and one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals, along with the Gion Festival in Kyoto City and the Chichibu Night Festival in Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture. Floats called "yatai" are pulled through the city streets. Takayama Matsuri is designated as both an Important Tangible Folk Cultural Property and an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

Shinhotaka Ropeway/新穂高ロープウェイ

Japan's only ropeway operating double decker gondola cars renewed in July 2020. The gondola takes you 2,200 meters above sea level to the clouds, where you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the magnificent scenery of the Northern Alps. The view from this point has been given 2 stars in the "Michelin Green Guide Japan".


Published in 2001, Honobu Yonezawa's popular novel "Hyouka" is a school mystery set in a high school in Hida Takayama, and has since been adapted into an anime and movie. Fans from around the world have visited the school and other Takayama locations featured in the stories.


Links and Resources

Hida Takayama(English)

Multilingual Support
Takayama City has introduced local government-certified guides able to provide sightseeing tips to overseas tourists so that they can explore the city with ease.

Unique Local Experiences

"Sarubobo," a cute little doll with a bright red face and black bellyplate, means "baby monkey" in Hida dialect. The red face resembles a baby monkey, hence the name. It is said that long ago, mothers in the Hida region made sarubobo to wish for good matchmaking, safe childbirth, and happy marriages for their daughters, and for their own children to grow up healthy and happy. Visitors can also enjoy the experience of making sarubobo dolls.

Unique Local Experiences

Travel Advice and Tips

While strolling through the old town during the day is lively and enjoyable, a night stroll is also recommended to avoid the crowds.
Many stores close in the evening, therefore the streets soon grow quieter, and when the sun sets and warm lights are turned on, the town takes on a magical atmosphere. The pleasant quietness and beautiful scenery will fill your heart with contentment. Don't forget to partake of Hida's delectable gourmet food to also ensure your stomach's satisfaction.


Hotel Hotaka/ホテル穂高(Gifu)

Hotel Hotaka/ホテル穂高(Gifu)
  • Cool and Unusual Hotels

Shinhotaka Onsen, Okuhida Onsengou,Takayama City,Gifu

Nestled amid 3,000-meter-high mountains and lush nature, Hotel Hotaka is conveniently located next to the departure station of Shin Hotaka Ropeway, a popular tourist attraction of the Northern Alps in the heart of Japan. At Hotel Hotaka, guests can i....

Read more

Special Tours

Nagoya Travel Guide