A Travellerspoint blog

Takayama - the surprisingly nice Little Kyoto of Japan

This was the most fun tour group I've traveled with; everyone had such a good sense of humor and we all got along so well

This was the most fun tour group I've traveled with; everyone had such a good sense of humor and we all got along so well

The Takayama Festival began 350 years ago as a simple village ceremony and continues today as one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals; the Takayama Festival Hall houses four huge floats

The Takayama Festival began 350 years ago as a simple village ceremony and continues today as one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals; the Takayama Festival Hall houses four huge floats

One of my favorite photos since they both posed for me; the dogs in Japan are unbelievably pampered with cute outfits, strollers, gourmet cuisine and no exercise

One of my favorite photos since they both posed for me; the dogs in Japan are unbelievably pampered with cute outfits, strollers, gourmet cuisine and no exercise

For our two night stay in Takayama, we stayed in a traditional Japanese inn where you sleep on a futon mat placed on the floor; the communal bathroom and showers are down the hall

For our two night stay in Takayama, we stayed in a traditional Japanese inn where you sleep on a futon mat placed on the floor; the communal bathroom and showers are down the hall

The 3 story pagoda is unique to the Hida region; a pagoda was first built here in 1615 with the current structure dating from 1821

The 3 story pagoda is unique to the Hida region; a pagoda was first built here in 1615 with the current structure dating from 1821

The Great Ginkgo of Hida is estimated to be 1200  years old; the tree is 28 meters high with a circumference of 10 meters and when it's leaves fall it heralds the changing of the seasons

The Great Ginkgo of Hida is estimated to be 1200+ years old; the tree is 28 meters high with a circumference of 10 meters and when it's leaves fall it heralds the changing of the seasons

The Saturday morning market along the Miyagawa River is supposed to be a popular attraction but not so much in the rain

The Saturday morning market along the Miyagawa River is supposed to be a popular attraction but not so much in the rain

Torii gates at Shoren-ji Temple; the gates are typically found at Shinto shrines where they symbolically mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Torii gates at Shoren-ji Temple; the gates are typically found at Shinto shrines where they symbolically mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred

Dairyuji Temple Benton Do; Takayama was selected as one of the top ten travel destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet magazine in 2017

Dairyuji Temple Benton Do; Takayama was selected as one of the top ten travel destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet magazine in 2017

What a great idea for a worthwhile project for school kids that beautifies the city and puts a smile on the face of tourists

What a great idea for a worthwhile project for school kids that beautifies the city and puts a smile on the face of tourists

Old Town Takayama featured historic, wooden houses with long hanging eaves and lattice windows on narrow streets, as in Edo times

Old Town Takayama featured historic, wooden houses with long hanging eaves and lattice windows on narrow streets, as in Edo times

There were 12 Buddhist temples and shrines, including the 1632 Soyuji Temple, on my well-marked walk; Takayama is located in a valley in the heart of the Japanese Alps

There were 12 Buddhist temples and shrines, including the 1632 Soyuji Temple, on my well-marked walk; Takayama is located in a valley in the heart of the Japanese Alps

Nakabashi Bridge is the most famous in town; Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town

Nakabashi Bridge is the most famous in town; Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town

Although the original wooden structure was built in 1558, it was twice damaged by fire and the current incarnation of Zennoji's temple was constructed in 1925; it was at the start of the pleasant Higashiyama walking trail

Although the original wooden structure was built in 1558, it was twice damaged by fire and the current incarnation of Zennoji's temple was constructed in 1925; it was at the start of the pleasant Higashiyama walking trail

These are popular sake products; some members of the tour attended a sake demonstration with free samples; for dinner the group visited a restaurant that specializes in Hida beef which is considered one of the best varieties of Wagu beef

These are popular sake products; some members of the tour attended a sake demonstration with free samples; for dinner the group visited a restaurant that specializes in Hida beef which is considered one of the best varieties of Wagu beef

