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Gifu Prefecture – March Trip to Hida Takayama and Shirakawa-go [Day 2]

Writer : kosu

I visited Hida Takayama and Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture in March over 3 days and 2 nights.
The area is great to visit in any season, but I decided to visit while the snow was still around this time.
In this article, I’ll be introducing my day 1 travels from Shinjuku to Shirakawa-go as well as my walk through Shirakawa-go.
This article will introduce Shirakawa-go in the morning on my 2nd day, as well as my walk through Takayama.

Dates of Visit: March 4th-6th, 2017

Early Morning Walk Through Shirakawa-go

I took a walk in the Kanmachi area south of Shirakawa-go before breakfast.

The clouds were a bit bigger than they were the day before.

Grouping of Three Gassho-zukuri
Grouping of Three Gassho-zukuri

Breakfast at Kidoya

I then returned to Kidoya for breakfast. It was a simple Japanese-style meal focused on showcasing local cuisine.

Breakfast
Breakfast
Grilled Magnolia Leaves with Miso
Grilled Magnolia Leaves with Miso

Grilled Magnolia Leaves with Miso

Hoba-miso, or grilled magnolia leaves with miso, is a local dish of the Hida Takayama region.
The miso is mixed with spices and mountain vegetables, then cooked on top of magnolia leaves. It’s then eaten with rice.

Photos of the Inside of Kidoya

Room Where We Ate
Room Where We Ate
Corridor
Corridor
Entryway
Entryway

My Thoughts on Kidoya

When I stayed here, most of the guests were foreign tourists, but I think the hostess at Kidoya spoke a little bit of English.
There aren’t any particularly luxurious amenities, but the rooms are clean and the meals were delicious and filling.
My 1-night-stay, which included 2 meals as well as a heating fee since it was wintertime, came out to about 9,000 yen, which I think was pretty cheap.
Kidoya is located right in the middle of Shirakawa-go. You can go north to the observation deck or south to the town area without any trouble, so its location makes it great for sightseeing.

(Depending on the season, the cost and available services may vary)

Find a Booking Site for Gassho-zukuri Lodging Here

URL(English)

One Last Walk Around Shirakawa-go

I took some more pictures while I made my way to the bus stop.

Locations Published in Guidebooks
Locations Published in Guidebooks
Signs Written in Multiple Languages
Signs Written in Multiple Languages
Spot where House is Reflected on the Water
Spot where House is Reflected on the Water
主要街道
主要街道
View from Observation Deck
View from Observation Deck

Summary of Sightseeing in Shirakawa-go

I heard that Shirakawa-go is beautiful to visit in any season, but everything really was gorgeous.
I wasn’t visiting on a designated light-up day, but I was lucky enough to have blue skies and be able to take some gorgeous pictures. I really wanted some photos of snowy Shirakawa-go!
I think I’ll visit again in the spring or fall.

Traveling from Shirakawa-go to Takayama

I went back to Hida Takayama, which I’d gone through the day before, by bus.

Greeted by Hida Local Folk Craft “Sarubobo”

Sarubobo are made to look like baby monkeys.
They’re protective charms that are shaped like dolls, and they serve purposes like dispelling calamity, dispelling plagues, finding a suitable spouse, and ensuring safe childbirth.
Faces aren’t drawn on sarubobo because “by not including a face, they’ll always be showing the same feelings as you are.”

Sarubobo
Sarubobo

I dropped off my luggage at my hotel and started walking around.

Hida Kokubunji Temple

Hida Kokubunji Temple
Hida Kokubunji Temple

My first stop was Hida Kokubuji Temple.
Supposedly it was built around 757.

I’ve visited Hida Kokubuji Temple before, but I wanted to see this three-storied pagoda again.

Local Gourmet Meal “Takayama Ramen”

This amazing local dish, Takayama ramen, is a chicken-based ramen that’s sometimes called Hida ramen. It’s become incredibly popular lately due to being eaten by the main character in the film “Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name).”

Tsuzumi Soba

Tsuzumi Soba, Entrance
Tsuzumi Soba, Entrance

I had my lunch at Tsuzumi Soba near Hida Kokubuji Shrine.
Tsuzumi Soba is a well-established restaurant that opened in 1956.
It’s also frequently featured in guidebooks and other media as a great restaurant for getting a taste of Takayama ramen.

