Takayama's old town has been beautifully preserved with many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868), when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants.

The southern half of the old town, especially the Sannomachi Street, survives in a particularly pretty state with many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries. The shops in the area are typically open daily from 9:00 to 17:00.

Several homes in the old town open their doors to the public. They provide a glimpse behind the facade into the former living quarters of the local merchants and exhibit traditional household goods and local arts and crafts.

A pleasant alternative to exploring Takayama's old town on foot is getting pulled through the streets on a rickshaw. A 30 minute tour for two costs around 7000 yen. Shorter and longer courses are also available.

Southern Area

Takayama Jinya

Please see the Takayama Jinya page for admission details.
A beautiful traditional Japanese style building, the Takayama Jinya used to serve as Takayama's government office during the Edo Period, when the city stood under direct control of the shogun due to its valuable timber resources.

Old Sake Breweries

Hours: Typically 9:00 to 17:00
Sake is one of Takayama's local specialties. Several old sake breweries can be found in Takayama's old town, recognized by sugidama (balls made of cedar branches) hung over their entrances. Small samples of sake can be purchased at some breweries.

Fujii Art Gallery

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 700 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 20-30 minutes
The Fujii Art Gallery (Fujii Bijutsu Mingeikan), also known as Fujii Folk Craft Museum, is housed in an old building with a beautiful gate along Sannomachi Street. The small museum exhibits various household items and art objects.

Takayama Museum of History and Art

Hours: 9:00 to 19:00 (garden 7:00 to 21:00)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
Typical Visit Duration: 45 minutes
The Museum of Local History (Takayama Hakubutsukan) is an interesting museum about the history and culture of Takayama City. It is housed in an old, restored building.

Takayama Showa Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 800 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 45-60 minutes
A spacious museum dedicated to all things from the Japanese Showa Period (1926-1989), particularly the 1950s. A recreated town allows visitors to walk through nostalgic displays of contemporary life including houses and restaurants. There are also some interactive exhibits including the chance to play on retro video games consoles.

Northern Area

Hachiman Shrine

Hours: Always open
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
Typical Visit Duration: 10 minutes
Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine (Sakurayama Hachimangu) stands in the northeastern area of Takayama's old town. The shrine's festival, the Takayama Autumn Festival, is celebrated annually on October 9-10.

Karakuri Museum

Hours: 9:05 to 16:25 (around one show every 30 minutes)
Closed: Irregular closing days during winter
Admission: 600 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 40 minutes
Also located at Hachiman Shrine, the Karakuri Museum (mechanical doll museum) displays mechanical dolls (karakuri ningyo) which get mounted onto festival floats. The museum also shows over 200 shishimai (lion dance) masks from around Japan.

Kusakabe Heritage House

Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from Dec to Feb, until 15:00 from 12/29 to 1/3)
Closed: Tuesdays from December to February, irregular closures in January
Admission: 500 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 30 minutes
The Kusakabe Heritage House (Kusakabe Mingeikan) is one of Takayama's oldest merchant homes open to the public. Its former residents, the Kusakabe family, used to be successful money lenders.

Yoshijima Heritage House

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February)
Closed: Tuesdays from December to February
Admission: 500 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 30 minutes
Standing right next to the Kusakabe Heritage House is the Yoshijima Heritage House (Yoshijima-ke), the former residence of the Yoshijima family. Also open to the public, the building used to serve as a residence and sake brewery.

Takayama Morning Markets

Hours: 6:00 to 12:00 (from 7:00 in winter)
Two morning markets (asaichi) are held in Takayama on a daily basis, one in front of the Takayama Jinya and one along Miyagawa River. Most stands sell local crafts and farm products such as vegetables, pickles and flowers.

Getting there and around

Takayama's old town can be reached in a ten minute walk from Takayama Station.

How to get to and around Takayama

Hotels around Takayama

Recommended Hotels
Best Western Hotel Takayama
Conveniently located a short walk from Takayama Station.
Agoda Booking
Super Hotel Hida Takayama
Inexpensive, no-frills business hotel conveniently located in central Takayama.