After highlighting my side-trips adventures at Hida and Gifu prefecture, it’s about time that I shifted back the spotlight to Hida Takayama.
The famous Sannomachi Street, lined with antique homes and age-old specialty business like sake breweries, a business handed down from family generations. A distinguished feature of a Sake brewery establishment is the huge ball made of cedar branches (sugidama) place above at the main entrance door.
Everyday, two morning markets (JinyaMae and Miyakawa) are held across the old town, and along Miyagawa River. Usually starts at around 6am, I encourage you to wake up early not only to purchase souvenir stuff but take the opportunity of peace and quiet while strolling along the old town.
Trust me, it feels absolutely different when you walk along Sannomachi street minus the crowd.
Speaking of souvenirs, the red human-shaped dolls with no face called Sarubobo is the region most recommended item to take home. By tradition, these are dolls made by mothers for their daughters as a goodluck charm for marriage and children.
Another recommended diversion from the usual merchant houses is to walk uphill towards Shiroyama Park and Takayama Castle ruins.
Seeing the local residents enjoying a day in the park is the first time where I feel what the true Takayama is. Don’t get me wrong, the preserved buildings are a great reminder of the past but often times too much commercialism has clouded what the town is all about.
Takayama is famous for the annual spring and autumn festival called Takayama Matsuri, where dozen of festival floats (yatai) occupy the streets. Consider as one of Japan’s most beautiful festival, I can only imagine how amazing it must be to be surrounded by towering floats. Across the old town are several storehouses but the best way to admire yatai, if you don’t make it to the matsuri is by visiting TakayamaYatai Kaikan (Festival museum).
If you are someone who deems that 6pm dinner is way too early, then you don’t have any choice but to adjust your eating habits, since most of the shops here are only open up to the said hour. The main delicacy is the tasty, almost melts in your mouth Hida beef. If you don’t have any money to spend on expensive steak restaurants, you can still sample the delicious meat for 500 yen at small BBQ shops.
Thank you Takayama. Without any doubt, one of my most satisfying trip in Japan.