Takayama Old Town

Old Town of Takayama

Takayama Old Town, or Old Quarter, is about one hour from Shirakawa-Go and two hours from Nagoya city. This place sits in a basin surrounded by beautiful scenic mountains.

Takayama is also well known for the famous Hida Beef, the traditional Old Quarter of Takayama, the Morning Market and Takayama Jinya, an interesting government house museum.

Takayama Old Town

While you visit here, exploring the Old Quarter of Takayama on foot is highly recommended as there are many things to see and also to sample the local Japanese snacks and food here.

There are also two-morning markets located here: the Miyagawa Morning Market and the Takayama Jinya Morning Market next to the Miya River. 

local japanese snacks in takayama
Japanese local snacks are sold at the morning market.

morning market in takayama
Morning market vendor selling local homegrown produce.

The morning market is another exciting place to visit as the vendors here sell freshly picked fruit, homemade pickles, Japanese sweets and local Japanese handicraft.

This place is also best visited in the spring and summer as it tends to be much more lively than in winter.

Among the other things around Takayama is a craft like pottery, ‘Ichii Ittobori’ wood carvings, Hida furniture and famous Japanese sake breweries.

Sarubobo Photo

Sarubobo Dolls
Satubobo dolls hanging outside a local home.

One of the must-get items is the traditional good luck charm called Sarubobo, one of the popular souvenirs in Takayama. A dialect of Hida, Sarubobo means baby monkey to protect one from evil and provide good luck.

It is also used for good luck in matchmaking, marriage, and safe childbirth, while different colours depict the different types of luck.

These are sold in various sizes; a keychain-sized one will cost about RM3 to RM5 each, while a medium-sized doll will cost about RM50 to RM100. They do have much larger ones which cost about RM300. 

Below are random photos were taken around Takayama Old Town in Nagoya during winter 2014, which was in mid-January.

Photos of Takayama Old Town

Takayama Old Town
Takayama Old Town Street.

Various shops along a walkway at the old quarter.

Old Quarter Takayama
Souvenir shop in the old quarter of Takayama.

shops in takayama japan
Another souvenir and snack shop at the old quarter.

Snack shop in Takayama
Japanese Ice Cream and snack shop.

Takayama shops
Shop selling local snacks.

Souvenirs from Takayama
A local shop selling snacks and grilled food.

Takayama Jinya Museum
Address: 1-5 Hachiken-machi, Takayama city, Gifu
Walking: 10 minutes from Takayama Station
Hours: 8.45am - 5.00pm
Entrance: 420 Yen 

Takayama Jinya is a former government outpost established to bring the Hida Province under the direct control of Edo Bakufu, a Shogun.

The main building was reconstructed in 1816 and remains intact today; however, the building complex was in official use until 1969 and is now open to the public as a museum.

You will find well-maintained tatami mat rooms that once served as offices, conference rooms, guest rooms, residential spaces and a very interesting interrogation room. Recommended for those who love history.

Museum of Takayama Jinya
Inside Takayama Jinya.

Map of Takayama Jinya
Layout of Takayama Jinya.

Takayama Food 

While it is a must-try for food lovers, the old quarter offers some interesting traditional and modern-day Japanese dishes.

When you are exploring Takayama Old Town, you should try the popular ‘Mitarashi Dango’,  which is skewered rice balls painted with sweet soy sauce that can be found throughout the area.

There are a variety of other local snacks; therefore, it is best to walk around and try them all over town. Be sure to have a slight chance when doing this too. 

For food lovers, the must-try dish when you are here is, hands down, the Hida Beef,  which is available in ‘Gyukushi’ - grilled skewers, ‘Gyuman’ - beef filled steamed rice buns, raw Hida beef sushi or simply best eaten in any of the restaurants or hotels around here.

Hida Beef comes from black cattle raised in rich natural surroundings, and the finest quality,  called ‘Hida-Gyu’, can only be found at restaurants and hotels in Takayama.

So if you see Hida Beef being sold on the streets, these are the lower quality cuts of beef. 

Mitarashi Dango in Nagoya
Mitarashi Dango or Skewered Rice Balls.

Japanese food in Takayama
Stewed beef, vegetables and a raw egg.

Japanese Sake from Takayama
Takayama Sake barrels.

Old Quarter of Takayama
Takayama Old Quarter.

Japanese Trishaws in Nagoya
Takayama Trishaws is one of the attractions here.

How to get to Takayama?

Budget long-haul airline AirAsia X used to fly to Chubu Centrair Airport in Nagoya, the third destination in Japan after Tokyo and Osaka. But they stopped the service, and you can now use other local Japanese airlines.

You can also take the scenic route by taking a train, bus or rented car to get to Takayama. However, language can only be problematic if you know your way around it.

From Tokyo, it will take roughly four to five hours to drive one way to Takayama, and from Osaka, it will take just under four hours.


If you plan to visit the village and want a hassle-free experience, it is recommended to use a tour company as you need at least one to two full days to visit Takayama Old Town.

Since March 2023, Batik Air Malaysia has direct flights to Nagoya, making travel much easier to visit the many places around here. 

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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