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The Takayama Festival (R, Takayama Matsuri) is ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals alongside Kyoto's Gion Matsuri and the Chichibu Yomatsuri. It is held twice a year in spring and autumn in the old town of Takayama and attracts large numbers of spectators.

The Spring Festival (April 14-15) is the annual festival of the Hie Shrine in the southern half of Takayama's old town. Since the shrine is also known as Sanno-sama, the spring festival is also called Sanno Festival.

Likewise, the Autumn Festival (October 9-10) is the annual festival of the Hachiman Shrine in the northern half of the old town, and the festival is also known as Hachiman Festival.

The spring and autumn festivals have similar attractions and schedules. Each festival features its own set of about a dozen festival floats (yatai). During the year, the tall and heavily decorated floats are stored in storehouses, which are scattered across Takayama's old town (except the floats exhibited in the Yatai Kaikan). A set of replica floats are, furthermore, exhibited year round at the Matsuri no Mori festival museum.

Main attractions of the Takayama Festival

Display of festival floats

April 14 and 15: 9:30 to 16:00
October 9 and 10: 9:00 to 16:00

Karakuri Performance

April 14: 11:00 and 15:00 - April 15: 10:00 and 14:00
October 9: 12:00 and 14:00 - October 10: 11:00 and 13:00

Mikoshi Procession

April 14: departs the shrine at 13:00 - April 15: returns at 16:00
October 9: departs the shrine at 13:00 - October 10: returns at 16:30

Evening Festival

April 14: from around 19:00 to around 21:00
October 9: from around 18:00 to around 21:00

The Takayama Festival is a very popular event, visited by several hundred thousand people from across Japan and the world. It gets especially crowded if one or both festival days fall on a weekend or national holiday.

As a result, hotels in Takayama get booked out many months in advance, and it is recommended to make hotel bookings as early as possible. Neighboring towns, such as Furukawa and Gero Onsen can also be used as a base for seeing the festival, but going further than that will make it difficult to see the evening festival.