Interior
Interior
Chuka Soba 700 yen, Boiled Egg 50 yen
Chuka Soba 700 yen, Boiled Egg 50 yen

The broth is a simple and light mix of chicken stock and soy sauce. The noodles are super-fine crimped noodles.

OPEN

Tsuzumi Soba

Address
52 Asahicho, Takayama City, Gifu[MAP]
Access
7 minutes on foot from Takayama Station
Tel
0577-32-0299
Business Hours
11:30 am - 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
※Restaurant closes once out of soup
Closed
Tuesdays (Open on National Holidays)

The Only Remaining Edo-Period Prefectural Government Office in Japan – Takayama Jinya

Next I went to Takayama Jinya, one of the most iconic sightseeing spots in Takayama.
Jinya were administrative headquarters for politics of the Edo period (from 1603 to 1868), and their present-day equivalent would be government administration offices.

Front Entrance
Front Entrance
Dog Snowman
Dog Snowman
Government Office
Government Office

This was a government official’s office.

There was also a lovely inner garden in the housing area where the prefectural governors lived.

Enjoying What It Was Like to be a Prefectural Governor
Enjoying What It Was Like to be a Prefectural Governor
Reception Hall
Reception Hall

This hall was used for meetings and the like. It’s made of three connecting rooms and is measured at 49 tatami mats.

Courtroom
Courtroom

The oshirasu, or courtroom, is the room where investigations and trials took place.
Criminals were supposedly seated on the notched platform in the center of this picture, and a stone weighing about 40kg was placed on their knees.

Takayama Jinya is packed with things to see!

OPEN

Takayama Jinya

Address
1-5 Hachiken-machi, Takayama City, Gifu[MAP]
Access
10 minutes on foot from Takayama Station
Tel
0577-32-0643
Business Hours
8:45 am - 5:00 pm (November to February 8:45 am - 4:30 pm, August 8:45 am - 6:00 pm)
Closed
29,31 December and 1 January
Admission
430 yen (Free for ages up to high school students)
WEB
URL(English)

The Symbol of Takayama, Nakabashi Bridge

Nakabashi Bridge
Nakabashi Bridge

Nakabashi Bridge is an indispensable part of sightseeing in Takayama.
The bright vermillion bridge is extremely photogenic.

Tourists had stopped walking and were enjoying their view.

Sobaya Nogawa
Sobaya Nogawa

Walking Down the Old Neighborhood Sanmachi

Sanmachi is a super-popular old area in the center of Takayama that still brims with Edo Period atmosphere.
It was designated as an Important Traditional Architecture Conservation Area in 1979.

Rickshaw
Rickshaw
Restaurant Sakaguchiya
Restaurant Sakaguchiya

Restaurant Sakaguchiya
This restaurant offers Hida beef nigiri sushi that you can order as takeout. There was a huge line outside.

Kotte Ushi
Kotte Ushi

“Kotte Ushi,” located across from Sakaguchiya, also sells Hida beef nigiri sushi.
There was a huge line there too.

Sanmachi is always packed with lots of tourists.

Miso Shop
Miso Shop
Souvenir Shop
Souvenir Shop
Tanuki Figure
Tanuki Figure

Heading to Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, the Stage of the Autumn Yahata Matsuri Takayama Matsuri

The spring “Sannou Matsuri” and autumn “Yahata Matsuri,” otherwise known as “Takayama Matsuri,” was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016 along with other festivals from across Japan.
This is one of Japan’s three major festivals and has around 400 years of history, and during the festival there are plenty of luxurious stalls and mechanical dolls to enjoy.

Takayama Matsuri – Autumn Yahata Matsuri (Image)
Takayama Matsuri – Autumn Yahata Matsuri (Image)

Since I came all the way out to Takayama, I went to check out the area where the festival takes place.

Large Torii Gate Approaching the Shrine
Large Torii Gate Approaching the Shrine
There was another torii gate farther back too.
There was another torii gate farther back too.
Main Shrine
Main Shrine

There was still some snow in the shrine grounds.

OPEN

Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Address
178 Sakuramachi, Takayama City, Gifu[MAP]
Access
20 minutes on foot from Takayama Station
Tel
0577-32-0240
Hours of Worship
24 hours a day
Admission
Free
WEB
URL(English)

This is the street that has the Yoshijima Heritage House and Kusakabe Folk Museum, which were both previously used as residences for wealthy merchant families.
These are must-see places if you’re interested in architecture.

