Walkable and laid-back, Takayama is best enjoyed on foot at your own pace. We'll get you there, you get yourself around. If you rise early, you’ll be able to catch the busy morning markets – not to mention the mist rising from the hills – and enjoy a tea or coffee as you soak it all up. In town you’ll find several museums, the main temple, and the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall. Aside from the main sights, the Sanmachi District is a picturesque place to while away a few hours, with sake breweries, shops and cafes dotted amongst historic houses; and on the other side of town, the shrines and temples of peaceful Teramachi are linked by tree lined paths often dusted in snow.
The Hida Folk Village (locally, 'Hida-no-Sato') is an attractive open-air museum assembled from real thatched-roof gasshō-zukuri houses, that together recreate an entire traditional mountain village. These houses have roofs like hands in prayer to withstand the heavy snowfalls. Not only can you tour the village, but artisans continue to work in many buildings; you can buy their crafts and even try your own hand at a number of activities. It's a 30 minute walk up here from the station - bus transfers are frequent and can be combined as part of the entrance fee.
All that mooching is bound to work up an appetite, and there are numerous charming places to stop for a bite to eat. Steaming soba noodles, succulent Hida beef and mitarashi dango (seasoned rice balls roasted on skewers) are just some of our favourites.
For the geeks amongst you, there is a small gallery not far from the station which just may be the find of your holiday. Totally out-of-place in Takayama is Tomenosuke - a science-fiction movie store where you'll find original movie props - a beast mask from Star Wars, the original robot suit from Spaceballs, and a 1/4 model of the Alien Queen. As we said...only for the nerds.