Tucked away in the mountainous Hida region of Japan sits Takayama, a preciously preserved old rural town. Holidays in Takayama transport you to an ancient world of a sacred culture steeped in history and cherished traditions.
Known as Japan’s “Little Kyoto”, Takayama is the rustic partner to the booming Kyoto. Just two hours from Nagoya, visitors come here to experience old Japan and its rural charm. In the winter, you’ll find snow drenched mountains and bubbling hot sake at every turn. During the spring, the town is coated in a rich, green forest. Takayama is a vision no matter what time of year you choose to visit.
During the 16th century Edo period when economic growth and arts and culture zoomed across Japan, Takayama’s nestled location was hidden away. Its ancient customs and preserved way of life lived on and still bursts with cherished sake brewing and preserved towns.
Feel the ancient Samurai as you walk along narrow lanes in Takayama Japan
In Takayama Old Town, feel true rural Japan as you stroll through narrow streets dotted with old merchant houses and artisan shops. Traditional Japanese architecture fills the town, with shops and houses drenched in an old rustic charm.
This region is filled with pretty mountain villages and one of the best ways to see authentic, old Japan is by venturing deep into the Japanese Alps. Discover the remote villages in UNESCO listed Shirakowoga. Steep slope thatched roofs known as “praying hands” are the foreground to fading mountains in the background.
While in Takayama, visit one of the many sake breweries and discover Japan’s signature rice wine. Take your pick along the Sanmachi Street, where local brewers have been making sake for over 400 years. You’ll easily recognise any of the six breweries by the sake barrels outside and the cedar bell hanging above the door.
Bring your Takayama travels to an end with gorgeous hot springs and outdoor baths in Okuhida. Five Onsen towns are dotted along Okuhida’s valleys and each has its own hot springs that promise to heal the skin and mind. Stay overnight at a traditional ryokan, a Japanese style inn adorned in futon beds, traditional baths and tatami floors. It’s the perfect place to let go, unwind and indulge within an enclave of natural beauty.
Holidays in Takayama offer a wonderful insight into an ancient and preserved culture. Away from the action packed Kyoto, you can truly stop and feel the stillness.
Great sample itineraries
Our sample itineraries will give you inspiration for your next holiday in Takayama. Browse some of our top choices below.
“If you don’t manage the time to go to Shirakawago, closer to the city is Hida no Sato, a smaller but just as charming collection of thatched houses which is well worth a visit.”
“Don’t miss out on a visit to one of the city's six famous breweries, where you can enjoy a sake tasting. If you visit in late Jan/early Feb, some of the breweries have open days where you can take a guided tour of the 500 year old brewing custom.”
The festival takes place in the spring (Hie Shrine) and is a wonderful outdoor showcase of Japanese culture. Red and gold fabric adorned floats fill the streets and locals dress in ancient Samurai clothing . You’ll see the entire town slip into Edo period. Expect rows of delicious street food stalls and traditional Japanese music soaring through the festival goers.
Sake is the star of the Japanese culinary show here in Takayama. This signature rice wine is a delicious and warming treat in the colder months. You can have it cold in the summer months, too. Sip on a warm sake after dinner or in the evenings for a true taste of Japan
You might also like these
We think you might also like to take a look at these destinations. If you'd like some advice, our Destination Specialists will be able to find something that is right for you.
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
Sign up to our newsletter
Receive the latest travel inspiration and destination news.
How we tailor make your holiday
The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.