Kusakabe Folk Museum
Kusakabe Folk Museum
Hidacchi, the Mascot of Hida Takayama
Hidacchi, the Mascot of Hida Takayama
Nakabashi Bridge
Nakabashi Bridge

Hida Art Café “Baren”

I took a short break at this café near Nakabashi Bridge.

Baren
Baren

This small gallery café has woodcut prints by local artists on display.

Interior
Interior
Ice Café Au Lait 550 yen – With Bite-Sized Chocolate
Ice Café Au Lait 550 yen – With Bite-Sized Chocolate
Art Piece
Art Piece

I looked out at the street view from the lattice doors on the 2nd floor.

OPEN

Baren

Address
107 Kami3-machi, Takayama City, Gifu[MAP]
Access
10 minutes on foot from JR Takayama Station
Tel
0577-33-9201
Business Hours
8:30 am - 5:00 pm (9:00am-4:30pm during winter)
Closed
Irregular holidays (Closed Tuesdays from December through March)

Snaps of Sanmachi

Menu Lineup at Café
Menu Lineup at Café
Stuffed Animals
Stuffed Animals
There are a lot of sake shops in Sanmachi.
There are a lot of sake shops in Sanmachi.
Rabbit-Themed General Store “Usagiya”
Rabbit-Themed General Store “Usagiya”
Sarubobo Goods
Sarubobo Goods
Dango Shop
Dango Shop
Café
Café
“Takayama Sanmachi Traditional Buildings Preservation Area”
“Takayama Sanmachi Traditional Buildings Preservation Area”

Hida Beef Steak at Kitchen Hida

Since I came all the way to Takayama, I definitely wanted to have Hida beef at least once!
My choice for dinner out of several restaurants was “Kitchen Hida.”

Kitchen Hida
Kitchen Hida

Kitchen Hida is a steakhouse in Sanmachi.

店內
店內

It’s an old-fashioned steakhouse, and it had an easy-to-approach atmosphere to it.

Cream of Corn Soup 540 yen
Cream of Corn Soup 540 yen

This corn soup was made using Hida beef bouillon.

Fillet Steak – 100 grams of A5-Grade Hida Beef, 5,010 yen
Fillet Steak – 100 grams of A5-Grade Hida Beef, 5,010 yen

A sirloin or rib roast may be the best way to enjoy Hide beef’s characteristic melt-in-your-mouth marbling, but since I’m pretty conscious about my build, I went for the less-fatty fillet.
However, as they only serve A5-grade Hida beef, I was able to savor the tenderness of the beef even having ordered a fillet.

OPEN

Kitchen Hida

Address
1-66 Honmachi, Takayama City, Gifu[MAP]
Access
9 minutes on foot from JR Takayama Station
Tel
0577-36-2911
Business Hours
11:30 am - 3:30 pm, 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm,
Closed
Wednesdays
WEB
URL(English)

Evening View of Sanmachi

After dinner, I took another walk around Sanmachi.

Takayama Jinya
Takayama Jinya
Nakabashi Bridge
Nakabashi Bridge
Sanmachi
Sanmachi

Most of the shops had already closed by this time.

Takayama branch of Juroku Bank
Takayama branch of Juroku Bank

This is a local regional bank, the Takayama branch of Juroku Bank.
As the office was built in 2016, it looked very modern.

This is Maruaki, a restaurant owned directly by a butcher shop.
This is Maruaki, a restaurant owned directly by a butcher shop.
Near Kajibashi
Near Kajibashi
Takayama Honmachi 2-Chome Shopping District
Takayama Honmachi 2-Chome Shopping District
Yamazakura Shrine
Yamazakura Shrine
Hida Takayama Antenna Shop
Hida Takayama Antenna Shop

Night View of Sanmachi

It’s so quiet at this hour that you wouldn’t believe how active it was earlier in the day.

Nakabashi Bridge
Nakabashi Bridge
“Sarubobo” in Front of the Takayama Branch of Juroku Bank
“Sarubobo” in Front of the Takayama Branch of Juroku Bank

How did you like the streets of Takayama, sometimes called the “Little Kyoto of Hida”?
All of the best sightseeing spots in Takayama are gathered together here, making it easy to sightsee in the area.
The 3rd article in this series will introduce a view of Takayama’s morning market and “Hida Furukawa,” the setting used in the movie “Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name).”