HIDA TAKAYAMA AND SHIRAKAWA-GO
Hida Takayama and Shirakawa-go
Hida Takayama is an old merchant town in Gifu Prefecture. You’ll find a trip back into the Edo Period where traditional townhouses, sake breweries and old shops still alive. Kami-Sannomachi and other main streets, the heart of the town was once a bustling hub for merchants and artisans from the surrounding area.
After arriving at JR Takayama Station, Toyota Century Car welcomed us to Ryokan (a Japanese style accommodation). We strolled around town and learned that the brown and black are used for architecture to keep the harmony of the place. The height of the second floor of the buildings seems low and bay windows are covered with fine patterned latticed.
Takatama was put under direct control of the Tokugawa Shogun in 1692 because it is a source of high-quality lumber and highly skilled artisans and carpenters during the Edo period. As a result, it enjoyed prosperity despite its remote mountain location. Takayama Jinya served as the local government office.
Takayama Jinya is an interesting place to see the tatami mat rooms that once served as offices, meeting rooms, guest rooms and residential space. Also, you’ll wee an interrogation room and the large rice storehouse, showcasing official documents, old maps of the region.
After visiting some historical places, we went back to Kachoan-Hiranoya, the accommodation, which is conveniently located in the town. I tried Onsen to relax and enjoyed Japanese-style dinner in the special private room. Hida beef grilled in front of us and various kinds of vegetable food were beautifully presented. Daiginjo Sake perfectly goes well with Japanese cuisine.
Sleeping in the futon mattress was confortable on the tatami mat. Air conditioner and cleaner was running all night to keep the room clean.
Next day, we were shown to the private room to have breakfast. The Japanese breakfast with full of local specialty was unique and tasty. Five kinds of stringy food, such as natto, okras and nagaimos that all have a gooey consistency mixed and put on boiled rice. We grilled dried horse mackerel on the table and marinated with miso dressing. The special miso dressing was so good!
We checked out the hotel and we went to JR Takayama Station to take a bus (approximately 50 min) to Shirakawa-go farmhouse village, which was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. The area is famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. “Gassho zukuri” means that houses constructed like hands in prayer as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands in prayer. The architectural style is designed to withstand the heavy show during winter. We went inside of the houses and roofs provided a large attic space that was used for cultivating silkworms. Visiting Shirakawa-go was a fascinating experience to see and visit some architectures how people live in this area.
How to get to Hida-Takayama:
7:20 Lv. JR Tokyo Station to go to Toyama via Hokuriku Shinkansen
Lv. JR Toyama to JR Takayama via Rapid Hida on Takayama Honsen
11:30 Arr. JR Takayama Station