Getting there and around

Hotels around Takayama

Top rated in Takayama
Budget:
    • SOY
      Mid-range
      Located in 15-minute bus ride from JR Takayama Station, Guest House & Cafe SOY is surrounded by lush greenery. Free WIFi is provided and free private parking is available on site. The property also provides free pick-up service from JR Takayama Station. Rooms at Guest House & Cafe SOY are air conditioned and fitted with a seating area. A hairdryer and slippers are provided for your comfort. Shirakawa Village is a 50-minute drive away, while Takayama Old Town is a 20-minute away from the property. Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village can be also reached in 12 minutes by car from Guest House & Cafe SOY.
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    • Auberge Hidanomori
      Mid-range
      Reopened after renovation in 2022, Auberge Hidanomori is situated in quiet hills, a 10-minute shuttle ride from JR Takayama Station. The property offers free WiFi access in rooms and in public areas including the shared TV lounge and the terrace. Each room has air-conditioning and heating facilities at Hidanomori Auberge. Bathrooms are shared. Free toiletries are provided. Guests here can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or walking through the on-site garden, or just simply unwind at the shared lounge with some tea. Free on-site parking is also available. Breakfast is served in the dining hall starting at 07:30 daily. Freshly baked bread, salad, yogurt, tea and coffee are served, while Italian cuisine is served for dinner. Meals require advance reservations. From Auberge Hidanomori, Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village and Takayama Jinya are within a 10-minute drive.
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    • eph TAKAYAMA
      Luxury
      Ideally situated in the Hida Takayama Onsen district of Takayama, eph TAKAYAMA is situated 2.6 km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village, 800 metres from Fuji Folk Museum and 1.1 km from Yoshijima Heritage House. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The property is close to popular attractions like Hida Kokubunji Temple, Takayama Jinya and Miyagawa Morning Market. The units at the hotel are fitted with a seating area. Complete with a private bathroom fitted with a bidet and slippers, all rooms at eph TAKAYAMA have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and some rooms are fitted with a balcony. At the accommodation the rooms include bed linen and towels. Guests at eph TAKAYAMA can enjoy a continental or a buffet breakfast. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Lion Dance Ceremony Exhibition Hall, Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine and Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 80 km from eph TAKAYAMA.
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    • Iori Stay
      Luxury
      Renovated in 2015, Iori Stay is nestled in Takayama. This traditional Japanese-style townhouse was created in collaboration with local artists and boasts designs with both modern and traditional Japanese influence. Guests will have the entire property to themselves during their stay. Free pick-up from JR Takayama Station is available upon request. All units are entirely non-smoking and have a kitchen equipped with a microwave and fridge. A stove-top and kettle are also available.There is a private bathroom with slippers in every unit. Towels are provided. A traditional Japanese-style breakfast is served on site. Vegan and vegetarian meals are available upon request.
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    • Sumiyoshi Ryokan
      Luxury
      Located just a 1-minute walk from popular Miyagawa Morning Market in the heart of Takayama, Sumiyoshi Ryokan offers homely Japanese-style accommodation in the historic townhouse building. Free WiFi is available at the lobby and guestrooms. This hotel was selected as one of the Top 25 B&Bs and Inns in Japan by TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Award 2015. The inn is a 12-minute walk from JR Takayama Station. Takayama Jinya, an old government building, is a 7-minute walk away, and the streets full of old merchantsf houses can be reached within a 10-minute walk from the property. Rooms are fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon bedding. A low table and a TV with satellite channels are provided. Guests can relax in the room with free green tea. Ryokan Sumiyoshi has a spacious public baths and a small Japanese garden. There are many antiques like pots and samurai armours displayed at the lobby. Carefully prepared Japanese multi-course dinner, including Hida Beef sukiyaki dish, can be enjoyed at the guest room. Guests can choose to have either Japanese or Western breakfast to satisfy their appetite in the morning.
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    • Oyado Koto No Yume
      Luxury
      Just a 2-minute walk from Takayama Station, Oyado Koto No Yume offers Japanese-style rooms with a colourful touch. The hotel features hot-spring baths, a restaurant serving breakfast and free WiFi throughout the property. This ryokan is introduced in Michelin Green Guide Japan. Rooms feature tatami-mat flooring and traditional futon bedding. They are equipped with a 40-inch flat-screen TV, fridge, coffee maker and green tea set. Attached bathrooms come with a shower, bathtub and toiletries. Japanese-style hotel Koto No Yume Oyado is only a 2-minute walk from Kokubunji Temple. The Miyagawa Morning Market and the historical Old Private Houses are less than a 10-minute stroll away. Guests at Koto No Yume Hotel can soak in an indoor or outdoor hot-spring bath, or in a semi-outdoor hot tub for private use. Massages are available. In addition, staff are readily available to help guests put on Japanese yukata robes. A Western or Japanese breakfast is available at Oyado Koto No Yume. Shirakawago can be accessed within a 50-minute bus ride; the bus terminal is located a 2-minute walk from the property.
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    • Ryokan Asunaro
      Luxury
      On just a 6-minute walk from Takayama Station, traditional Japanese-style Ryokan Asunaro offers comfortable rooms with a seating area and free WiFi. The hotel features a relaxing public hot-spring bath and free yukata robe rental for women. Meals provided at this ryokan features local ingredients for guests to enjoy. The traditional decor of the rooms evokes a warm atmosphere with paintings by local artists on the fusuma sliding doors. Each room includes an LCD TV, minibar and electric kettle make for a convenient stay. Rooms have tatami-mat flooring and futon bedding. Complimentary bottle of water is provided in every room. From Asunaro Ryokan it is a 7-minute walk to the morning market, and a 10-minute walk from Old Town and Takayama Jinya. Shirakawa-go Village is located a 50-minute bus ride away, and the bus stop for the village is a 5-minute walk away. Guests at the Asunaro can soak away the day's fatigue in the hot public bath, which is made of granite stone. Also, private shower booths are available for staying guests.The ryokan features a garden and drinks vending machines, and offers bicycle rentals. The property offers traditional Japanese dinner and breakfast at the banquet hall. Western breakfast can be arranged with a prior request. Complimentary coffee can be enjoyed in the lobby every morning.
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    • Guesthouse Tomaru
      Budget-friendly
      Just a 2-minute walk from JR Takayama Train Station and Takayama Nohi Bus Center, Guesthouse Tomaru offers an renovated 80-year old Japanese-style accommodation. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Sanmachi Important Preservation District is a 10-minute stroll. Guests at Guesthouse Tomaru can experience Japanese-style futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor in the private rooms. Dormitory rooms have futon bedding as well; bottom bunks sit directly on the tatami flooring, and top bunks use a wooden bunk bed frame. Free coffee and tea are provided at the kitchen, which is equipped with a microwave, a rice cooker, a hot plate, a toaster, a fridge and some kitchenware. You will find a shared bathroom and shower room comes with free toiletries. Safe deposit is available free of charge. Friendly staff can assist guests with local tourist information. The guest house is a 8-minute walk to Miyagawa Morning Market, and a 10-minute walk to the Takayama Jinya historical government outpost and Jinya Morning Market. Higashiyama Temple is a 15-minute walk. A Family Mart convenience store is just a 1-minute walk away, and there are some dining options within a 10-minute stroll.
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    • Itomori
      Budget-friendly
      Built in 2018, Itomori is located a 7-minute walk form JR Takayama Station. The old town of Takayama is 6 minutes on foot, while Takayama Jinya is a 10-minute stroll. Units are fitted with a kitchen with a dining area, and a private bathroom with a free toiletries and bath. A microwave, a toaster and fridge are also offered as well as a coffee machine. Fujii Museum of Folk Handicraf and Yoshijima Heritage House are both 8 minutes on foot from the property. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 81 km from Itomori.
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    • Residence Hotel Takayama Station
      Luxury
      Set in Takayama, 2.4 km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village, Residence Hotel Takayama Station offers accommodation with a fitness centre, private parking and a terrace. This 4-star hotel offers luggage storage space and free WiFi. Guests can have a drink at the snack bar. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a desk, a kettle, a microwave, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, a balcony and a private bathroom with a shower. At Residence Hotel Takayama Station all rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a ? la carte breakfast. Popular points of interest near Residence Hotel Takayama Station include Fuji Folk Museum, Yoshijima Heritage House and Lion Dance Ceremony Exhibition Hall. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 80 km from the hotel.
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