Planning your next vacation to Japan and looking for a unique destination to add?

Or maybe you’ve heard of Hida Takayama in Gifu, Japan and want to find out just what there is to do and enjoy here.

Either way, leave it to your local guides (AKA the staff here at MACHIYA INNS & HOTELS) for the best things to do in Takayama, as well as a few that are in easy travel distance!

Where is Hida Takayama?

© Takao / Adobe Stock

Hida Takayama is a city located in Gifu prefecture of Japan. When looking at a map of Japan, Gifu prefecture is located approximately in the center, on Honshu, the largest of the 4 main islands that make up Japan. Within Gifu prefecture, Hida Takayama is in the northern area, surrounded by the Japanese Alps.

The city is officially named Takayama, but as it is a common name (translating to tall mountains) throughout Japan, the city is often called Hida Takayama to differentiate it. This is in reference to how the general area around Hida Takayama was once known as the Hida Province, or Hida-no-kuni.

What Makes Hida Takayama Special?

© 篤史 大田 / Adobe Stock

Due to Hida Takayama’s location within the Japanese Alps, the city was kept fairly isolated from the rest of mainland Japan in the past. This led to Takayama developing its own unique culture, away from the influences of other cities. Even today, with the city being much more accessible by both cars and public transportations, Hida Takayama retains a rural and traditional touch that has visitors captivated.

Travelers come to Takayama in Gifu, Japan both for the beautiful nature surrounding the city, as well as the well-preserved old town, which dates back to the feudal ages. There are also many delicious local specialties to enjoy, like Hida Beef. Hida Takayama is also known as a great place to find Japanese sake, or nihon-shu. It is also the location of the Takayama Festival in the spring and fall, which is largely considered one of the most beautiful festivals in all of Japan.

See our recommended accommodation in Takayama: THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA

What to See and Do in Takayama

Now that you know a little more about Hida Takayama, read on to discover some of our must-visit spots and things to do in Takayama and the nearby area!

Eat Local Street Food in Takayama Old Town

3 types of hida beef sushi in Takayama

When visiting Hida Takayama, Takayama Old Town is a must. This area is not only full of beautiful wooden architecture, but is the premier location to sample the local Japanese cuisine.

One of our favorite things to do in Takayama is to eat the delicious local street food here, like the famous Hida Beef If you have a sweet tooth, pick up a Takayama Pudding while exploring the area! 

Visit Hie Shrine, Host of the Takayama Festival

© kazukazuac / Photo AC

This peaceful shrine surrounded by nature embodies the serene and calm of Hida Takayama City. If it looks familiar, you may have seen it in a movie! Hie Shrine is the inspiration behind one of the main locations of the movie Your Name (Kimi no Na wa), a Japanese animation that was a global hit a few years ago.

Hie Shrine is also the host of the famous Takayama Spring Festival, or Sanno Festival. The karakuri, or marionette, figures and floats used for the annual festival are located here when not in use.

Experience Night Life at Dekonaru Yokocho

Looking for great local Japanese food, delicious sake, and a fun atmosphere? Look no further then Dekonaru Yokocho when looking for what to do in Takayama!

This popular spot for both locals and tourists is full of food stalls, with an almost festival like atmosphere. Choose from ramen, gyoza, oden, and other Japanese dishes, paired with local Japanese sake, and enjoy the night life of Hida Takayama while traveling in Japan.

Admire Nature at the Hida Great Limestone Cave

© スプププ / Photo AC

When deciding what to do in Takayama, admiring the nature that surrounds the city is a must. Takayama is located near the Hida Great Limestone Caves, created over 250 million years ago.

This dream-like cave is lit up with colorful lights inside. Explore the maze-like tunnels as you search for helictites, a rare type of curved stalactite found here!

Enjoy Scenic Outdoor Hot Springs at Hirayu Onsen

© nagabuti77 / Photo AC

No Japan vacation is complete without a visit to an onsen, or natural hot spring. Lucky for us, the area around Hida Takayama boasts the Okuhida Onsen area, made up of 5 hot spring towns! 

The closest one to Hida Takayama is the Hirayu Onsen. Enjoy beautiful outdoor views as you relax in an onsen hot spring. If you’re planning out your vacation to Takayama in Gifu, Japan, be sure to make time so you can visit!

Take a Day Trip to Hida Furukawa


If time permits, we highly recommend taking a day trip to Hida Furukawa from Takayama. It’s only 15 minutes by train from the main JR Takayama Station, and has a long history going back even further then the Edo Period!

Hida Furukawa, like Takayama, has beautifully preserved traditional wooden architecture and a nostalgic rural feel that will have you feeling like you’ve gone back in time. Enjoy a stroll along the canals, famous for the thousands of koi fish swimming in it, explore some of the museums, and visit local crafts shops in the area for unique souvenirs!

What to do in Hida Takayama

This list is just 6 of our favorite things to do in and around Takayama, but there is even more to experience and see in the mountain city. Take a break from the fast pace of Tokyo or Osaka and come relax and enjoy the slow paced and unique city of Hida Takayama during your next Japan vacation!

Where to stay when in Japan


Stay in a traditional Japanese-style accommodation during your next visit to Japan.

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