Shoren-ji Temple, said to have been built around 1500 from one large cedar tree, is considered one of the oldest buildings among Jodo Shinshu temples in Japan

Shoren-ji Temple, said to have been built around 1500 from one large cedar tree, is considered one of the oldest buildings among Jodo Shinshu temples in Japan

The high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the city isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period

The high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the city isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period

Nishikiyamajinja Shrine; Takayama is part of the heavy snow area of Japan since it is exposed to the Sea of Japan and experiences lake effect snow, generating some of the highest, most consistent snowfalls in the world

Nishikiyamajinja Shrine; Takayama is part of the heavy snow area of Japan since it is exposed to the Sea of Japan and experiences lake effect snow, generating some of the highest, most consistent snowfalls in the world

Due to its colder climate we managed to visit right at the peak of cherry blossom viewing; the area is rich in timber so carpentry skills have been well developed since ancient times

Due to its colder climate we managed to visit right at the peak of cherry blossom viewing; the area is rich in timber so carpentry skills have been well developed since ancient times

Enajinja Shrine was built in 1815 by Taishu Tanaka who was a Japanese classical literature ideologist in the Edo era and born in Takayama; he is said to have taught Japanese classical literature to 300  apprentices

Enajinja Shrine was built in 1815 by Taishu Tanaka who was a Japanese classical literature ideologist in the Edo era and born in Takayama; he is said to have taught Japanese classical literature to 300+ apprentices

This impressive building is the home of Sukyo Mahikari which sounds like a new age cult; their focus is on True Light where a person radiates light to another person through their palms, allowing them to purify and revitalize their spirit, mind and body

This impressive building is the home of Sukyo Mahikari which sounds like a new age cult; their focus is on True Light where a person radiates light to another person through their palms, allowing them to purify and revitalize their spirit, mind and body

Dairyuji Temple; Mount Norikura, a dormant volcano that is 3,026 meters (9,928 ft.) tall, is just east of Takayama

Dairyuji Temple; Mount Norikura, a dormant volcano that is 3,026 meters (9,928 ft.) tall, is just east of Takayama

Takayama is the home of one of the three largest Shinto festivals in Japan; huge temple-like floats are pulled through the streets of old town for 2-3 hours in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators

Takayama is the home of one of the three largest Shinto festivals in Japan; huge temple-like floats are pulled through the streets of old town for 2-3 hours in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators

This purification font was made from one large stone in 1877 (it is used for purifying hands and mouth); Takayama has about 90,000 residents

This purification font was made from one large stone in 1877 (it is used for purifying hands and mouth); Takayama has about 90,000 residents

The origins of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine date from the time of Emperor Nintoku (413 - 439); surprisingly, ice cream parlors are extremely popular despite the cold weather

The origins of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine date from the time of Emperor Nintoku (413 - 439); surprisingly, ice cream parlors are extremely popular despite the cold weather

Takayama’s remote location has helped it retain its traditional atmosphere and charm, offering the chance to feel and touch the atmosphere and spirit of old Japan

Takayama’s remote location has helped it retain its traditional atmosphere and charm, offering the chance to feel and touch the atmosphere and spirit of old Japan

The Japanese have thought of so many useful additions to everyday life; many places have umbrella stands at the door which seem to be take one or leave one but free to use

The Japanese have thought of so many useful additions to everyday life; many places have umbrella stands at the door which seem to be take one or leave one but free to use

The Takayama Festival Hall houses floats, many of which date from the 17th century, which rotate every few months; there is a spring festival and a fall festival

The Takayama Festival Hall houses floats, many of which date from the 17th century, which rotate every few months; there is a spring festival and a fall festival

This city of 90,000 lies in the heart of the Japanese Alps on the west side of Honshu; the highest point in the city is 10,470 ft. although we could seldom see the snow-covered peaks

This city of 90,000 lies in the heart of the Japanese Alps on the west side of Honshu; the highest point in the city is 10,470 ft. although we could seldom see the snow-covered peaks

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:12

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