Best Places to Stay in Takayama, Japan (2021): Hotel, Ryokan, or Machiya?
So, you’ve decided to visit Takayama, Japan! If you love breathtaking views, lush nature, historical architecture, great food and more, this city is a must visit.
Whether you’re planning this trip last minute or months in advance, you may now be wondering where to stay. Keep reading as we give you a layout of the city, and advice on where to stay so that you get the most out of your Takayama trip!
What area should you stay in Takayama?
First off, Takayama is a compact town that is small enough for you to explore on foot. We recommend exploring Takayama (also referred to as Hida-Takayama) for a full day. Then, using Takayama as your home base, take a day-trip to UNESCO Shirakawa-go Village, hike the Japan Alps, etc.
If you are arriving by train or bus, you’ll start your journey at the JR Takayama Station. The station has 2 main exits: East Exit (Norikura-guchi) and West Exit (Hakusan-guchi). We recommend staying in an accommodation on the east side, as most sightseeing areas are here. (The west side of the station is primarily a residential area.)
As long as your accommodation is within walking distance to Takayama Station, you’ll be able to easily access Takayama’s site seeing attractions. In addition, since you’ll be able to easily access the Nohi Takayama Bus Center and JR trains, you can just as plan day-trips to the UNESCO designated Shirakawa-go & Gokoyama villages, Gero Onsen and more.
1) Near JR Takayama Station (Boutique Hotel)
If you want to stay in a stylish, modern hotel near the station, stay at eph TAKAYAMA Hotel.
A boutique hotel that opened in 2019, eph TAKAYAMA Hotel is a 1-minute walk from JR Takayama Station.
The best part about staying at eph TAKAYAMA Hotel? Every room has a private hinoki wood bath! So if you’re not a fan of public onsen (or even if you are) you’ll be in for a relaxing treat during your stay. Hinoki wood (Japanese cypress) is known for its relaxing properties and health benefits. Locals believe it lowers blood pressure, boosts immune systems, offers a better night’s sleep, and more. As Takayama city is famous for producing hinoki trees and hinoki wood products, it’s another great way to experience what the city offers.
eph TAKAYAMA Hinoki Bath
With 5 floors, 12 rooms, and a cafe on the 1st floor, eph TAKAYAMA is the perfect-sized hotel. The front desk staff are available 24 hours, and have plenty of local recommendations to share. There are also coin washing machines & dryers on several floors, which is perfect if you’ve been traveling for a while. Rooms come with free bathroom amenities, Japanese yukata, water, tea, coffee, free WiFi, and more.
Another perk is the 1F cafe: Hids’ cafe & bar. You can enjoy a healthy breakfast in the morning, grab a bottle of craft beer, taste a Takayama sake tasting flight, or have a quick bite. We love the coffee they serve here – it might be the best coffee that we’ve had in Japan. (Take a look at the Google reviews if you don’t believe us!)
2) Near Takayama Old Town, the Historical District (Machiya Hotel)
One thing we absolutely love about Takayama city is its historical townscape. You’ll find streets lined with beautifully preserved Japanese wooden architecture (A.K.A. machiya, 町家). If you’d like to experience staying in a traditional machiya with modern comforts, stay with THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA. The exterior shows off a traditional wooden machiya architecture, which blends perfectly into the historical and quaint townscape.
A short walk from JR Takayama Station, and just around the corner from the historical Jinya architecture, THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA provides the perfect mix of tradition and modern. You can choose to stay in a western-style room, or a Japanese tatami room complete with futon bedding. If you’re traveling with a group of friends or family, we recommend staying in the spacious loft rooms! Rooms include eco-friendly bath amenities, yukata, coffee, tea, and more.
During your stay, you can also reserve one of 2 ‘kashikiri-buro’ (private Japanese-style baths). Spacious, and enveloped by a refreshing hinoki wood scent, you’ll feel as if you are relaxing in the middle of Takayama’s lush forests.
THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA places emphasis on supporting local businesses, Takayama city and its natural environment. The tea lounge on the 1F features a selection of Japanese tea grown in Hida-Takayama. Guests who stay here can taste test a variety of Japanese tea throughout their stay.
In the rooms, you’ll find reclaimed hinoki wood products donated by local businesses, and all-natural hinoki beauty products in the private ‘kashikiri buro’ bath. What’s more, a portion of a guests accommodation fee is donated to Gifu Prefecture’s “G-Eco Fund (Gifu Prefecture Global Warming Prevention Activity Support Fund). Therefore, guests can also help support local businesses & Gifu’s beautiful nature by staying with THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA.
3) A stay in UNESCO designated Shirakawa-go (Ryokan)
Pictured: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawa-go Village
If you’d like to spend an entire day in Shirakawa-go, and not a simple day trip, be prepared to completely immerse yourself in rural Japanese life. There are no nearby convenience stores, trains, or frequent buses, but that’s all part of the experience. Whilst you’re here, we recommend staying in a traditional ryokan to get the most out of your trip! What’s the difference between a ryokan and a machiya? While both are traditional wooden Japanese architectures, ‘ryokan’ are specifically traditional inns with a communal bath, and often offer an in-room course meal experience (kaiseki).
Pictured: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawa-go Village
Miboro Ryokan is a family-owned 80-year old folk house, located just beneath the Miboro Dam. (Approximately 30 minute bus ride to Shirakawa-go. No bus transfers required.)
Run by 3 generations of family, they take pride in their authentic, traditional Hida cuisine. Every meal is carefully prepared using seasonal ingredients, and ingredients harvested from the surrounding river and mountains. They’re known for their excellent shabu-shabu hotpot made with Takayama’s famous Hida beef, vegetable tempura, regional dishes, and more. There are only 8 Japanese-style tatami rooms, with shared bathrooms. (A private bath can be reserved after 9:00PM) Many guests have said that the delicious, authentic Japanese meal, and friendly staff members alone was worth the stay!
MACHIYA INNS & HOTELS offers traditional Japanese accommodations (machiya) in Kyoto, Kanazawa, and Takayama, Japan. From private holiday homes (vacation rentals), boutique machiya hotels and more, choose a machiya that best fits your travel needs. Our machiya accommodations captures each city's rich history and unique culture. Rather than tearing down a piece of history, we've renovated each of our machiya architectures to transform them into a one-of-a-kind accommodation.