2017 No.21

街歩きにっぽんStrolling Japan


Seen Through Anime Film “Your Name.”
Hida Takayama

1 2

Takayama Autumn Festival (Hachiman Festival) Annual autumn festival by Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine featuring a traditional parade of 11 floats. (Photo: Takayama City)

From Hida Furukawa, a 20-minute train ride gets you to Takayama Station, where you get off for Hida Takayama and the first thing that comes into view in the surrounding sightseeing area is the old streetscapes. This old castle town evolved around Takayama Castle, built by Lord Kanamori Nagachika in the early 17th century.

In two Nationally Recognized Important Historical Building Preservation Areas, central tourist destinations, the ambience of the Edo period (1603–1867) remains today. A classic tourist itinerary would include moving out of the way of sightseeing rickshaws while snacking on local delicacies like Hida-Gyu Kushi (Hida beef on a skewer) and Mitarashi Dango (small skewered rice-flour balls glazed with soy sauce). The latter are close to a light meal and differ from the more nationally known Mitarashi Dango, which is covered in a sweet soy sauce and enjoyed as a snack. Other pleasures here include tasting sake at a local brewery and buying a charming baby monkey doll souvenir known as Sarubobo doll. In “Your Name.,” a cloth of Sarubobo print pattern was used to wrap a bento lunch box.

Sarubobo DollA doll that has been made in the Hida region since olden times. It’s considered a charm to ward off evil as well as to bring good health and safe birth. The name means “baby monkey” in local dialect and is said to have been so named because of its likeliness in color and shape.

Hida-Gyu KushiA local treat that allows visitors to sample the Gifu specialty of Hida Beef. (Photo: PIXTA)

Takayama Jinya is located along Miyagawa River, which flows through the city. During the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603–1867), there were 60 or so government outposts across the country, but this riverside site is the only one remaining today. It offers the best view of Nakabashi Bridge over Miyagawa River. As spring usually comes later in the year for Hida, there is a large window of opportunity to view cherry blossoms cascading over the bridge. Morning markets, open daily from morning to noon, are a must-see. Be sure to set your alarm early to experience Miyagawa Morning Market and Jinya-mae Morning Market, both considered as one of Japan’s Three Great Morning Markets.

Takayama’s spring celebration of Sanno Festival showcases 12 majestic floats on April 14–15. For Hachiman Festival, the autumn fete, ornate floats with wind-up dolls parade through the streets into the nights of October 9–10.

With spring’s cherry blossom tinting, summer’s bright green leaves, autumn’s vivid foliage, and winter’s deep snow, Hida Takayama reveals the seasonal beauty of its townscape like a picture postcard.

Mitarashi DangoThe pleasantly smoky aroma of soy sauce is quite appetizing. (Photo: PIXTA)

Takayama Jinya The building used by Lord Kanamori of Takayama Castle as his villa became Takayama Jinya after Hida came under Edo government control.

Nakabashi Bridge One of Takayama’s trademarks that crosses the Miyagawa River running through central Takayama. The red bridge and blooming cherry blossoms in spring create a beautiful view.

Miyagawa Morning Market Today as in the past, the market is an indispensable people’s kitchen, which has everything from fresh vegetables and fruit to handmade goods like pickles and miso to folk craft. Stalls are lined up along the Miyagawa River, making it an easy browse.

Getting There

The ride on JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Toyama is about 2 hours, 15 minutes. From there an express line to Hida Furukawa Station takes about 1 hour, 15 minutes. About 15 minutes on the JR Takayama Line takes you to Takayama Station.

For More Info

» Hida City
TEL: (+81) 0577-73-2111
» Takayama City
TEL: (+81) 0577-32-3333